When all was said and done and the United States earned a shootout win over Russia in Olympic hockey last Saturday, I realized I was wrong about three key components to that game.
First there was the game itself. All week long I couldn't wait for that match up. In fact, while watching the U.S. cruise during its opening game against Slovakia, I kept thinking "I can't wait till Saturday".
Now don't get me wrong, it was an exciting game but it didn't live up to my personal hype. I can always tell how much a game means to me, based on my stress levels and whether or not I'm yelling at the television. I was pretty calm during the game and my outbursts were few and far between.
I blame this on the fact that it was a preliminary round game and the U.S. was basically playing for a bye into the quarterfinals rather than play a qualification round game. No one was getting eliminated from the tournament. In fact, all 12 teams would advance beyond the preliminary round.
Not only was I not on the edge of my seat, I also think there were too many people making the game out to be one of the all time greats, which it wasn't. There were even some who dared to compare it to the "Miracle on Ice" game which is laughable. It isn't in the same universe as that game, which I'm certain will go down as the greatest game I will ever see.
The only time I was truly nervous was during the shootout, which gets me to my second observation.
I enjoy the shootout during NHL games. I find it exciting and dramatic, unless it goes to ten rounds and coaches are plucking fourth liners or defensemen off the bench.
But I wanted no part of the shootout in this game. As the clock ran out on overtime play, I found myself thinking I'd much rather see more overtime with all of the great players from each team involved, rather than a one on one competition.
It was all about the talent on the rosters assembled for the Olympics. With the various countries basically icing an All Star team, it didn't seem right to have the game decided by the skills competition. You might think I've got it backwards. A shootout in the Olympics means we get to see that great talent on display one on one and that brings me to point number three.
I thought I'd enjoy the international rule where teams are allowed to bring back a given shooter if the game is still tied after the first three rounds. If Thomas Vanek was still a Buffalo Sabre, I would have loved to see him get chance after chance after chance in the NHL shootout.
But as I watched it turn into T.J. Oshie versus Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsuyk, I found myself wishing I could see some of the other incredibly talented players on both rosters.
Granted what Oshie did was amazing as he handled the pressure of having to score twice just to keep the Americans alive before winning the game on his fourth shootout goal in six attempts.
Even though I'm a shootout proponent, I don't want it used to decide the gold medal game so let's hope it doesn't come down to that.
On a side note, I made sure to keep a close eye on the play of Ryan Callahan. The New York Rangers captain will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and there are reports the Rangers will try and trade him by the March 5th deadline if they're convinced he'll be going into the open market.
I would absolutely love it if the Sabres acquired Callahan in part because of his overall game. He's not a prolific goal scorer but Callahan brings so many things to the table and many were on display in the game against Russia. The Rochester native plays physical and was consistently finishing off checks against the Russians. He had a very strong defensive game which featured blocked shots, breaking up plays while Russia was headed up ice and winning one on one battles for the puck in the U.S. end. Callahan saved a goal when he knocked a puck away from Andrei Markov who had a wide open net to shoot at. The Sabres could use his leadership, toughness, commitment and ability.
Geez Howard way to suck the fun out of Olympics hockey too. Are sports even entertaining to you anymore, or are they a frustrating ordeal that must be tolerated, stewed over and picked apart from every angle? You have the best job in the world and you make it sound like abject misery.
my feelings on oshie vs. kovi/datsuyk exactly...same with Callahan...the epitome of a great two-way game in the mold of drury...more scoring on the way via draft and development...sabres could use quality, top-six, veteran leadership
I Am 100% With You
Some people really need to get a life. Now days, post game hype out does pregame hype when the home team wins. Those people calling that game an "instant classic" would not know a classic game if it hit them in the face. Every game that an american team wins in overtime or a shootout is quickly dubbed a classic, which it rarely is. One commenter on another story called the game "ELECTRIC", yet he backed it up with zero reasons why it was. But I am guessing in his narrow mind, every U.S. win over russia in a shootout equals an "electric" game. Big hits, scoring chances, shots on goal, momentum and lead changes used to mean "classic", but not anymore.
And who got beat.
If it wasn't for the elite team in front of Quick. USA. Would of suffer a loss in this game. I don't know why people are trying to compare the two games. The 1980 game was way way, more important. Do you know how long it was for the us to beat them. Put it this way very very very long time. But back to the sabres, what makes you think callahan wants to be here. You know after a while he will be mr softee, mr bum; Who in their right mind want to play for a team that some of their fans will call them. Hey good luck with that dream. Because when it all said and done. Thats all it will be is a dream.
