OGDB Semifinal: Bratislavan Brawl

Jason Gregor
February 26 2010 11:37AM

After crushing Russia on Wednesday, Canada faces an energetic and gutsy Slovakian team with excellent goaltending from Montreal Canadien Jaroslav Halak. But who else is on this team?

They’ve got the Marians _ Gaborik and Hossa — the Human Crane, Zdeno Chara and slick D-man Lubomir Visnovsky, but after that the names are recognizable, but they don’t possess the fear of the Russians.

Still, don’t underestimate the Slovaks.

Pavol Demitra skated like he was 25 years old against Sweden. He won races to the puck and out-skated the Swedes all game. He is tied for the tournament lead with Dany Heatley, Jonathon Toews and Marian Hossa with seven points. The Slovaks are a very proud bunch and tonight will be the biggest game this small country has ever played.

Up front they have the Marians, Demitra, former NHLers Jozef Stumpel, Ziggy Palffy, Richard Zednik, Marcel Hossa, Lubos Bartecko, Branko Radivojevic and Martin Cibak, as well as Michal Handzus (Kings), Miro Satan (Boston) and Tomas Kopecky (Blackhawks).

Their backend consists of Chara, Visnovsky, Andrej Meszaros (Tampa Bay), Andrej Sekera (Buffalo), Milan Jurcina (Columbus), Ivan Baranka (Rangers 2nd rounder in 2003 played one NHL game) and Martin Strbak (Kings’ 9th rounder in 1993, played 49 NHL games).

They seem like a rag-tag bunch made up of NHL stars, former NHLers and current NHL role players, but they play like a team and they won’t quit.

Special stats for Slovaks

Jaroslav Halak will be busy. Canada is averaging 43 shots a game, while the Slovaks will test Roberto Luongo as they have fired 32 shots a game.

Canada will have to be disciplined.

The Slovaks have the best PP in the tournament, scoring seven goals in 19 chances good for 36.8%. Canada is 4th on the PP at 27.2%, with six goals in 22 chances.

Slovakia is also first on the PK at 94.5%. They’ve only allowed one goal on 19 chances, and they have faced the Czechs, Russia and Sweden so far. Canada is 3rd on the PK at 87.5%, having allowed two goals on 16 chances.

Other tidbits

Slovakia has a population of about five million people and is situated in Central Europe. It borders Hungary to the south, Ukraine to the East, Poland to the North and Czech Republic and Austria to the west.

Bratislava is the largest city (429,000) and the capital and they will be hosting the 2011 World Championships. A buddy of mine married a girl from Bratislava and a few buddies of ours went over for the wedding. They swear that Bratislava has the most beautiful women in the world so we are planning a trip for the World Championships next year.

Czech/Slovakia rivalry

Ladislav Smid and Lubomir Visnovsky sit beside each other in the Oiler dressing room and they are constantly exchanging barbs over which country is better. But yesterday Smid admitted that while there is a healthy rivalry between the two, he will be cheering for Slovakia tonight.

“I want to beat them when we (Czech) play them, but once one team is out of the tournament you cheer for the other. It would be great for them if they could upset Canada,” said Smid.

It would be an upset, but I don’t see it happening. You don’t have the angst leading up to tonight like you did against Russia, or on Sunday v. the States (if they can beat Finland), but the Canadians will be ready.

I expect them to dominate down low like they did against Russia, but to this point in the tourney Halak hasn’t allowed a weak goal. Canada will win but they probably won’t get two freebie goals in the first like they did on Wednesday.

Canada wins 5-2 and then the country gets ready to show the United States that this is still our game, and many of you can call or email the Jim Rome show and tell those Yanks a win in the round robin means nothing if you don’t win the GOLD.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Pajamah
February 26 2010, 11:40AM
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Brastislava ice girls??

Or Fist!!1!1!11!...whichever makes people like me more

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#2 Chris.
February 26 2010, 11:42AM
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Do the Americans beat the Fins?

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#3 David S
February 26 2010, 12:04PM
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The Jim Rome show is borderline brutal. We're talking WKRP cheesy.

But Bratislav ice girls? I could get on board with that.

Canada 4-2.

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#4 Tracie
February 26 2010, 12:25PM
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GO CANADA!!! GO FINLAND!!! hehe!

