Monday, February 13, 2006

CasonBlog Olympic Preview

New Digital Video Technology Rocks
By far the coolest thing thus far in Torino is the new camera technology that allowed NBC to superimpose downhill skiers on top of one another at various points/times in the run. It allows you to see how the skiers' runs compare at exact points in time. They showed the Austrian and the Gold Medal winning Italian coming over a ridge near a gate and you could see where the Italian gained his .4 second, or whatever, margin. The Austrian got loose and high and the Italian stayed tucked and low. That was the difference in the race. It's amazing that guys/gals on skis, or in that wacky luge competition, register times that are mere milliseconds apart. What athletes. What equipment. What science. What a steriod masking agent. Way cool.

On to Olympic Hockey
Overall, I think there are at least six teams who might find enough ad hoc mojo to bring home the gold. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Czechs, Team USA, or the Finns on the highest riser at medal time. That being said, here's my SWAG (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess).

Gretzky's Gamblers: The speed, size and grit everywhere to shut down opponents and dominate play. Yeah, some injuries on the blueline, but nobody matches up very well against the Canadians. I think the adversity angle will add to the fire in their bellies. The Canadians truly believe that every tourney is theirs to lose. Four years of Pierre Mcguire and Don Cherry ranting awaits them if they do lose.

Slovaks: Band of brothers, national pride, sick of living in the shadow of their Czech big brothers, yada, yada. I think their defensive corps present a nice mix of studs and playmakers. Goaltending quality might kill them in the long run, but as long as the Slovaks aren't taking penalties, there should be plenty of opportunities for Hossa, Gaborik, Demitra, and Svatos to dazzle with the puck. They'll come in under-the-radar and unrespected.

Russia: The good news-forwards who might just own all that open ice. The bad news-a blueline of playground bullies and relics who might put those Bolshoi-caliber forwards on the PK way too much. Having to play defense could kill Kovalchuck's and Yashin's fragile morale. If the Soviets are hitting on all cylinders and jump out front early in games, they will be tough to stop.

And the Award for Best Olympic Village Blowout Dorm Destruction Keg Party
Team USA: Might as well renew the tradition of Nagano if the boys aren't gonna medal. Still, I can't wait to see this bunch of forwards at work. I think Grahame might be peaking at the right time-in time to give the boys a shot in a few critical games. Come on Lavvy. Just say, "No" to DiPietro-he's Milbury's boy anyway. Burning question: If a Hatcher falls down in the defensive zone, will anybody yell "Timber?"

First Game: Wednesday at 3 pm. Team USA vs. that cute little orphan goalie and crew from Lithulatstonia.

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