Monday, February 22, 2010

More on the Olympics

NHK sucks a bit less

Last week I complained about NHK's coverage of the Winter Olympics. Somebody must have been listening, because since then, I have seen a lot more coverage. Today, they even showed the Canada/US hockey game live and in its (rather depressing) entirety. Another discovery was that they were live streaming other events on-line. So I was able to watch Canada's Jon Montgomery win the gold medal in men's skeleton, as well as all the bobsled crashes yesterday. Even better, this live streaming comes without commentary. It would be great to have all the feeds from all the events shown like this - with the sounds of the fans and the competitors, and no pointless rambling from announcers who add nothing to the enjoyment of the event.

So NHK no longer totally sucks in their coverage, they just partially suck. And as I am leaving in two days, that's where the bar shall remain until 2014.

Canada stunned?

I obviously watched the US/Canada game this morning and was not surprised to see the Yanks take the victory. Anyone who watched the Canada/Swiss game knew that the home team was vulnerable to good goaltending and despite putting tons of shots against Jonas Hiller, they were still only able to muster an overtime win.

So why was everyone expecting them to overrun the US, who have the best goalie in the NHL in Ryan Miller? I though the US had more than a fighting chance, and with Martin Brodeur not playing well (he gave the puck away on the USA's second goal and generally did not look sharp), the match was clearly in the American's favour from the get-go. One of the benefits of being overseas is that I don't have to listen to the national hand-wringing whenever Canada loses in international hockey. But by now, I would expect the nation would be used to losing big games. It happened in 1998 in Nagano (a game I attended that still ranks as my worst sports memory), and again in 2006 in Torino. One gold medal in three tournaments does not lend strength to the claim that "Hockey is Canada's game".

Canada finished in 6th place overall in the round-robin tournament. Interestingly, if they had beaten the Swiss in regulation, they would have finished 4th and advanced to the quarterfinals directly. So it's not the loss to a good US team that sent Canada to the qualification round, but the inability to beat a less talented Swiss squad.

Now Canada takes on Germany, and they should win to move on to face Russia in the quarterfinals. I'll be in Toronto on that day and although I had planned to check out the Raptors and Trailblazers, I'll be in my hotel watching the hockey game with the rest of the country. I am hoping that the extra game gets Canada some additional time to work out their problems. I think we'll see Luongo against Ovechkin and the Russians; when Washington visited Vancouver earlier this season, Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet. Hey, I know it doesn't mean much, but when you're down, you gotta be optimistic.



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