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#5 Harlie
February 26 2010, 12:43PM
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I haven't been to Bratislava but I have been to Prague and I would definitely say that I saw more beautiful chicks there than anywhere else I've been in the World. The best part was that it seemed like every chick was built slim and tall like a model and every single one of them wore high heel pumps. It was awesome to be drinkin brews with my bro in downtown Prague as we watched all these beautiful women walking by shopping and doing whatever else.

We laughed to ourselves as we thought of how some fat north American chicks would bitch about wearing running shoes on the cobblestone streets while these hot assed Euro's were doing it in pumps!

Work it!

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#6 Harlie
February 26 2010, 12:45PM
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David S wrote:

The Jim Rome show is borderline brutal. We're talking WKRP cheesy.

But Bratislav ice girls? I could get on board with that.

Canada 4-2.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

Romey gets his ass handed to him in this clip. Hahaha!!!!! Pencil neck!

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#7 RossCreekNation
February 26 2010, 12:45PM
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For some reason, I have this fear of playing USA for bronze. If Canada plays anything like they did against Russia, this should not be an issue, but am I the only guy with an ounce of fear v. Slovakia? We'll see how Halak looks. I have more fear than excitement today... the opposite of Wednesday's feelings.

*crosses everything I have two of... EVERYTHING ;-)*

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#8 RossCreekNation
February 26 2010, 12:50PM
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David S wrote:

The Jim Rome show is borderline brutal. We're talking WKRP cheesy.

But Bratislav ice girls? I could get on board with that.

Canada 4-2.

BOOOO!

The Jim Rome show reeks of awesomeness.

*fixed*

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#9 Matt Henderson
February 26 2010, 12:51PM
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This could be our Sweden vs Belarus (Tommy Salo is never the same) moment if the boys dont take this one seriously.

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#10 Pajamah
February 26 2010, 12:57PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

This could be our Sweden vs Belarus (Tommy Salo is never the same) moment if the boys dont take this one seriously.

The closest to a Tommy Salo is likely going to be Nabokov. Can you imagine the broken bottle in the faces of the Canada SJS line at the hands of Nabokov and Greiss, it'll be gruesome (however Heatley will have deserved it)

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#11 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 01:17PM
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Parise just scored. 2-0 over Finland, not even half way through the first.

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#12 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 01:20PM
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3-0 Eric Johnson

Kipper going to get pulled?

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#13 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 01:23PM
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Kane scores.

4-0 , Kipper pulls himself

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#14 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 01:27PM
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Kane x2

5-0, 7 minutes left in first

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#15 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 01:29PM
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6-0 seconds after the 5th goal.

6 goals on 11 shots....

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#17 Harlie
February 26 2010, 01:34PM
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BUCK75 wrote:

6-0 seconds after the 5th goal.

6 goals on 11 shots....

~ I'm sure Kipper can soothe the loss with a nice refreshing DuMaurier. Or two. ~

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v210/JesGolbez/kipper-dion-stripclub.jpg

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#18 Pajamah
February 26 2010, 01:38PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You're from Calgary. It is embedded in you to worry about choking in a big game. See Kiprusoff in semi to confirm this. Canada will be fine and now that the USA has taken care of their part for a rematch, Canada will undoubtedly do the same.

I hate the US, but this has made me smile. But watching Kippers mug this game......what is the Finnish word for "humbled"?

Now we just need the Finns to get vicious and go Bobby Clarke on these 'merricans

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#19 Ender
February 26 2010, 01:40PM
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Harlie wrote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

Romey gets his ass handed to him in this clip. Hahaha!!!!! Pencil neck!

Not sure if that was staged or not but I kind of don't think so. Good clip in any case; I don't mind seeing Rome get the worst of an exchange. You mess with the bull, you get the horns, right Jim?

I was going to parody you and say the exact same thing fourteen more times with slightly different wording, just to see if it kept getting funnier, but then I remembered: it doesn't. And you're not worth it, Jim.

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#20 RossCreekNation
February 26 2010, 01:42PM
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@Jason Gregor

Au contraire, my friend. I currently live in Ft. Sask (and have never lived more than half an hour outside of Edmonton). The pressure's now on Canada after this period. I'm by no means saying I think they'll lose. I'm just saying Slovakia in particular, scares me.

Realistically, I think that if these were best-of-sevens, Canada wins every matchup (with USA being the toughest opponent).

