Weekend Open Thread: Olympic Pride

The magic of Vancouver is still fresh in the minds of Canadians, who for 16 days came together as one and celebrated some of the greatest and proudest moments in this countries history. Now, 4 years later, Canada’s finest winter athletes return to the world’s greatest stage in an attempt to re-spark that incomparable feeling of national pride and jubilation every Canadian felt during the Vancouver Games. There are numerous events in which Canada could medal, including hockey, and in fact have already claimed three (one each of gold, silver and bronze) just 24 hours in.

To further ignite your anticipation and inflate your pride, here’s a look back at the 14 gold medals won by Canadian athletes in Vancouver.

Warning: video may contain a large amount of inspiration and may induce chills, goosebumps and/or tears.

With the Sochi Games now in full swing, what is your greatest Olympic memory, from 2010 or otherwise?

  • the forgotten man

    Meh…hopefully last Olympics NHL participates in. Time to restart the World Cup of Hockey idea every 2 or 4 years. Profits stay with NHL/NHLPA instead of funnelling any more profit to the cesspool, corrupt ridden IOC. Frankly getting tired of the Olympics – just an avenue for bankrupting host nations, graft and money laundering at levels that would make Capone blush.

    • Burnward

      Who cares what they do with their money…it’s not like it wouldn’t have happened anyways in a different avenue.

      It’s all about the athletes. Relax and enjoy.

      • beloch

        I can get behind efforts to screw the IOC. They do some pretty damned scummy things and rake in huge profits on the backs of both venues and the athletes. e.g. We’ve all seen photos and read stories about the wonderful athlete accommodations and complimentary shower surveillance in Sochi! Want to take any bets on how the IOC commision’s rooms compare?

        I’d love to see a competing event bring together so many winter sports. I suspect a key precursor to such an “Olympics-killer” would have to be marquee events, like men’s hockey, going independent first.

    • beloch

      well maybe one day someone close to you will get the chance to participate in the olympics and maybe you’ll get an idea of what it means to them.

      You should actually watch the games and see these athletes put their hearts and souls into their performances. For many of them, they’ve been dreaming of competing in the games their whole lives. For the ones who have a chance of getting on the podium it is even more special and heartbreaking when they fail. Hockey is just one of many sports, it is not the only olympic sport.

      money laundering and corruption will occur in these countries regardless of the event. As long as there is opportunity these people will do it.

      The bright side to these events are the billions in tourism dollars that come in over the next 20 years just because they hosted the games. Something that most people rarely think about when they are busy whining at the cost. Also there is the improved infrastructure that these cities usually enjoy after the event. There are in most cases many more positives than negatives to hosting the olympics.

    • loudogYYC

      We’ve been living in a very commercialized world for a long time now. Any event large enough to have cities voluntarily take on billions in debt will always, always come with some power struggle and corruption. If hockey were a big enough sport worldwide, the World Cup of Hockey would also be a giant money grab.

      That said, if the event is elite, the athletes should be elite as well. NHL players at the Olympics is best.

  • BurningSensation

    I’ve done a 180 degree flip on how I feel about the Olympics.

    When I was a teen I prayed the Olympics would let NHL players in because it was clearly lopsided against Canada and the US that our best players couldnt go, but Russia’s/USSR’s could.

    Now, with all the best players from across the globe in the NHL where they belong, (Radulov and Kuznetsov excepted), I’d be fine with sending amateurs again and rebuilding the ‘Canada Cup’ (cuz the ‘World Cup’ is freaking lame on every level).

    The 7 hockey ‘super’ powers; Canada, Russia, US, Sweden, Finland, the Czechs, the Slovaks, and one more (Germany? Switzerland?), and you have yourself the perfect tournament.

    • beloch

      Really? It’s Switzerland, no discussion. Germany didn’t qualify for men’s hockey this year (pushed out by Slovenia), while the Swiss have had more success–at every level–in recent years than either the Czechs or Slovaks.

      • BurningSensation

        Point taken.

        I still think of Michel Riesen when I think of the Swiss forwards, but that isn’t fair any longer.

        The biggest factor is that they have legit high-end goaltending, and that alone can steal them wins in a short tournament.

  • the forgotten man

    I often think that it would be nice to see a World Cup where the best countries in the world play in the fall. A two week training camp starting the last week of August and the a two week tournament. Then a week off and then training camp for the NHL and all the other leagues. Have it every two years and alternate between NA and Europe. If hockey is played at the Olympics then only players under 21.

  • beloch

    Unfortunately, the deciding factor about what events NHL players take part in will always be NHL players themselves. Winning Olympic gold almost has the same prestige that winning the Stanley Cup does, so NHL players will fight any attempts to keep them out of the games.

    A part of the prestige of Olympic medals is the rarity granted by running the Olympics every four years. An annual or even semi-annual tournament of just seven teams would probably give out too many trophies for them to be valued nearly as highly.

    • supra steve

      And often, the deciding factor with groups like the NHLPA is the all-mighty dollar. If a Canada Cup type of tournament could be put together where the best of the best (the few) would participate and the less skilled (the many) would benefit with an enhanced pension plan, I could see the PA coming around to the idea of skipping the Olympics.

  • beloch

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/02/09/sarah-burke-helmet-sticker-ban-olympics-sochi_n_4755913.html

    Seriously, a snowboarder wants to wear a sticker commemorating a dead friend and it’s a political statement?

    Note: Sarah Burke is who successfully lobbied the IOC to include Superpipe in the olympics. She died training for her sport and would have been a lock for a gold-medal at these Olympics. She was married to a male and hence probably not gay either. Really, I’m puzzled by the lack of class the IOC is showing here. It’s not even remotely logical to ban stickers commemorating Sarah Burke.

