Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Thoughts on Olympic Hockey

Although AP is not a "hockey guy", there are a few more loose-ends going into the medal round of the Olympics:

1. The loss to the US likely brings to an end the international career of Martin Brodeur. Earlier this year, the 38-year-old passed Patrick Roy as the all-time leader in both games played and wins-by-a-goalie. But his shaky work in goal on Sunday meant that Team Canada Coach Mike Babcock has "gone in a different direction" and tapped 31-year-old Roberto Luongo (who backed up Brodeur four years ago in Torino), as well as juggling his lines.

2. Thanks to its loss on Sunday, Team Canada slipped to the #6-seed in the medal round. Assuming they get by Germany, that means a match-up with Russia looming. All year, the NHL has tried to hype Crosby-vs.-Ovechkin. Later this week, we'll all get to see it.

3. But we won't (most likely) get to see it in HD. High-def has helped all televised sports, but none more than hockey. But the Canada/US game was relegated to MSNBC, and this week it seems clear that Women's Figure Skating will be the highlighted prime time event on NBC.

4. Also, filed under "That's Incredible": the games are being played at a venue called "Canada Hockey Place," which is also where the NHL's Vancouver Canucks play their regular season games (then it's known as GM Place.)

The Olympics ice surface is 200 x 100. (You can get a sense of it when watching clips from the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" game.)

The NHL ice surface is 200 x 85 feet. The GM Place ice remains at that size for the Olympics.

So the Olympic hockey competition will be held on a non-Olympic sized rink.

And a separate Olympic-sized rink (Trout Lake) will be used for figure skating.

Go figure.

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