A thrilling Finnish/The Red Line
Google Translate tells me “Uskotko ihmeisiin?” is Finnish for “Do you believe in miracles?”
After Wednesday’s quarterfinal win, a more appropriate equivalent would be “Uskotko eptodennkist tapahtumia, jotka jrke jlkikteen?” or “Do you believe in unlikely events that make sense in retrospect?”
We in the Copper Country are facing a best-case scenario: Either Finland or Team USA are going to medal, perhaps both. Just imagine if there’s a USA-Finland gold-medal game Sunday morning – one could get a table for four at the Suomi in less than 15 minutes.
I might just have to get up early for that one, though I did not get up early for USA-Russia on Saturday. It’s the only day of the week I get to sleep in, and being that tournaments are just around the corner, I have to conserve all 14 1/2 working brain cells I have remaining.
So I prioritized sleep over country. Does this make me less of an American? Maybe, but I also have watched most of the games on CBC as, though there is no available HD feed, there is also no Pierre McGuire.
Besides, I’m not a morning person and having to watch a shootout only exacerbates this problem.
Why did they need to do a shootout in the preliminary rounds? It’s bad enough that the shootout decides single extra points over the course of a pro or college season, but to have it decide points in a three-game round-robin is remarkably dumb.
Also, does the idea of letting the same guy shoot over and over again seem kind of silly?
Broadcaster Mike Emrick referred to the ‘bottom of the eighth’ before T.J. Oshie’s winning attempt. How much different is it than the Tigers getting to bat Miguel Cabrera over and over and over again the next time one of their games goes into extra innings?
As I followed the Russia-Finland game on the Internet, I was reminded of the man who plays Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov in “Miracle,” yelling incomprehensibly in Russian and using his own saliva to tame his wild eyebrows (Seriously, who does this?) but never remembering to pull the goaltender.
Current Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov could empathize, because this one will be viewed as a comparable failure (if not more so) than the Miracle on Ice and also because Bilyaletdinov played in the Miracle on Ice. At least he knows what it’s like to be a national failure.
Of course, in the same way that beating Russia didn’t really matter in 1980 until the U.S. beat Finland to complete the medal round (I think Teemu Selanne scored in that game too), beating Russia won’t really matter if the U.S. goes out and finishes fourth.
The first team in Team USA’s way is Canada, no small task there considering they’re the defending champion and kind of obsessed with this hockey thing. Then again, who was the last team to beat Canada in Olympic hockey? The U.S., 5-3 in the preliminary round of the 2010 Tournament, four years ago Friday to be exact.
Shows you how important the preliminary round is, I suppose.
In the other semifinal, Finland takes on the Detroit Swede Wings. How does a team with seven members of the fifth-place team in the Atlantic Division get to the Olympic semifinals?
Many would point to the addition of other talented non-Red Wing Swedes like Henrik Lundqvist, Erik Karlsson and Gabriel Landeskog. I think it’s because Kyle Quincey is ineligible to play for Sweden.
It sounds like most of us are going to have a lot of time to watch the rest of the tournament this weekend, including the Russian team. Here’s hoping they don’t have satellite dishes.
Brandon Veale can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.