  • BurningSensation

    Huh. So I just took a look at the AHL standings… the Heat have quietly moved back into 2nd overall in the AHL standings (1st in the west) in pts%. Third in points.

    Thanks in no small part to Olivier Roy’s strong play while Ortio was away. Colour me impressed (and surprised).

    Also, Sven’s five game point streak likely had something to do with it as well.

    • seve927

      I’m listening to the Heat game tonight online. Sven sound pretty involved. Nice change.

      I like Sven a lot and think he’ll be a very good player in this league. But I’d still trade him for a great right-shot defense prospect in the 19-22 range. I feel like that’s really all this prospect pool is missing (maybe a RW).

      • cunning_linguist

        Indeed. I love Sven and would be sorry to see him go… but we need us some D (for the future) something awful.

        Of course, there’s always the chance the Flames snag Julius Honka with a mid/late first or a second rounder (yes please). That wouldn’t get rid of the problem, but it would help a lot.

  • supra steve

    One of the big factors for athletes and the Olympics is all the supplementary dollars to be made. It’s the biggest hockey tournament in the world and whoever is on the winning team(s) have a great new oppurtunity for things like merchandising or sponsorship deals.

    I’d imagine Crosby scoring the golden goal probably up’d his earnings by a significant amount. Depending on the sponsors that line up to take advantage of his increased popularity he could be making a lot of money. It’s probably why a lot of pro athletes invest the time in the summer to make the team.

  • seve927

    Heat had killed 37 penalties in a row before tonight. Granlund and Reinhart seem to be a big part of that. I think both those guys, could play in the NHL next year. Reinhart especially.

  • beloch

    Assuming the Flames finish too high to snag Reinhart or Ekblad (or simply decide neither is a fit), how do you guys feel about Burke trading the Flames’ first-rounder down? The Flames’ pick might be high enough to fetch two firsts in return. This could allow the team to pick a defender up if the “best players available” at the Flames default position are all forwards.

    Whether or not this is a good idea probably depends on how big a drop-off there is from the top-5 through the rest of the first round. If the top 3-5 are considered weak and the drop-off small…

    • Christian Roatis

      No, the value drops off considerably after 5-6ish, and late 1sts aren’t as valuable as past years. It’s important they keep that selection IMO.

      • Christian Roatis

        It is risky but, generally there are 2-3 very good NHL players taken in the top 5 but if Burke were to gain a 1st, 2nd, and either a further 1st or a player there would be a chance to do some big things. It is risky though but players taken after number 5 and in round 1 plus 2 include: So taking 2 of the following and another prospect.
        02- Steen, Semin
        03 – Parise, Getzlaf, Kessler, Richards, Perry, Webber instead of Zherdev, or Fleury
        04 – Boland, Booth, Edler instead of Barker
        05 – Rask, Oshie, Neal, Stastny instead of Johnson, Pouliot or Brule
        06 – Giroux, Stewart, Lucic instead of Johnson.
        07 – Coture, Perron, Pacioretty, Subban instead of Turris or Hickey
        08 – Karlsson, Voynov, Steppan, Hamonic instead of Bogosian or Schenn
        09 – Johansson and O’reilly instead of Schenn.

        • supra steve

          And now, who the Flames actually took in those drafts (first and second round selections):

          2002-Nystrom 10th, Brian McConnell 39th

          2003-Dion Phaneuf 9th, Tim Ramholt 39th

          2004-Kris Chucko 24th, no 2nd

          2005-Matt Pelech 26th, no 2nd

          2006-Leland Irving 26th, no 2nd (seems to be a pattern with these 2nd rounders)

          2007-Mikael Backlund 24th, no 2nd

          2008-Greg Nemisz 24th, Mitch Wahl 48th

          2009-Tim Erixon 23rd, no 2nd

          For those reasons, Clyde, your idea is not a wise one. Anyone can go through a draft list 5-12 years after the fact and get a bitchin’ pick with every selection, unfortunately that’s not how the Flames get to make their picks. Like everyone else, they have to make their selections when these kids are 18 years old, with the info they have at the time.

          Picking in the top 5 improves the odds quite drastically of getting a gem. Sometimes, even a top five pick turns out poorly, but nowhere near as often as picking in the late teens/twenties. There are years where trading down may be advisable, if you are quite sure a/the player you want will still be there with a later pick, but trading out of the top five is rarely done for a good reason.

      • beloch

        If you look at NHL career games played (a marker of player quality) vs 1st round draft position, the trend is approximately an exponential decay. If you average over many drafts there there’s no sudden cliff after 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.. It’s a smooth decline. If you can get two sufficiently high first-rounders for a top-5 pick you’re statistically trading up in value. This can also mitigate risk in the sense that you’re not carrying all your eggs in one basket. One prospect could get coked-up and try to molest a grizzly, but you’d still have another prospect left! This isn’t entirely without cost though. e.g. It does require you to use up a second contract slot. Also, superstar rookies sell more tickets than lesser-known upper-echeloners.

        The Flames might also be able to get a 1st rounder for the 2015 draft. That’s risky given that you don’t know where a team will finish (Man Feaster would look smart now if he’d traded for Edmonton’s 2014 1st back when they thought they were going to the playoffs!). Is 2015 regarded to be a deeper draft though, aside from McDavid?

        I’m bringing this up because it might possibly represent a way to improve the value of the Flames 1st rounder and/or allow them to draft for needed positions while still maximizing the value of their picks. The Flames really do need to restock the farm’s blueline. Once a marquee prospect is signed, it’s not so easy to just swap them for a comparable prospect who plays the position you desperately need!