The Winter Olympics are on and that means Olympic hockey. I love that the NHL shuts down its season for three weeks to allow its players to compete for their national teams in the Olympic hockey tournament. In 1998 I stayed up all night watching the games from Japan. Four years ago I recorded as much of the tournament as my DVR would allow and watched hours of hockey each night. This time, the games are on during the afternoon and evening, threatening my productivity at work and my sleep schedule. Somehow I'll muddle through.
Yesterday's action featured Team USA's 3-1 win over Switzerland, in which our team looked good but not dominant. Canada crushed Norway 8-0, and in the late game Russia rolled over Latvia 8-2 as if it was still the Cold War. I went to bed last night with the score 4-0 at the end of the second period and watched the rest of the game this morning. I needn't have bothered. The Russian team looks especially strong. Alex Ovechkin is already nearly impossible to stop, and with crisp passing and fluid movement the team has an old Red Army feeling to it. Vladimir Tretiak, Team Russia's manager, watched the game from a skybox wearing an old-school dark blazer with a red collar. It was like Darth Vader observing stormtroopers on parade. I'd like to see Team USA play well in this tournament, but I can't help wishing for a Canada-Russia gold medal game. How exciting would that be? Team Canada trying to win on home ice vs. possibly the greatest Russian team in 20 years? I'm getting chills. But it's a long way off. We're only one day in and some of the teams haven't taken the ice yet. There's plenty of great hockey ahead.