Sunday, March 7, 2010

DBJ's non-Rick Nash Olympic thoughts

You've seen the many "Rick Nash Takes Vancouver" posts covering the Blue Jackets Captain on his successful quest for Gold.  But watching the Olympic tournament led me to four overarching conclusions...and I wrote this last night while suffering through no internet (and ESPN - Gawd, how I loathe ESPN...), so I burnt part of that in jotting down these thoughts.

1. Are there no competent Canadian hockey GM's out there?  For the life of me, I have no idea why Hockey Canada gave perhaps THE hardest assignment in Canada's national sport - winning the gold on home ice in the Olympics - to a guy who has no formal General Manager experience.  Canada's got history with this approach, and Wayne Gretzky is .500 as an Olympic GM, so Steve Yzerman's assignment was anything but a gimme.  I know that Stevie Y had all sorts of counsel from Canadian NHL personnel guys, but the top job to a relative  That's gambling with house money.  Lucky for Steve and Canada, Sidney Crosby made a goal in overtime.  It very well could have gone the other way.

2. It might be sacrilege to say this as an American, but my MVP of the tournament is Jonas Hiller, goalie for Team Switzerland and the Anaheim Ducks.  You can talk all you want about how the Swiss have a rapidly improving national hockey program, and how Ryan Miller stood tall as the Americans got to the Gold Medal game, but tell me this: Were the Swiss players good enough to win a single game without Hiller?  Thank you, I rest my case.

3. Another player who really caught my eye was Zach Parise of Team USA and the New Jersey Devils.  I like this kid a lot.  Parise just seemed to be in the right place, at the right time, making the right moves.  He had a certain thing about the way he played...almost Crosby-esque?  Call me crazy, but I think he could be the next big thing...especially in American hockey.

4. This one kills me to say, but I need to get it out there.  I still don't agree with R.J. Umberger not making Team USA, but Brian Burke played his hand about as good as anyone could have expected in this Olympics. Eschewing the Yzerman/Canadian All-Star Team approach, Burke (with his many advisors) put together a team of role players that actually performed like a genuine team in the Olympic tournament.  Think about it - this was a team that didn't trail until the Gold Medal Game.  Is that impressive or what?  So let's give Burke his props for a job very well done.

That what I took from the Olympics - what about you?  Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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