Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Playoffs? Playoffs? In the Olympics - everybody makes the playoffs

Big day today for Olympic hockey as the 5 through 12 seeds face off against each other in the first round of the playoff tournament for Olympic Medals in Vancouver.

The 1 through 4 seeds, which includes Team USA as the number one seed, get a bye to the 2nd round.

And if you were wondering - yes - all 12 of the Olympic hockey teams made the playoffs. They played the 3 game round robin round to decide.... Well they decided first round byes and match ups is all.
Take Germany for example. They played three games - they lost all three - and now they're in the Playoffs! It reminds me of a kid's league. In fact - the floor hockey league where my 11 year old son Pucks Junior plays has the exact same deal. Every team makes the playoffs. And that makes perfect sense for 5th and 6th graders. But come on fellas - these are grown men in Vancouver. The first three games should eliminate somebody.

That being said - the US - by beating Canada and grabbing the top seed - have an advantage now.

That is because the other three top teams - Sweden, Canada, and Russia - are all in the opposite bracket. That means they will have to beat each other to advance to the finals - and the US - if we get there - will only have to beat one of them to win gold.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. There are 4 big playoff games today - and unlike the last three games - these games really mean something. The losers go home.

Four of your New York Ranger Olympians get an opening round bye:
Drury and Callahan with Team USA
Jokinen with Finland
Lundqvist with Sweden

And here the match ups today:

Czech Republic (with Jagr) vs. Latvia
Canada vs. Germany
Slovakia (with Marian Gaborik) vs. Norway
Switzerland vs. Belarus

And then tomorrow - the winners of these games take on the 4 bye teams. We're in for about 24 hours worth of great hockey in the next 2 days.

Good luck Gabby. If he wins - he takes on Hank tomorrow.
Loose Pucks - did you notice how Jagr stopped talking about returning to the NHL after Ovechkin leveled him with that huge hit? Jaromir is still great at 38, but maybe its better if he leaves our league for the younger men. And some Great News - Marty Brodeur - the so-called "greatest goalie of all time" has been officially benched by Team Canada for the remainder of the Olympics. That's my feel-good story of the week.

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