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February 16, 2010


Today is the real start of the Olympics for me…Men’s and Women’s Curling and Men’s Hockey started today.

Unfortunately the Men’s Curling team took a tough loss to the Germans 7-5. A great double take out by the German skip in the 9th end was the final blow to the US team that never quite got going. Despite what Dave in Texas thinks, Curling players are tough since they play double headers. The US men are back in action tonight against Norway.

The US women are just getting underway against Japan (CNBC)

As for the hockey…meh. The US beat an over manned Swiss team 3-1.

The Swiss didn’t have the size, speed or scoring talent to keep up with the US. The Swiss had some great scoring opportunities and just couldn’t put them away (kind of like the NY Rangers on a nightly basis).

The US leveraged their speed and size advantages but their absolutely porous defense would have been fatal against an elite team like Canada, Russia or Sweden.

Before the game I said on Twitter that I think the US is the 4th best team in the tournament (I should have added "at best") and there was nothing in that game that made me change my mind.

On the upside, tomorrow is practice day before Thursday’s game against Norway (should be an easy game) and then two days off before the big match up against Canada on Sunday.

There’s never been much doubt that the US would get out of round robin play but whether or not they have enough to make the medal round , let alone win one, seems to me to be very much in doubt.

Bottom line…sloppy game against inferior talent but they did what they had to do to win. This isn't figure skating, there are no style points and a win is a win (and 3 points). Hopefully it’s something they can build on as they head towards the first real test on Sunday.

tmi3rd's thoughts below...

Well, it's a start. I'm a bit surprised there wasn't more emphasis placed on defense... there were a few face-palming breakdowns I saw defensively (and some really bad decisions in neutral ice) that must be worked out before playing Canada, but as Drew mentioned, they have what amounts to a practice against Norway on Thursday. Shouldn't be too bad.

Up front- there's a whole lot of continuity that just isn't there... hopefully, they'll get that worked on a bit in practice on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and in live situations on Thursday. I'm not sure what I think yet of the first line of Stastny between Kane and Parise... you have two centermen on that line (Parise and Stastny), and they're still playing like it. The second line of Kessel and Ryan as the winger for Pavelski has some better punch than I expected, and it looked like they're still juggling 3rd and 4th lines.

Defensively, they really let off the gas in the third period... it would have made a bit more sense to play Tim Gleason (Carolina) more in the 3rd, as he's used to being the #1 defenseman... Rafalski was not as good in the 3rd as I would have preferred.

Bad bounce on the Swiss goal- these things happen. The power play (being run by DrewM's own John Tortorella) is going to need some serious practice time to get itself together- it's not horribly complex, but there are still assignments being mishandled. That said, getting a marker on the power play is a good start. They should get a nice tune-up on Thursday.

Bottom line: there is some stuff to get excited about. We'll get our first look at Canada tonight (7:30 PM ET on CNBC), and we'll see what of the men's teams the brass at NBC shows.

Drew has them at 4th- I think that may be a bit generous yet. I'm not pessimistic about them, but I want to see the Czechs, Swedes, and Finns before I start handing out rankings.

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posted by DrewM. at 05:10 PM

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