February 13, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-02-13

 

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The Men's Olympic Hockey Tournament finally got underway yesterday. I was going to go off on a rant about how from a purely fantasy perspective the Games are kind of a downer but the reality is I just find Olympic Hockey pools to be lame so the lack of immersive fantasy hockey is a bit of a drag. The awesomeness of the games outweighs that tenfold though so I'll spare you the rant.

 

I will ask if any of you have found a way to make Olympic Hockey pools entertaining because I am at a loss.

 

I did place some spicy bets before the games got underway.

 

If you've been following the ramblings these past few months you'll note that I bet on the underdog odds of Finland to win their group and win the Gold. That was a longshot when I placed it and the injuries to Mikko Koivu and Valtteri Filppula do not help my cause in the slightest. But I stand by my reasoning for the bets. If I'm betting on one goalie to steal this tournament it's Tuukka Rask.

 

I also got Henrik Zetterberg, Joe Pavelski and Jonathan Toews to lead the tournament in goals, all at 18/1 or better. I figure those will be interesting to follow.

 

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I have to say, the Swedes looked pretty dominant for much of their 4-2 win over the Czech Republic.

 

The entire first half of the game was an exhibition of Swedish dominance. They controlled every bit of the play and were exceptional in activating their defense to help create opportunities.

 

Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson is just a disgusting defense pairing. I'd take the two-way ability of some of Canada's pairings but for pure offense it doesn't get better than these two together – and that’s not to say these guys can’t defend. 

 

Karlsson led the way for Sweden with two goals and OEL had two assists.

 

Zetterberg got a goal as well, which was nice for my bet above. He was lined up with Gabriel Landeskog and Alexander Steen. That's one heck of a two-way line.

 

The announcers were talking about how Daniel Sedin had said playing with Niklas Backstrom was like skating with his brother Henrik. Not sure if they quite have the same fearsome Children of the Corn telepathy it's clear that these two will create offense because of their immense hockey IQ.

 

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Once the Czechs went down 4-0 they found their game and controlled the final period and a bit but teams that go down always seem to carry the play so I don't know how much to read into that. I'd like to think they could be a problem going forward but I just don't know.

Some very curious lineup decisions from the Czechs though. We know all about the "snubbed" like Radim Vrbata who didn't even make the squad but how about Martin Hanzal not even getting into the game and