Anyone paying any sort of attention knows that hockey isn’t necessarily a hot-button issue on BASG. In fact, the Sharks are usually only mentioned when I throw out quantifiers while complaining about the state of Bay Area sports. As in, “Besides the Sharks, all the other teams around here drink monkey p—.”
I’ll let your imagination tell you which 4-letter word I censored there.
But today, the BASG penthouse was awash in hip checks, empty-net goals and white guy beards (and this time, I’m not just talking about mine). Russia/Czech Republic was the appetizer, and USA/Canada was the best meaningless game any of us have seen since the Patriots went to 16-0 in 2007 with their 38-35 win over the Giants. So without further ado, here’s 10 thoughts about all that crazy hockey.
1. The Russian team is surprisingly likable. Alex Ovechkin is great, and we all know that, but isn’t it easier to like Russians now than it has ever been? I give all the credit to Andrei Kirilenko and his wife.
2. NBC execs have been in full o-face mode all evening, even though the American hockey team beat Canada for the first time since 1960 ON MSNBC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. The NBC forgoing USA/Canada in favor of ice dancing tonight was the sports equivalent of All My Children interrupting all their normal storylines in favor of “UFC Week.” (NBC, after the Conan/Leno fiasco and a near-decade of shoddy non-Thursday night programming, if you don’t start showing USA hockey games on the network starting Wednesday, we’ll know for certain that you are trying to sabotage the peacock brand for eternity.)
4. It always makes me feel old to see Chris Drury score goals, whether it’s in the NHL or in the Olympics. When you remember watching a guy pitch in Little League World Series as a kid yourself, and then you see the same guy have a decade-long hockey career that seems like it won’t end, you start counting the gray hairs on your own playoff beard.
5. Weird scene between periods when Russia played the Czech Republic: Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury having a “Crosby vs. Ovechkin” argument, and Milbury goes with Ovechkin while Roenick, who just days ago took Milbury to task for failing to give Ovechkin his due, says he’d take Crosby. In other words, studio shows are even more bullshitty than we thought.
6. Ryan Kessler’s empty net goal was one of the most amazing athletic feats I’ve seen in years. Too bad the only replay NBC showed was from a camera that was behind the puck.
7. At least they showed the group of “happy humans” that the color commentator described. Really? Happy humans? As opposed to happy marsupials? Happy elephants? Alliteration isn’t always your friend.
8. What are the odds that Gary Radnich goes on the air on Monday morning, starts talking about college basketball and answers another Dibley squawk-fest with, “Name four players on Team USA!”?
9. One thing Canada might want to work on: their constant three-man-weave FAILs when on the power play. Sure, it’s nice to hold the puck and pass it amongst three teammates all within 20 feet of the crease, but if the passes are robotic and the defense has been set longer than a “box and one” zone in basketball, you might want to try a different tactic, like moving.
10. Most of all, I’m shocked about what happened tonight in terms of my own interest level. What am I missing about the NHL? Is it this exciting all the time? Ever? I was completely transfixed the entire afternoon and evening, and it was like I was a born-again hockey fan. I was explaining the power play, lines and shifts to SGL. I yelled during multiple American and Russian goals (I’m such a communist). I’m going to have to start paying attention to the NHL, at least a little, once this whole Olympics vacation is over. Hell has frozen over. Pigs have flown.