UPDATED BELOW - at 10 p.m. Pacific
Poor Ron Wilson, The guy comes across the continent for an Olympic Games and takes Team USA out today in a 3-1 win over Switzerland. "We are a chemistry experiment and it's going to take some time," he said afterward, and suddenly it was September in Leafland all over again.
The view from the seats, as Canada finishes its warmup.
After liveblogging the opener here, and sitting in the seats waiting for Canada-Norway (are people ready? the place was 2/3 full for the warmup, for pete's sake), a couple of things struck me: The Canada-Russia final that everyone seems to want to see and is already prepared to book in for? I didn't see anything from the Americans that'd upset that plan. But they surely can do better - what they need most of a all is a player who can cut open a game. Maybe Zach Parise is the guy. Maybe Patrick Kane. But they'll have to emerge here. No one seems the standout candidate.
Over at salon.com, the Canada-Russia rivalry gets a good going-over:
While the Russians preen, curmudgeonly Canadians steam. "Hockey Night in Canada" broadcaster Don Cherry -- Canada's grand old half-insane hockey man -- doesn't necessarily speak for all Canucks when he screeches, "The Russians are NOTHING!" But he plays a valuable role of giving voice to Canada's Archie Bunker id. It's an id that lashes out against Ovechkin for his wild post-goal celebrations and rock-star lifestyle. North American hockey is replete with codes of conduct, and Alex Ovechkin seems to break one every time he breathes. Worse yet, he pays no mind to these manners. Per Cherry's criticism of Alex's theatrics, Ovi laughed, "He's not interesting to me, so he can say whatever he wants. I don't care about him."
Related: Following on this morning's post, VANOC's press officer responds to some of the criticisms, $1 million in lost ticket revenue at Cypress Mountain, and this "Worst Games Ever" notion: "It’s a little bit like lost luggage. It’s not whether your luggage gets lost, it’s how you deal with it. We are dealt the cards we are dealt. We have done everything we could to put in place the very best plans. Sometimes things come up so the most important thing is being creative, responding quickly and coming up with good solutions.” Oh dear. This isn't getting any better, is it?
Updated: Canada's 8-0 win over Norway unfolded in a pretty mundane fashion. A slow start, but a gathering storm against an overwhelmed opponent and the sellout crowd got the explosion it wanted. And the Canadians may have found a No. 1 line, with Jarome Iginla taking over from Patrice Bergeron and immediately finishing a Sidney Crosby feed to start it all off early in the second period. The resulting Crosby-Iginla-Nash line combined for three goals and seven points:
“(Babcock) talked to all of us before about what line combinations to possibly expect and to be ready,” said Iginla. “Part of playing for Team Canada is that you’re excited about whatever the line combinations are but also, you have to be ready for whatever role you’re asked (to perform) whether it’s part of an energy line, the (penalty kill) or the power play. I imagine it’ll change a lot throughout the tournament too.”
He's probably right. There wasn't a whole lot definitive to take out of this one, and there will be some more experimentation. Meanwhile, Russia's comfortably cruising over Latvia in the late show at Canada Hockey Place - another whale-against-minnow matchup - and it all means there were few surprises on this opening day of hockey.