I was able to see some of the teams practice, and it is always interesting to see these new lines that are put together for the Olympics and watch them develop.
I felt the coach today that had the best drills prepared and really worked their players out was the US coach, Dan Bylsma. In my opinion, Finland’s players looked the best in terms of cohesiveness, but I think when the games begin their problem is going to be scoring. Finland usually has a solid performance in the Olympics so it will be interesting to see how they finish.
Canada is looking really good up front, skating and passing was solid. I don’t know what was up with the defensemen, they kept falling, so they better take a look at their radiuses and get the sharpening issues straightened out immediately. Mike Babcock is coaching a stacked team, so lookout.
Russia didn’t look as good as the other teams. I was thinking that the players were looking a bit nervous out there, could it be the pressure on the them being the hosts of the tournament. Will Ilya Kovalchuck play well now that he is in his homeland, and it would be appropriate if he does.
The good news is that Pavel Datsyuk, one of my favorite players all-time was on the ice. I hope his health is optimal and can play because I think this team is going to need him.
The U.S. was skating fast and had a great practice today . The lines of Kane Kessler, Pacioretty and Pavelski, Kessel, Van Riemsdyk look really impressive. Miller was solid in net today! He is experienced now, and red-hot ….so who goes in goal for the US… they have choices?
Lets see what the new day will bring us in Sochi. My experience in Sochi so far has been very normal compared to the noise outside the walls of our very nice hotel. There have been no dogs to trip over, and the Pipes at my hotel are working out fine unlike the Pipe built for the snowboarders to compete on. Well, thats what I hear so I will assume that’s why Shaun White didn’t win Gold, right?
The hockey venue is ready for some tournament hockey and I think the hockey world is ready for some action. — JR