Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Olympics in Canada


I complained heartily about Japanese coverage of the Olympics but was in for a surprise when I returned home. I used to think Canadian television offered a balanced look in these events, but while here, I hardly saw anything that didn't involve a Canadian athlete. In a shocker, CTV broke away from the Slovakia-Sweden quarterfinal to interview the women's bobsleigh teams who had won gold and silver the day before. Slovakia scored twice during the break, and I was disappointed that the interviews couldn't wait until the intermission.

To be fair, Canada had a great Olympics, perhaps the best Winter Games of all time, and the celebrations and media coverage were well-deserved. After a difficult first week that was highlighted by the US defeating Canada in the preliminary round of hockey, there was a lot of national hand-wringing about the "Own the Podium" program. But the second week proved to be worth the wait. In the last 5 days, Canada pulled down 8 gold medals for a final total of 14, by far the most of any nation.

So congratulations are in order for the Canadian athletes who did the country proud. I am very happy to have come home so see some classic Canadian moments, capped off by Sidney Crosby's Golden Goal. I would have liked to have seen some other events but obviously viewers want to see Canadians winning as much as possible. In that, we are no different from any other nation.

Crosby v Miller

As an aside, it's interesting to note that Buffalo visited Pittsburgh back on February 1st, when Crosby beat Ryan Miller 3 times, including the game winner in a Penguins' 5-4 victory. On the last day of the same month, facing the same goalie on a stage far more important, Crosby needed just one goal to secure his place in hockey history. I wonder if that game a month ago had any bearing on the Olympic outcome.

The Sabres are at the Igloo again tomorrow (March 2nd) in another scheduling quirk. I'm curious to see if Miller will suffer any letdown (although he won't start this game). He was the tournament MVP but has played a lot of hockey in the past few months; it will be interesting if his level of play drops down the stretch.

In fact, the NHL teams with several Olympians may suffer a drop in performance as the season nears completion. The Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren wrote an interesting piece yesterday on how teams with many Olympic players are upset in the playoffs. Worth reading and keeping in mind as the playoffs are just over a month away.

Best,

Sean

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