Today's Gold Medal Game:
No matter what happens in this game a New York Ranger (maybe two of them) will be returning home with a gold medal. I'm sure that most of us are going to be pulling for Henrik Lundqvist, Carl Hagelin, and the rest of Team Sweden but I'm also hoping that Rick Nash has a great game. I suppose I'll put my support behind Sweden because they carry more Rangers and they've had to deal with more injuries and they didn't break our hearts twice in the hockey tournaments this Olympics. Yuuuuup, it's going to sting for awhile.
Both teams are missing some big names going into this game. Missing from Canada's lineup is John Tavares but missing from Sweden's lineup are Henrik Zetterberg, Henrik Sedin, and Johan Franzen. Canada has gotten a lot of production and outstanding play from their blueliners so it's going to be interesting to see if this is the game where Canada's big forwards play up to their potential. Canada is trying to become the first nation to repeat gold medal victories in the Olympics since the Soviet Union accomplished that feat in 1984 and 1988 (the Soviet Unified team won in 1992 as well). Sweden has gone undefeated in this tournament despite their injury woes and is looking to capture their second gold medal in eight years having won it with Hank between the pipes in 2006.
Really, there's not much more to say about the game. Most of us will be blinking the sleep out of our eyes as the game gets underway instead of reading whatever I throw together here in my game notes to help you get hyped. You don't need my help getting hyped. We get to see this game once every four years and there are three Rangers playing in it. It's Sweden versus Canada and only one team is going home with the gold. Get hyped. Get excited. Forget about the disappointing effort by the Men's team and the heartbreaking defeat of the Women's team and enjoy today's game.
Mike's Player to Watch: Henrik Lundqvist
Hank has had an outstanding tournament thus far and he's going to need to be outstanding to get past the offensive powerhouse that is the Canadian National team. Although Canada has yet to really open up and display just how dynamic their offense is, there's no denying that they have more firepower than the Swedes. Sweden is likely going to have to rely on their team play, goaltending, and outstanding power play to get them past the Canadians so it should be interesting to see how disciplined the Canadians play today. Hank has already put a gold medal around his neck once in his career and I'm sure that he'd like another one to add to the crown jewels... see what I did there? King Henrik? Crown jewels? Eh?
Please use this as your open thread for today's gold medal game and to further gripe and complain about how poorly the US Men's hockey team performed. After today's game we are just four days away from the Rangers' matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks and right now it is looking like the Rangers will be rolling with Derek Dorsett in the lineup (he is apparently close to being good to go after a broken leg) to replace the injured Mats Zuccarello. Enjoy the game guys and girls!