Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
The 2006 Winter Olympics have come and gone and left some memorable moments, good and bad, to ponder. Sweden came away with the menís gold medal and Canada defended their title as womenís gold medal champions. Hereís a look at the good, the bad and the just plain ugly.
The teams leaving with the hardware on the womenís side were: Gold Ė Canada, Silver Ė Sweden, Bronze Ė United States. Itís difficult to find much to complain about with the girls. The hockey was great. Everyone seemed to step up and play as they were expected. Canada showed the world that they are in a class by themselves, leaving all others to compete for silver and bronze, but if thatís the worst that can be said, womenís hockey is in a terrific state. It was particularly nice to see another country step forward with a team to be reckoned with in Sweden.
On the menís side, the medals went to: Gold Ė Sweden, Silver Ė Finland, Bronze Ė Czech Republic. Finding the good seems a lot more difficult with the boys. Well, many players really stepped up their game and played far better than they are doing with their respective NHL teams. Selanne, Koivu, Niittymaki and Sundin immediately come to mind.
The Russians rewarded the fans, showing their true colours with a complete ineptness in the ability to play as a team, as well as some of the worst displays of sportsmanship seen on such a level. Canada showed the world that you cannot simply pick a handful of talented players, throw them together without a real game plan and expect to dominate. Sweden showed that strategy can come in the form of not wanting to win a particular game in order to avoid a potentially more difficult team in the playoffs.
Peter Forsberg showed everyone that itís okay to miss the eight games preceding the Olympic games and then play hard for your country. This and the loss of players such as Dominik Hasek showed that the NHL should get out of the Olympic games.
Clearly there is much more to talk about and much more that could be expanded upon, but certain constraints will leave you with the above thoughts. Look for more fun in Vancouver, Canada in 2010.