Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is it too early to start obsessing about the Olympic hockey team?

"The pressure will be great – and so is (Hockey Canada president Bob) Nicholson's challenge to assemble a management team (with the emphasis on team) that can diffuse and deflect that pressure away from the players.

No one does that better than Wayne Gretzky, who ran the show in 2002 when Canada won the gold in Salt Lake City, and then reprised that role with a victory two years later in the World Cup. The magic was missing in Turin, however, as Canada failed to win a medal at the 2006 Games and generally couldn't get anything going for reasons that baffle Nicholson to this day."
There will be pressure on Canada to win hockey gold in Vancouver? In other news, Scarlett Johansson is pretty, Jack Layton looks a bit like a ‘70s porn star and Calgarians don’t care for the City of Toronto. Contrary to what many in this country are likely to think there will be more to Vancouver 2010 than a hockey tournament. But, that won't mean that there won’t be weeping in the streets if the boys in red and white don’t reaffirm our collective self-worth on the last day of the circus.

Canada could actually win the medal race—own that damn podium—and Doug from Swift Current is still going to view the Olympics to be an abysmal disaster if Canada takes silver in the shinny tournament.

So, Bob Nicholson might want to wrap his head around what went wrong in Italy (a tournament where Switzerland shut us out, it should be remembered). He might want to start with—GASP—the deity he had running the show there.

The Wayner might be good at “diffus(ing) and deflect(ing) that pressure away from the players,” not that anyone will be able to deflect pressure away from our hockey heroes in Vancouver, but he sure as hell hasn’t shown that he knows how to pick a hockey team.

Yes, he was in charge in 2002. Yes, Canada won gold at that Olympics. But, it was hardly a dominating performance. Actually, if Tommy Salo ducks we are probably taking about a 58-year drought.

And, have I mentioned that Switzerland shut us out in Turin.

Remember that when Paul DiPietro was busy tearing the heart out of hockey fans in his homeland, Sidney Crosby was watching at home on the tube while Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Doan and Kris Draper—F.O.Gs all--were getting regular turns on the Italian ice. Oh, and Bryan McCabe.

Hell of a hockey player that Gretzky. Probably the best ever. Mediocre, at best, manager/coach, however.

Gretzky will probably light the flame (and I’m good with that. Hell, have Orr hand it off to him after taking it from Lemieux. We do hockey here. Well. There is no sense ignoring it). Give him some figurehead role as part of the entire Olympic team (like, say, Pele with FIFA). Just don’t let him near the hockey war room, least we end up with a first line of Messier, Yzerman and that young pup Sackic.

No comments: