Monday, February 27, 2006

Olympics are Over

I didn't post a single thing about Olympic hockey until now. Why? There's no nice way to say it, so I'll just come right out:

I don't care.

Yep. Call me a unpatriotic anti-hockey moron, but it's the truth. I watched precisely one game- the U.S. vs Slovakia, in which we lost 2-1. I don't really see the point in NHL players playing in the Olympics. They arrive the day before the hockey games start, and leave the day after they're done. They don't walk in the opening or closing ceremonies. The players are pretty much guns for hire. And not even all the best players come- see Scott Niedermayer et al.

The idea that NHL players will bring more fans to the NHL didn't work in 2002, and I'd be even more surprised if it worked this year, considering the Olympics got a ratings beatdown by both American Idol and Desperate Housewives.

And because they are guns for hire, the teams don't have any flow, any continuity of play. Certain players seem to click because they play with each other in the NHL, or on past Olympic or World Cup teams, but for the most part the play is disjointed and difficult to watch. Even after watching one period of the U.S. game, I was frustrated. You see great players like Mike Modano skating around in their own little hockey system, a different system than all the other players'. After seeing that, I still thought Canada would win gold, but I could see how they could be beaten- simply by playing a team that's all on the same page. And sure enough, they got shut out twice and didn't medal.

Bring back the true amateur players, and coach 'em up for a few months. Maybe they won't be the best players in the world, but at least they'll have a vague idea as to what the other guys on the ice are trying to do. Sure, I won't have heard of many of them, but how many non hockey fans could name more than 2 Olympians this year?

No comments: