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Olympic Hockey 2010 — Everything You Need To Know

January 5th, 2010 · 6 Comments · The Hockey Hippie


Being in Canada on Gold Medal Sunday will be like being in America on Obama’s Election Night.

Canadian Kindness:  When in public Celebrations — remember, we’re hosting.  People rooting for other nations are our guests and Olympic friends.  It’s just a game.  They’re just you and me, from somewhere else.  Celebrate them for showing pride in a foreign land, and make everyone love this place as much as we do.  🙂

I’m back doing Olympic Hockey Reports on  Here’s with hosts Hugh Reilly & Nikki Hayes doing The Final Olympic Debriefing  discussing the overwhelming effect they had on Canada.  (open another window to keep reading this site)

Or here’s Jan. 29th   — Brian-Hugh-Nikki  — discussing the final cauldron lighting;  Canada’s consortium of coaches;  the Russians vs Canada;  great players vs team sports;  the Magic of the Midnight Games;  the emotion of Canada winning;  the David & Goliath epic being written;  and the opening game vs. Norway at the Cineplexes.

And as we should always play the national anthem first, here’s Maritime rapper Class with his new Canadian anthem for your listening and/or viewing pleasure as you discover the Gold in these thar Olympics.

I also highly recommend all Canadians watch the amazingly revealing documentary “On Home Ice” that was filmed over the last year showing how the team was put together.  It’s kind-of a must-see if you want to understand this team.


The Flow Below

  • Preliminary Round Gameplans
  • The Final All-Player Olympics
  • The Gold Medal will be Decided over Lunch
  • Overview of 2010 Teams
  • TV Broadcasts
  • The Midnight Games
  • The Crazy-But-True Dept.
  • The Russians
  • Rule Changes
  • 3-Point System to Determine Standings
  • Olympians by NHL team
  • IIHF Ranking of Participating Nations
  • Different Leagues in these Olympics

Preliminary Round Gameplans . . .  

(feel free to replicate in a town near you)

game 1 — Tuesday Feb 16th — 7:30PM — Canada vs Norway — this is the 10-0 game where we come together as a team and have a gelling & excelling scrimmage.  I expect Roberto Luongo in net for his evaluation game against this weakest of opponents.  Location: the Cineplex (the Scotiabank one Richmond St.). Yes, the movie theater.  I’ve never seen a live game in one.  Could you imagine a 100 foot Hi-Def screen with the best surround-sound in existence and hundreds of screaming new best friends?  It’s not weather dependent cuz it’s indoors, and t’s the first game, so it won’t have caught on yet as the thing to do.  And we let the outdoor scenes have a chance to gel and work out the bugs and spread word-of-mouth and gather mass momentum.

Oakville/Burlington:  SilverCity on Wyecroft at Burloak
Winnipeg:  SilverCity at Polo Park
All participating theaters in Canada here.

game 2 — Thursday Feb 18th — 7:30 — Canada vs Switzerland — despite our pathetic Wayne Bertuzzi team last Olympics getting shut-out by the Swiss, this should  be 5–1 or better, or we’re gonna have trouble again.  I expect Brodeur to be in net for Canada in his warm-up try-out game — vs Anaheim’s current monster Jonas Hiller for the Swiss, an excellent foil who’s on a hot streak.  And we need to be able to beat good goalies.  Since it’ll be a fast-played, exciting game, this is the time to be cheering & high-fiving in a Sea of Red at Nathan Phillips and/or Dundas Sq (weather permitting). We’ll find out which has the better screen and scene. It’s a 10-minute walk between and there’s 15 minute intermissions — I’m anticipating the first period at one party, the 2nd at the other, and the third at the best one. 🙂

game 3 — Sunday Feb 21st — 7:40 — Canada vs USAThe Home Game — the 2002 Gold Medal Rematch!  This is the one to watch at home or a friend’s house, a la Super Bowl Sunday — there’s a fantastic warm-up game in the afternoon with Russia vs the Czechs from 3:00–5:30 — have a nice afternoon of it, making good use of the kitchen — followed by a 2-hour dinner n drinks break, and then the game that determines who finishes First in our Group, getting a bye directly into the Quarterfinals — and which team has to play an exhausting extra game the night before. The team that wins Gold will likely have gone 6-0 in the tournament. Only 3 teams will win this Sunday Final.  And don’t forget — the big Midnight Game —  Sweden vs Finland!  The second recent Gold Medal rematch of the night! 

