Olympic style Grudge Matches

While the main goal of tonight’s USA-Canada hockey game is better seeding for the medal round, national pride is at stake.  The last time the Americans have defeated the Canadians in Olympic play was 1960, when the United States took home the gold in Squaw Valley.  The Canadians defeated the Americans in their last Olympic match in the 2002 Gold Medal game.  The winner of the game will win their group, but if USA loses, they still have a chance to get the 4th seed.

Are Flyers Mike Richards & Chris Pronger making it hard for Philadelphia fans to choose sides?  Last time I checked a map, Philadelphia was located in the United States.  Of course, it’s fine to hope Richards and Pronger do well, but as long as the scoreboard has the Americans up at the end of the night.  And it’s odd (for a Flyer fan) to be rooting for Devils forwards Zach Parise & Jamie Langenbrunner, Rangers forwards Chris Drury & Ryan Callahan and Penguin defenseman Brooks Orpik. 

Along with that, Mike Richards is now playing on a line with Penguins center Sidney Crosby.  Just having those two on the same line makes for an interesting topic since the two rival captains do not like each other at all.  But I’m sure they have put personal feelings aside for the good of the country.  How must Rick Nash feel?  In a word from a DGB/Bloge Salming video, I’d say “awkwaaaaaard”.

Russia also has a grudge match with the Czech Republic this afternoon, as do Sweden and Finland.  Both games should be excellent as they are longtime rivals.  All four are still in the hunt for the first round byes in the knockout stage of the tournament, and have medal hopes.  Philadelphia’s eyes will be on Finland’s Kimmo Timonen, going against former (and not future) Flyer Peter Forsberg.

Which comes down to the final grudge of the day.  ESPN calls itself the worldwide leader, but I (with alot of hockey fans) have a problem with the television channel.  Watching the channel, the hockey game is a mid-show feature, after college basketball, NBA and Nascar.  However, viewers, when told to choose, say they most want to watch the USA-Canada game.

The hockey game is the yellow color, covering 49 states, DC and the world, with 57% of the total vote over college basketball (17%), NBA (17%) and Nascar (9%).  The only dissenter was Kentucky, who had both the hockey game and college basketball at about 40%.  Kentucky’s proud of its highly ranked college basketball team (although they don’t play today). 

Obviously this shows that ESPN has its priorities backwards.  Then again by their logic, if you can’t slam dunk or dance around like a fool, you’re not important enough to feature on the show.


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