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#21 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 01:43PM
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@Pajamah

nöyryyttää

Is the finnish verb to humiliate

:D

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/n%C3%B6yryytt%C3%A4%C3%A4

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#22 Tracie
February 26 2010, 01:43PM
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@Pajamah

Now we just need the Finns to get vicious and go Bobby Clarke on these 'merricans

Exactly! Now the Finns need to start playing dirty and take some of these guys out! Okay, not dirty, but let's get physical on them already!!!

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#23 Harlie
February 26 2010, 01:47PM
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@RossCreekNation

The Fort is my old 'hood! Nice!!!

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#24 Dyckster
February 26 2010, 01:49PM
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What I find ironic is this US versus Finland apparent blow out SEMI FINAL game happens the same day the IOC is questioning the competitiveness of international female hockey.

Hmmmmmmmmmm.

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#26 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 01:53PM
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The CTV panel is carving up the Finnish coach. It is kind of funny how it is similar to the Russia/Canada situation.

They also mentioned that Kipper might be getting his "just desserts" for being such a d*ck & saying he wanted the #1 job.

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#27 RossCreekNation
February 26 2010, 01:55PM
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@Jason Gregor

I wasn't worried before the Russian game.

~That must be from the part of me that grew up around Edmonton tho, lol~

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#28 RossCreekNation
February 26 2010, 02:01PM
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@Jason Gregor

Just a random question... growing up, did you cheer for (love) the Oil more OR did you cheer against (hate) the Flames more?

I ask this because almost the only time you can really see the 'fan' in you come out is when its Flames/Stamps related. Its fun... and funny.

FTR, I've always hated the Oilers more than I liked the Flames (or any other team).

Love the show...

Cheers, 'RC' Tyler

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#29 Mik
February 26 2010, 02:14PM
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Hopefully Kipper will turn this Olympic's Tommy Salo and turn into a junk tender from here on out!! I can assure you tht every liquor store in the lower mainland will be sold out of grey goose vodka after the game. That is if he can wait until the final buzzer or not.

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#30 Dan the Man
February 26 2010, 02:21PM
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Rome was saying today on his show that the Candadian Men would rather have a Gold Medal than a Stanley Cup.

A Gold Medal is a pretty huge accomplishment but I still think most guys think of Lord Stanley as the ultimate goal.

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#31 Matt Henderson
February 26 2010, 02:23PM
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@Dan the Man

Jim Rome has learned everything he knows about Canadian hockey from Chris Pronger. I'll leave it at that.

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#32 Pajamah
February 26 2010, 02:30PM
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BUCK75 wrote:

nöyryyttää

Is the finnish verb to humiliate

:D

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/n%C3%B6yryytt%C3%A4%C3%A4

I love the internets, you can find anything!!

Next Calgary-Edmonton game, thats going on a sign, about 3 rows behind Kipprusoff

Now, Miku Koivu, how bout a crosscheck to Zac Parise's face?

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#33 Ender
February 26 2010, 02:39PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Rome was saying today on his show that the Candadian Men would rather have a Gold Medal than a Stanley Cup.

A Gold Medal is a pretty huge accomplishment but I still think most guys think of Lord Stanley as the ultimate goal.

When you think about it, the Gold medal is logically the bigger accomplishment. In the first place, every year one team in 30 wins the Stanley Cup. On the other hand, the Olympics are only once every four years. Mathematically, even if all players were equal you'd have very few chances to go to the Olympics during your playing career.

Secondly, every player on the team gets a piece of a Stanley Cup victory, regardless of their actual contribution. Rookies, bubble players, aging veterans doesn't matter; they get to 'win' the cup. Conversely, you need to be a superstar just to get named to the Canadian team. Much tougher to even get to the game, and most players would never be good enough to qualify. Even once you qualify, winning is a whole other thing and even those superstars who actually make the team one year might well only ever get one shot at it.

Lots of players might get several chances to win a Stanley Cup, but even great players may only ever get one chance for a Gold. I would think that would make it more special.

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#34 Kaiser Wilhelm
February 26 2010, 02:43PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Jim Rome has learned everything he knows about Canadian hockey from Chris Pronger. I'll leave it at that.

Anyone else remember the Human Rake dropping the fake "Edmonton-fans-destroyed-my-house" bomb on the Rome show a few years ago? Idiot.

Go Canada Go!!!