YOU SIR... ARE AN IDIOT and YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!
And so are most hockey idiots in this town. That game was sensational! It's too bad WGR is totally myopic when it comes to sports analysis and specifically hockey. WGR is nothing but the ultimate in mediocrity, homerism. For ever Patronizing and perpetuating the well earned LOoser mentality that INFECTS this town.
Amazingly enough somehow Simon and the rest of the "unprofessionals" employed at this "hick" radio station inexplicably are able to remain employed! WGR should stick to Nascar and Tennis it suits you AND APPARENTLY YOUR LISTNERS best.
CALLAHAN WOULD NEVER COME TO LOSERVILLE, USA!
Dump the pros. I hate all-star games. They're dull, overhyped and not appreciated as much by the amateurs (of course they all deny it).
The Game Exposed How Ridiculous the Shootout Really Is
They should play HOCKEY until someone wins.
Karma wasn't paying attention
Russia should have won that in regulation or at least had the lead with 5 minutes left. The net rule should be like the NHL. Ref's discretion on if the goal should count. Bet those pegs fit better in the next round.
Yes on Callahan!
Agree 100%. People who do not watch a lot of Rangers games have no idea how talented this kid is or what a great leader he is. Why in the world the Rangers would want to part with him? He may not be a "prolific goal scorer" but he scores twice as much as any current Sabres. That's a huge upgrade! Bring him to Buffalo and you immediately improve the team.
You made me think
You're an idiot plain and simple. After your stupidity you've shown on the air last week crying that Miller should be starting and hoping Quick fails making an embarrassment out of yourself, you re-think some things??? You're a pathetic Joke! This article is completely useless after the way you acted when Quick was named the starting goaltender for the first two games. What a waste writing this after your rants last week clown. A total waste. Quick is the better goaltender just to remind you idiot.
You also forgot
The better goalie was in net against the Russians. I repeat...The better goalie was in net against the Russians. JONATHAN QUICK!
"The US team is relying too much on Jim Craig"..."Erusioni...he scores!"
My memory of those two exact quotes might be off a hair, but that game was incredible to behold! The only other hockey game that came close in the Olympics was Canada vs. the Czechs in Nagano in '98 when one man (Hasek) simply beat an entire country at their own game. After that, maybe the Pomminville goal in Ottawa or Afinogenov beating the Rangers in OT in game five after "who else, who else" tied it up at the end.
It should have been a tie
What's wrong with ties in the prelims? This game meant almost nothing anyway. Russia is in a better spot than the US because Norway is a bye and they avoid Canada until the gold medal game.
Yay we score 0 goals every game let's trade for a guy with an expiring contract who doesn't score goals. His defense and leadership will really help for 2 months of meaningless games.
Another call off by Howard Simon on the AM Show. WOW.
Howard still moping and whining Miller not being in there against Russia
Not one thought in this article about Jonathan Quick. It proves it right there he still isn't happy that Miller wasn't in there against the Russians. Can't wait for this Miller drama to end in Buffalo. Hopefully next week. It is way tooold arguing with the same people about Miller that he is just an average goaltender.
At this point in the Sabes DISMAL season,ANYTHING/ANYBODY would make a difference. Sure, I'm on board with Callahan comin' to Bflo- but what it really boils down to- does He want to come to Bflo( or anybody else for that matter)? Gotta agree with the thought that NHLers consider Bflo a mess(ownership, team, front office)BUT I HOPE that mentality WILL change w/LaFontaine and Murray in the Front Office! CHANGES HAVE to be made and the SOONER the BETTER! Kinda scared with previous FAs during the Darcy Dark Days (Drury and Brier come to mind and wasn't Leino A FA before the aforementioned dimwit gave Him an OUTRAGEOUS contract?!)
We are glad you worship Quick.
Well you better watch every game why your idol is playing. because you want be seeing him play that much all around here. Anyway who cares who starts or who is the backup. Hey miller just sit back and enjoy yourself. I saw a picture of him and his teammates. I said to myself Man miller finally got something to smile about. And thats why you know he will be gone too. It going to be a long time for this team make it back to the playoffs. So miller leave do your thing boy. We want be mad at you. Next year the sabres will still be losing money. If they don't bring in some real vets.