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Day Seven (Eleven): Lent is a Season for Reflection

It's also a season to connect with the suffering of Christ.  So thanks for helping out Canadian Olympic team!  And not just the hockey team.  This is the open Olympic thread so we can feel free to complain about other failures as well!  I watched the women's 1500 speed skating yesterday and the girl ranked 5th in the world finished in 35th.  Wowzers.  We're proud of our athletes and all that but... if the hockey team does the equivalent tomorrow we're going to be losing to Germany.  We won a medal in that speed-skating event so I shouldn't complain too loudly (Congratulations Kristina Groves!) but that kind of total collapse (those men's speed-skaters haven't exactly "owned" the podium either) mixed with the silly volume of fourth and fifth place finishes leaves Canada behind where it set its goals in terms of medal count.  But more importantly, all this bad mojo could negatively impact Kevin Martin.  If I have one gold medal wish to dole out it belongs to him.  The guy has enough bad mojo in big games on his own!  7-0 in the round robin?  Meaningless!  He does it all the time!  He doesn't need this Canadian Olympic team!   Unless we're saving all of our good mojo for The Old Bear in the playoffs.  Please, let it be so.

As for the hockey, it's all set.  No games today but some fantastic ones yesterday.  The Swedes rolled over the Finns as expected (sorry Derek), the Americans goaltended themselves to a victory over Canada and the Russians won a hard-fought game against the Czechs.  But Tuesday the tournament starts anew and it's format is not dissimilar from that of Wimbledon - a simple draw at this point.  So instead of looking at the standings, let's take a look at both sides of the draw:

Sweden
Bye

Slovakia
Norway


Russia
Bye

Canada
Germany

So how good does Sweden feel about winning their pool now?  Not so good.  They are now virtually guaranteed either Canada or Russia in the semi-finals if they can overcome (I make an assumption here) Slovakia in the quarters.  I guess they feel pretty stupid for not stomping Germany and Belarus into oblivion.  This half of the draw is not the place to be.  Both Russia and Canada have an extremely tough road here.  The top three teams in the tournament on talent are now all in the same pool.  The best they can hope for between them is a gold and a bronze.  Pretty sick.  And now for the other side:

Finland
Bye

Czech Republic
Latvia

Switzerland
Belarus

United States
Bye

Wide open.  Everyone in this half has a great draw.  The only team that's looked really good against real competition is the Czech Republic so I think I'll take them to come out of this half but Finland and the United States have a very good chance too.  Looking at the two sides of the draw shows us exactly what Canada lost in the round robin.  With regulation wins over the US and the Swiss, Canada is sitting pretty, as close to a guaranteed medal game as you can be.  But they didn't.  Now I understand what Jesus was going through on the cross.  Wait... what?

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