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#35 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 03:02PM
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@Pajamah

Olet nöyryytetään maasi Kiprusoff!!!

Erinomainen Olympic suorituskyky Kipper. Olet paras! allekirjoitettu USA jääkiekko

http://www.google.com/translate

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#36 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 03:05PM
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Suomi lopulta voittaa Tim Thomas. Liian vähän liian myöhään.

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#37 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 03:10PM
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Now in Slovakian:

Kanada porazím & aby ste plakať!

http://www.google.com/translate

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#38 Jamie B.
February 26 2010, 03:12PM
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@RossCreekNation

I'm just saying Slovakia in particular, scares me.

Really? More than the US at the moment?

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#39 Tracie
February 26 2010, 03:17PM
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So is it too hopeful of me to think that Tim Thomas is in net now b/c Ryan Miller got hurt?

~nice of Wilson to give Miller 10 minutes of rest!~

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#40 Harlie
February 26 2010, 03:23PM
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@Tracie

did he get hurt or did they pull him to give Thomas a taste?

(I was at work and didn't catch the game)

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#41 BUCK75
February 26 2010, 03:27PM
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@Tracie

He was pulled just to give him ice time. No such luck

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#42 Jamie B.
February 26 2010, 03:29PM
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BUCK75 wrote:

He was pulled just to give him ice time. No such luck

Then Thomas let in a goal and the fans heckled him. Bahaha! What jerks.

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#43 RossCreekNation
February 26 2010, 03:37PM
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Jamie B. wrote:

I'm just saying Slovakia in particular, scares me.

Really? More than the US at the moment?

No, no. In an underdog kind of way. The US & Russia aren't games I get real scared about... I know they can go either way. Slovakia on the other hand, seems an easier opponent, yet they've knocked off Russia AND Sweden - two medal favorites. I'm just saying... lets not look past Slovakia. They're gonna be fired up! GO CANADA!

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#44 Ducey
February 26 2010, 03:38PM
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Jim Rome?

The guy has to repeat everything twice (or more)! Usually with a big pause in the middle.

I can never figure out how a Bingo caller got his own radio show.

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#45 RossCreekNation
February 26 2010, 03:48PM
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@Ducey

I didn't used to care much for Rome. But about 4 or 5 years ago I did as he said - 'Give him 2 weeks. If you don't like it, give it 2 more'. By week 3, I was hooked. I've since weaned myself some, but still enjoy listening when I can. The "Chris" Evert incident was epic. I remember seeing that on illegal satellite as a youngin... wait, what? I've said too much.

*swigs Jim Jones' kool-aid*

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#46 Domebeers.com
February 26 2010, 03:58PM
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I agree with Pat. Sexism.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

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#47 Milli
February 26 2010, 04:00PM
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oh man, I can't wait! I've had 3 pregamers already! It's gonna be a little fuzzy by gametime!

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#48 Dan the Man
February 26 2010, 04:02PM
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Ender wrote:

When you think about it, the Gold medal is logically the bigger accomplishment. In the first place, every year one team in 30 wins the Stanley Cup. On the other hand, the Olympics are only once every four years. Mathematically, even if all players were equal you'd have very few chances to go to the Olympics during your playing career.

Secondly, every player on the team gets a piece of a Stanley Cup victory, regardless of their actual contribution. Rookies, bubble players, aging veterans doesn't matter; they get to 'win' the cup. Conversely, you need to be a superstar just to get named to the Canadian team. Much tougher to even get to the game, and most players would never be good enough to qualify. Even once you qualify, winning is a whole other thing and even those superstars who actually make the team one year might well only ever get one shot at it.

Lots of players might get several chances to win a Stanley Cup, but even great players may only ever get one chance for a Gold. I would think that would make it more special.

I wasn't really saying that the Stanley Cup was a bigger accomplishment than a Gold Medal, as you pointed out the Gold Medal is much more difficult to win.

I just think to most Hockey Players the Stanley Cup is the ultimate prize. I could be wrong. I guess we'd have to take a poll to find out for sure but I'd be surprised if more guys chose Olympic Gold over Lord Stanley.

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#49 Arby
February 26 2010, 04:27PM
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Domebeers.com wrote:

I agree with Pat. Sexism.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

I have no idea which Pat you are speaking with, nor what it's in regards to, however I completely support your conclusion.

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