Consider this the open Olympic thread where we pout about hockey disappointments and cheer on non-hockey victories! I know the big news from yesterday is the gold medal in the ice dance but I never have been able to sit through an entire ice dance event so it's hard for me to get excited about that. But yeah! Good for them! But my favourite event yesterday was the cross country "team" sprint. That sport looks like death. Guys falling over at the end because they're just beat. The "team" is two guys running wind sprints. Stop and go all day with the semis and finals only a couple of hours apart. You end up skiing over seven kilometers broken up into six smaller packages. You ski a kilometer, then your partner, then back to you and so on. And they call it a sprint! Canada finished fourth on the men's side but it was a great fourth. Best finish ever for the Canadian men, one of those fourth place finishes where it's all, "Wow! That's awesome!" And it's an exciting sport! So a hearty congratulations to Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw. I'll be pulling for them to win a medal in the team relay on Wednesday morning.
As for the hockey, I posted the draw yesterday and it's a toughie for the Canadians. The first and easiest step comes today against Germany. While the Germans aren't pushovers (I thought they looked very good against Sweden, the eighth best team in the tournament), today will likely be a convincing win for the Canadians. If the Germans do lose, the eleventh place finish in the tournament is going to be hugely disappointing. That loss to Belarus in the last game of the round robin really hurt them. On the bright side, the only way for them to do worse than 11th overall is with a Latvia win over the Czechs. And that isn't going to happen. It's been a tough tournament for the Latvians who will end the tournament with a loss to Russia, a loss to Slovakia and two losses to the Czechs. They never played another "also-ran" and will finish last despite probably not being the worst team in the tournament. The Slovaks play Norway tonight and should have an easy win before a very tough quarterfinal game against the Swedes. I've been really impressed with the Slovakians so far, moreso than the Finns and they should give the Swedes a good game in the quarters. This is it for most of the players on that team and they know it. Everyone is going to be selling out. Finally, the most competitive game of the day, Belarus and Switzerland, will likely come down to the kind of day Jonas Hiller is having. With an off-day, Belarus has a chance (as they showed against Germany), but on a good day, the Swiss should be moving on. Avoiding Russia, Sweden and Canada in the quarters or semis is basically the perfect draw for the Swiss. I know I'll be cheering for Hnat Domenichelli to catch lightning in a bottle against the Americans.
Switzerland v. Belarus 1:00 p.m. MST
Canada v. Germany 5:30 p.m. MST
Czech Republic v. Latvia 8:00 p.m. MST
Slovakia v. Norway 10:00 p.m. MST
Bruce also asked for a look at the overall standings after the conclusion of the round robin, so here they are: