Saturday, February 27, 2010

Three Cheers For Olympic Ice Hockey

I've done my share of pissing and moaning about the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, mostly because of NBC's amazingly sucky coverage. But one aspect of the quadrennial event is once again thrilling -- ice hockey -- and the reason could not be more simple. Ice hockey is a thing of beauty when the players can actually play it, while what passes for hockey in the National Hockey League in the U.S. is tag-team wrestling between goon squads with blades.

Olympic men's teams are chockablock with NHLers, but Olympic rules prohibit fighting, and without fighting there is no need for beefy enforcers, checking lines and endless substitutions that . . . slow . . . down . . . the . . . pace . . . of a game that is supposed to be played at breakneck speed.

And I love this fact all the more because true-blue pro hockey fans hate it.

Meanwhile, women's hockey as an Olympic event is on thin ice because Canada and the U.S., the gold and silvery medal winners respectively, are in a class of their own.

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