Can’t sleep.. hockey.
I’ve come down with a lethal case of the Olympic fever and its progressively impairing my ability to sleep at the hours that I’d typically being doing so at. For the past two days now, my schedule has consisted of napping throughout the day so that I can run the Men’s hockey gauntlet at night (with the trio of midnight, 4:30AM, and 9AM games).
Based on Twitter traffic, some of you out there are crazy enough to devote your sleeping hours to watching hockey, but most of you aren’t (and I don’t blame you for it). If you’re in the latter camp you’re probably waking up just now, wondering what you’ve missed over in Sochi as you snoozed.
Luckily for you, I’ve got you covered. Read on past the jump for some of the most important things that you need to know to be able to consider yourself caught up with the happenings.
Team Canada Makes Lineup Changes
If you slept through Team Canada news…Duchene/Subban in, Hamhuis/Sharp out.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 14, 2014
The fact that Matt Duchene and PK Subban are drawing into the lineup while Dan Hamhuis sits is hardly surprising. I speculated as much in my recap of their win over Norway yesterday. Much more unforeseen, though, was the news that Patrick Sharp would be the one to make way for Duchene’s inclusion.
I only say that because of the impact that the trio of Sharp-Toews-Nash were expected to have up front for the team heading into the tournament. But to be fair they didn’t exactly stand out in the opener, and some of the other potential candidates to be scratched definitely outplayed Sharp.
With that being said I’d still expect that this is more of a one-game thing than something that’ll stick moving forward (unlike the Subban/Hamhuis swap, which is far more likely to carry on into future contests). I’m game for whatever allows Matt Duchene the opportunity to play, though. He’s going to be absolutely wicked on this big ice.
Jaromir Jagr, Will You Be My Valentine?
After a weird opener to the tournament which saw them ice an odd lineup and get thoroughly outclassed by their Swedish counterparts, the Czech Republic managed to get back on track v. Latvia with a fairly dominant 4-2 victory. Marty Hanzal and Ondrej Pavelec were inserted into the lineup (to go along with Ales Hemsky getting bumped up the depth chart), but it was Jaromir Jagr’s line that carried the team once again.
It was quite the Throwback Thursday showing, with Jagr (turning 42 on Saturday) going toe-to-toe with Sandis Ozolins (who turns 42 himself in August) on numerous occasions. Both guys still have it, but Jagr in particular continues to fight Father Time off admirably.
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing him protect the puck with his “big kaboose” (as Jim Hughson put it), as defenders attempt to retrieve it from him but inevitably wind up just bouncing off of him instead. He sniped a goal from the right circle for the 2nd straight game in Sochi, and then had the following interaction afterwards:
Asked if he’d score in every game in this tournament, @68Jagr said: “Yeah, probably.” Then he winked and walked away.
— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) February 14, 2014
Jaromir Jagr forever. Jaromir Jagr best. May you all find yourself something in life that’ll make you as happy as playing hockey competitively seems to make him.
Pierre McGuire Remains Super Duper Creepy
It was during Sweden’s 1-0 victory over an upstart Swiss squad that Pierre McGuire proved that he is still just as creepy no matter the country he’s in. His powers extend all the way to Russia. Here’s his evil laugh which needs to instantly become a soundbite that everyone who does a podcast uses for comedic relief.
Speaking of that game, it was actually a really fun one (and probably the most evenly played, entertaining matchup thus far in the tourny), particularly in the early going when Switzerland jumped all over the Swedes. They displayed quite a high tempo speed game, generating a ton of chances early. Unfortunately they ran into a game Henrik Lundqvist, who basically put up a force field around the net. They wore down as the game went along, and the Swedes seemed to finally come to their sense in adjusting to the pace the contest was being played at.
Finally in the 3rd period, Daniel Alfredsson benefitted by scoring a softie which proved to be the only goal of the game. Should of started Jonas Hiller, guys. The Swedes definitely showed a crack in their armour in this one as they begin to adjust on the fly to life without Henrik Zetterberg, but we should also give the Swiss credit as they’re quickly becoming a legitimate hockey country.
Top-10 Hockey Names
This was technically from late last night, but I figured I’d just throw it in here anyways for those that may’ve missed it. I went through every roster and compiled what were, for my money, the Top 10 names participating in the tournament. I can’t really be partial when one of my favourites Zemgus Girgensons is involved, but it’s hard to argue with some of these.. particularly Severin Blindenbacher.