Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Olympic Hockey: And then there were 8

Down The Stretch They Come. If Olympic Ice Hockey started off slowly – with the first 3 games eliminating none of the 12 teams – yesterday the ax finally started to fall.

Four teams went home were eliminated yesterday – four other advanced – and the final 8 are all in action today in win-or-go-home playoffs. And the best news is – all 5 Olympic Rangers are still in the running for the gold medal.

Yesterday the Swiss team beat Belarus 3-2, sending home a team that I still don;t know where they came from.

Next Canada sent home the winless German team 8-2. No sign of Brodeur – who is benched for the remainder of the tournament for being a bad goalie.

In game 3: Jagr and the Czech Republic stayed alive by beating Latvia 3-2 in Overtime. The Czech team launched 50 shots at Latvia's goaltender Masalskis.

And in the nightcap – Marian Gaborik had a goal, an assist, and 9 shots – helping to lift Slovakia past Norway 4-3

So now there are just 8 teams left – including all 5 of the Ranger Olympians. And here are today's match-ups:

At 3pm Eastern Standard Time – The US plays Switzerland – and the loser goes home. The US has a very good shot at getting to the final game – but Drury and Callahan have to help take care of business today first.

At 7:30pm Eastern – Two powerhouses compete as Russia takes on Canada in a match many predicted as the Gold medal final. Now, one of these teams goes home without a medal. Ovechkin – with Malkin – versus the Crybaby Crosby. It's great for the US that these teams will knock each other off.

And that's only half of the day's action. At 10pm Eastern Olli Jokinen and Finland take on Jaromir Jagr and the Czech Republic.

And the nightcap at 1am Eastern pits two Rangers against each other. Henrik Lundqvist – who has not been scored on in this year's Olympic games and his defending goal medal Swedish team take on Marian Gaborik (who once scored 5 goals in a single game on Lundqvist) and his Slovakian team

It figures to be a wild day of great hockey. The games are usually on CNBC, MSNBC, or USA. You can always look on NBC if the US team is playing.

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