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North American Divorce | Olympic Hockey Winners and Losers

North American Divorce | Olympic Hockey Winners and Losers
Josh Buchanan

No matter what team you’re going back to after the Closing Ceremonies and yesterday’s gold medal match, it is safe to say that this year’s Team USA performance made 2010 look like pee-wee hockey. In fact, for many, the Olympics simply ended early; if the US wasn’t winning, who cares?

Seeing Sidney Crosby prance around the rink, all smiles, and Jonathon Quick go from 100 to 60 in 24 hours certainly tops Duke getting the homefield call for a questionable win against Syracuse this weekend, and that is saying something. To make matters worse, Saturday was the only day USA did not medal….so yeah, put a fork in us (you know the drill by now).

It just really grinds my gears, with hopes high for a chance at gold after the Red, White & Blue took most of their opponents to the woodshed in group play, knowing the inevitable rematch would take place. And, as everyone knows, what resulted could only be described as complete and total heartbreak. Thankfully, the women’s team brought back a silver medal, but again, our neighbors had to cut down those hopes in the final 3 minutes of regulation and ultimately finish the job in overtime. Talk about brutal.

Ed Snider won’t be the only GM happy to sees his team suit up this week, all healthy, as the NHL will resume it’s schedule on Tuesday. Garth Snow on the other hand….we’ll get to that. As far as important story lines go with future implications on the rest of the season, or talking point our favorite guys Pierre and Barry can use on the next NBC Sports broadcast, scroll below.

The Winners

Saint Louis Blues– Before the Olympics, most people probably (exception to the midwest) had only heard of the likes of David Backes, TJ Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jaroslav Halak or Alexander Steene. But with the Blues on top in the Central and 2nd overall in the league, Ken Hitchcock’s group will be getting more attention for their poised play heading into the second half of the season.

Anaheim Ducks– The Finnish Flash, Teemu Selänne, in his final Olympic games went out on the top of his game, medaling against the US in the Bronze match by adding two scores of his own. Rejoining his team with Gold Medalists Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Cam Fowler and fellow country men Sami Vatanen, expect more of the same when it comes to Pacific domination.

The Losers
Russia– Did you ever think that a team with Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and Pavel Datsyuk could be upset in elimination round? Now multiply that number by, lets say, a couple million and we have a ballpark estimate of what the host country is feeling. While I am sure they are taking solice in the fact that the Finns did the exact same thing to the US, it hardly takes the sting out of the wound their national pride.

New York Islanders
– Sure Michael Grabner scored 5 goals in 4 games and New York gets a couple paychecks coming their way, but losing Captain John Tavares is the horror story that NHL GM’s fear every Winter Olympic. The 23 year old had 66 points in the season and focusing on bringing his team back to the playoffs for the 2nd consecutive year will be out the rest of the season. But atleast they have insurance….yeah right.

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