Maybe on one of the weekends of the first round of the playoffs when you get afternoon games, but seriously, with the talent on display today, is there a better day to watch hockey? From 2pm until basically 2am, you can watch the highest quality pucks there is. Those of us who work from home, or those of you that have unfortunately lost your job, today is your reward. Soak in it, love it, own it. Like Sasha Grey, fucking drink it up!
2pm: TEAM AMERICA, FUCK YEAH! v. SWITZERLAND (THE NBC MOTHERSHIP)
Perhaps the worst game of the day, and I doubt there's a US fan out there who feels totally comfortable about it. Playing a team for the second team in such a tight space is always acid-refluxy, and Jonas Hiller back there can give one real pause. But Hiller, except for against Canada, has looked human, and this is a team that played 70 minutes just 24 hours ago. The US has had two days off, and should be rolling in confidence. One thing Ron Wilson teams don't do is get overconfident, as there's no man on Earth more likely to call you a fucking moron at the drop of a hat. It'll be close, but the US moves on to play for a medal.
6:30pm: RUSSIAVCANADARUSSIAVCANADARUSSIAVCANDA! FUCKING FUCK YES! (CNBC)
Not only will this game be an epic occasion, but everyone else who's looking at the Gold will be delighted that one of these teams is going to bite it hardcore right here at this stage. Is Ovechkin already fucking slobbering at the mouth? This will be a real test for Roberto Luongo. I fear that if he can bring the Canadians back from the dead he'll be a real problem come May and June. Then again, he could fold like a flan in a cupboard (thanks Eddie!) and we can write him off again. One thing the hosers will have to do is be far more disciplined than they were against the Yanks. If they take as many penalties as they did then, this Grim Reaper of a Russian power play will be choke-slamming them back to their NHL teams in a heartbeat. Yes, i know the Russian power play has looked awful so far. But like the small guy in the Yakuza, you know when it does something it's going to be something good, and you don't want to be on the other side when it does. On the other side, the Russian defense is going to get a real test, and when Andrei Markov is on your 1st pair, that could be a real headache. Tell the wife to have dinner with her friends, you're going to have to buckle in for this one. I can't fucking wait. Oh, and you can bet for sure that Joe Thornton won't do shit.
9pm: Czech Republic v. Finland (CNBC)
After completely turning off against Latvia, the Czechs won't have that option against a very testy Finnish squad. They'll be especially so after getting turned over by hated blood-brother Sweden. There were signs of life from Martin Havlat, and they'll need it as Jagr's sore vagina probably keeps him out of this one. Still, the Czechs look just a little short on firepower to get farther than this. After Havlat, Krejic, Plekanec (who hasn't done anything anyway), and Fleishman, there just isn't much here. A solid Finland goes through, but not without some bumps.
11pm: Slovakia v. Sweden
What is it about this former country that causes its-now two teams to completely switch off? Slovakia went to sleep against Norway late last night, and needed a late Richard Zednik goal to get by. Oh, and a post within the last minute to save them from OT where anything could have happened. Sweden has looked like a machine all tournament, but I'm still waiting for someone to figure out to beat Lundqvist high. Maybe Gaborik and Hossa do, and maybe they don't. Halak has not looked anything special yet, and he'll have to to keep the Swedes at bay. This will be a better game than you think, and I look for it to go to OT. Though I wouldn't mind if Hoss-bollah is back on a plane here tomorrow. Hopefully with Toews, Keith, and Biscuit (sorry Chico and Hawks61).
Another word here: Though USA-Canada is thought to be the greatest advertisement for NHL players in the Olympics, I thought Latvia-Czechs was just as good. It was hard to not be entirely enthralled by Latvia's effort last night. Very few NHL-ers against a complete squad of them. Goalie Edgar Maskalis playing the game of his life. He'll never get a bigger stage than this. The reaction of Cipulis and Redilhs when they scored to tie the game in the 3rd, you know they know they will never score bigger goals than that. Latvia played like they'll never get a chance like this again, and that only happens when the NHL-ers are involved. That's what the Olympics and Int'l competition is supposed to be about. You only get the little guy getting his knockout chance in a one-off tournament like this, and when they take it, I think it makes for gripping television . Anyway, those are my two cent.
I want to be in the numbah! When the YANKS GO MARCHING IN!