Lessons Learned at the Olympics

February 26th, 2010 by Michael Gasparino Leave a reply »
Maybe it's just me, but when I hear 'Finland,' I think of the Monty Python song .

I should probably think about Teemu Selanne or Saku Koivu or Mikka Kiprusoff, because those guys could very well knock off the U.S. in the semifinals this afternoon.

Finland is a funny team. When the Olympics roll around, all the talk is about Russia, Canada and Sweden, with an eye on the pesky Czechs and some "can the U.S. do it?" thrown in for good measure. No one talk about Finland. And yet, they're almost always in medal contention.

It could be a pitcher's duel with Ryan Miller against Kiprusoff, but this whole Olympic tournament has been dominated by the netminders. Roberto Luongo has stepped in to help rescue the Canadians, Jonas Hiller was the top goalie in the tournament until the Swiss were dispatched in the quarters, and Jaroslav Halak has been outstanding for the Slovaks.

Just ask Russia how important goaltending is. Yvgeni Nabokov was about as effective as an umbrella in a hurricane against Canada the other night, but blame the coach for (a) not pulling Nabokov after the first period, or (b) not giving Ilya Bryzgalov—who has 32 wins and six shutout ...

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