I'm on record about my ambivilance towards the Olympics in general and Olympic hockey in specific (thanks for gravy-training on my idea, US mass media). But we're barely into it and I'm already crawling the walls. I made a deal about how happy I was to catch up and get some rest and whatnot just a week ago or so.
I take it all back.
I'm bored out of my mind with this. I want the Blues back. Not in two weeks, NOW. The US team tied Latvia, which is apparently it's own country, despite being smaller than Missouri and more drunk than Jefferson County on Friday at 8:30. I haven't seen even one second of that game and I guarantee that the Blues (from St. Louis, which is smaller than Latvia) would have beaten the Latvians. Do you doubt it? Playing as hard as they have over the last three weeks and making their own breaks, our blue-collar Blues would have won a game that our multi-millionaire, talented, cocky US team tied. And really, in this Olympic scenario, a tie against Latvia is really a loss.
And this why I hate the Olympic hockey. Let's go back and let the kids play. The US has some GREAT kids in the college hockey system. Let them go play against Latvia and the other powerhouses. That I can root for. Make the NHLers stay home and play in their league. If they want to play for their country, the World Cup takes place every other summer or so. Plus, if the pros aren't in the Olympics, the World Cup becomes an actual event to watch. As do the Olympics. And the NHL, if it wants to, can take a break for the Olympics. Let the pros rest and watch. Let the world's hockey fans focus on the amateurs/future NHLers. It'd be a win-win-win-win.
And I want credit when it happens. Bitches.
But In The Meantime...
Bring back my NHL. Right about the time that the Blues start winning (5 of 7) and Dutchie and Wideman start getting recognized by the broadcast teams and national media and, well, YOU have started to get excited about our Blues again and....
But, in a smart move, GM Pleau sent Dutchie and Glumac back to Peoria to play some games and not build any rust. Now, I don't agree with the 'youngsters get rusty, vets don't' theory, but I'm liking the idea of Dutchie and Glumac getting more comfortable as they play more games. I expect both will be top nine forwards next year (Dutch is a second line guy on a good team, first line guy this year, while Glumac is a borderline 3rd/2nd guy if I have to guess), so let's keep them running and shooting and whatnot.
Still, I don't live in Peoria. I live in St. Louis, and I miss my team already. Yeah, that's right, I miss my Blues already. My almost-last place (take THAT! Pittsburgh) has been gone for just a few days and I can't wait for them to come back. I'll stand out on Clark and freeze my ass off to sell my paper to you hardcore nuts, finagle a cheap seat and go in to watch from the upper decks in a second when they come back. I can't wait, because they are playing hard, and we all work hard on this paper, and I am tied to them. And I can't wait for my team to come back.
Gretzky Is Not News - For Once.
Look, I know the media hates (HATES!) to have to report this, but Wayne Gretzky's South County born-n-bred wife has placed some sports bets. And that, unfortunately (FORTUITOUS! HUZZAH!) means that the media has to report on it and take press and paper away from the amateur (AMATEUR I SAY, JUST LIKE THE NHL GUYS!) athletes that this event is all about.
Give me a break. As our friend Jeffio noted, Bryan Burwell spent all his space in the P-D talking about how the media was wasting their allotted Olympic space on Gretzky.
Hello, Burwell? Yes, this is Irony calling. I need to see you in the lobby. Please bring your notebook.
But here's the thing: only the media cares about this gambling thing. And I'm sure half if it is pressbox mania and half of it is media laziness. Why search out a story during this boring Olympic season when you can just regurgitate the conversation you just had with the paper guy from Toronto?
No one who is a regular sports fan cares. For me, the story eneded when I heard "they did not take bets on hockey". So, now what? Who doesn't bet on football? Who doesn't bet on the NCAA tourney? I know people who don't, but even they don't care about the "Gambling Ring" and "Wayne May Or May Not Have".
You media guys care. Fans do not. Drop it already.
Gretzky, like Michael Jordan, would have to do a lot more than bet on sports (other than his own) to make me stop admiring his ability and desire and contribution to his sport. Wayne is the greatest human to ever play the sport of hockey. Until he does something to tarnish the sport of hockey, my opinion of him will not be changed. The day he kills two innocent people, takes a giant duke in the Stanley Cup, then straps it in the passenger seat and leads the local highway patrol on a slow-speed chase? Well, I'll evaluate him again at that point. But if he didn't bet on hockey, I don't care.