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Another Day of Olympic Glory

Thoughts from an Olympic television junkie…

Thought about going to my local Cineplex to watch the Team Canada-Norway game on the big screen at the theatre. Sally and I even drove over to inquire about prices. $11.45 to watch daily with come-and-go privileges and $34.95 for a full Olympic pass.

Pass.

I bought this big HDTV for a reason and as fun as it might sound, watching hockey in a theatre with a bunch of other Team Canada fans, it wasn’t worth $23. Especially after it became clear that we might be the only ones in the theatre.

So back home we went, huddled down in front of the big TV, popped our own corn and got ready to yell Go, Canada, Go! (No, not that stupid corporate cheer that the “I Believers” wanted us to yell).

Two things from Tuesday…

1) If pairs and men’s figure skating is any indication, then Will Ferrell’s Blades of Glory was a documentary.

2) The men’s Olympic hockey tournament opened and to no one’s surprise, Team Canada walloped Norway 8-0.

The Canadians got off to a slow start, but once the Norwegians were spent (boy, those guys came out hard in the first period) and almost as soon as Canadian head coach Mike Babcock put Jaroma Iginla on a line with Sidney Crosby and Rick Nash, the Canadians exploded.

Iginla finished with the hat-trick, Crosby had three helpers and Roberto Luongo had to make only 15 saves to record the shutout. Canada outshot Norway 42-15 and it probably could have been a lot worse, but a number of tipped shots just whistled wide.

It was the most goals Canada has scored in an Olympic game since the NHL was permitted to participate in 1998 and yet, still, if I were a tall forehead with the Edmonton Oilers, I’d find a way to acquire Norwegian goalie Pal Grotnes.

Canada plays the Swiss on Thursday. We won’t be going to the theatre.



Crosby Should Be Captain, Brodeur the Goalie, Regardless, Team Canada 2010 Will be Pretty Good.

Now that Hockey Canada’s Summer Orientation Camp is over, it’s time to weigh in with another opinion.

Seems everyone and his brother has decided who should play for Canada’s national hockey team at the 2010 Olympics, so why not join the conversation…

1) Let’s start with the captain. Yeah, I have no quarrel with Scott Niedermayer or Jarome Iginla. I even think Shane Doan would make a great captain. But for my tax money, I’d like to see Sidney Crosby get the job. For one thing, he’s the captain of the current Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, for another thing, he’s not afraid to tell an official what he thinks.

Remember, this is international hockey. Out-yelling your opponent around the officials is vital and Crosby has a reputation for being one of the biggest whiners in the NHL.

Now, frankly, I’m not sure if that’s true (most reputations aren’t), but if it is, he’s the natural and only choice for captain. Remember, this isn’t necessarily about “leadership.” Hell, there are two dozen guys who will be cut from this camp who can lead a hockey team. However, Sid the Kid is the guy who will make sure the officials get an earful of Canada’s position on penalties, penalties that weren’t called, penalties that should be called, offsides, icing, you name it. Sidney will be in the referees’ ears with passion.

And, hey, he’s not a bad player, either. However, it’s not about the most veteran guy or the guy the players look up to that will make a great international captain. It’s the guy who will intimidate the officials at every turn. That’s the type of guy the Russians will choose. That’s the type of guy the Czechs will choose. If you’re going to play that semi-crooked international game, you’d better go into it with your weapons loaded.

2) Onto the starting goalie: Martin Brodeur. And I’m not going to justify it. He’s simply the best. Roberto Luongo is No. 2 and Cam Ward is a solid No. 3 because he’s the type of guy who has won a championship before and yet, like Eddie Belfour in 2002, he’ll just be proud to be part of the team.

3) The forward lines. These are my choices, they might not be yours:

1. Sidney Crosby/Vincent Lecavalier/Jarome Iginla

2. Mike Richards/Rick Nash/Ryan Getzlaff

3. Jonathan Toews/Dany Heatley/Martin St. Louis

4. Eric Staal/Shane Doan/Milan Lucic

No. 13: Corey Perry

4) The defensive pairings:

1. Scott Niedermayer/Shea Weber

2. Jay Bouwmeester/Dan Boyle

3. Dion Phaneuf/Mike Green

No. 7: Brent Burns, Duncan Keith or Drew Doughty (all three would be fine, take your pick)

OK, so if I had to make a decision on the seventh defenceman it would probably be Brent Burns because he can also play up front. However, I do believe Drew Doughty is going to be the NHL’s next great defenceman.

Regardless, if you selected Robyn Regehr over Dion Phaneuf or Jordan Staal over Shane Doan or Brrenden Morrow over Marty St. Louis, I would not put up a fight.

This camp in Calgary had so many great players, Canada could probably send two teams to Vancouver and if they were properly coached, they could win two medals.