Well gang, the first four days of the Olympic men’s hockey tournament are (more or less) complete and all 18 round robin games will be in the books likely by the time you’re reading this. (If not, go watch the last one!) As we mull over the results and pour over the schedule for the qualification games on Tuesday and the quarterfinal games on Wednesday and conspire to develop sudden illnesses at work just before Canada’s next game, let’s reflect on the past few days of really good hockey. What really surprised you? Did anybody really impress or disappoint?
Sound off in the comments. My thoughts are after the jump.
I was a bit shocked at how bad Slovakia was. They won zero games, despite having several NHLers – including the Man Mountain named Zdeno Chara. And after their strong game against Canada, I thought Norway would at least win a game – against Austria – but the other club’s stock of NHLers likely tilted the balance. Slovenia playing so well during their first Olympics ever is absolutely massive for both that country’s hockey morale and their international ranking coming out of Sochi.
And I think everybody had Sweden coming out on top of Group C, but some might be surprised that the Swiss are second ahead of the Czech Republic. I’ve been a fan of the Swiss national team for awhile, but even I was shocked at how even-keeled all their games were. Even in their loss against Sweden, the Swiss kept their heads above water and allowed just a single goal – to the high-powered Swedes – during the round robin.
In terms of Flames at the Olympics, Switzerland G Reto Berra made 30 saves in his one start – against Sweden – that also represented his team’s only loss. One goal against isn’t bad, but it was a bit of a heart-breaker. Berra dressed for all three games. Ladislav Smid also dressed for all three games and actually saw action in two of them for the Czech Republic. He averaged 12:30 in ice-time, had 4 shots, a minor penalty and a minus-one rating.
The Swiss will get Latvia on Tuesday and the Czechs will play Slovakia. We’ll have a full schedule and medal round preview tomorrow.