After these 3 games, I/we/you will have experienced it 3 different ways, and can decide how to do the “game 7” elimination games, beginning with the Quarter-Final game on Wed Feb 24th, at 7:30 (Eastern).
I anticipate some serious Hi-Def action at Nathan Phillips. Including and especially the pre-Gold Medal games. Stay tuned for details.
Semi-final game:  Friday Night, 9:30 PM (Eastern), Feb. 26th
Gold Medal game:  Sunday Afternoon, 3:15 PM  (Eastern), Feb 28th

These are likely the Final All-Player Olympics

Although they won’t officially say it until eons from now in the middle of some summer when no one’s paying attention, the  NHL is not going to participate in the next Olympics.  Their 4-Olympic association did not produce the desired results of generating massive interest in hockey (in the, um, U.S. they mean).  The next in Russia will have all games played in the middle of the night in North America, and the NHL and the KHL don’t get along, and nobody but Russians will be paying a smidgeon of attention, and the best players on every NHL team won’t have to get completely distracted and have their internal clocks thrown off and risk injury and keep everybody else on salary for two weeks doin’ nuthin’ for some nobody’s-watching tournament in a remote port on the other side of the planet.  Which, nobody mentions, is located about 5 minutes from Syria, Iraq, Iran & a whole rubble’a trouble.

So, the all-player Olympics will end with this 4th tournament.
So far it’s:  Sweden 1, Canada 1, Czechs 1.
So, rightfully and fairly, it’s Russia’s turn.  But . . .

It’s a Clean Slate

People always compare one Olympics to another, as though they’re games in a continuing series. They’re 4 years apart.
What happened before has nothing to do with what will happen this time.
That’s the first thing to internalize.
It’s a clean slate.

Make Hockey Not War

I see hockey as more art than war.   I don’t view anyone in this tourney as the enemy, but rather amazingly skilled players joining the all-star jam.  I know competition is required for the artform to be created, but when it’s players this good I couldn’t care less what color their jersey is.

This Olympic Chapter

With the Russian’s so dominant right now, it makes for such a great story to have the underdog country win Gold at home.  Plus, Russia’s gonna SO win it next Olympics at home.

This is the classic match-up where the team with the will, passion, desire and need will be the one that triumphs.  It’s the Moose Jaw Davids against the Moscow Goliaths.

These Olympics will surpass any single assemblage of hockey players in history.  There’s never been anything with this many Masters in their prime in the modern uber-skill era.  And it’s SO set up for this great underdog home team victory story!   ’72 in the 21st Century.  And to top off the weirdness and drama  …

Historic Hockey  — these four teams’ one-time-only combinations — and for the last time from the NHL — 88 of the greatest hockey players alive are on those Final Four teams — this will be an all-star jam for the ages!

Do not Self-inflict Blindness by Oneteamism — it doesn’t matter where you’re from — do not miss watching and appreciating all the other Top Teams.  Every one of them is jaw-droppingly great.

And watch for  —  a direct correlation between the total number of team penalty minutes and the final standings.  The Gold Medal team will have gone 6-0 for the tournament, and will have the lowest number of penalty minutes;  the 4th place team will have the most PMs, and so on.

The Gold Medal will be Decided over Lunch

The biggest game in every one of these players’ lives — the game that determines Hockey Supremacy for the next 4 and likely more years — The Gold Medal Game — is being played at puckin lunchtime, High Noon local time — seven hours off all the players’ cycle and schedule. It’s because the Closing Ceremonies are scheduled for dinnertime that night, and this is the climactic Medal of the Tournament — but still. This factor, more than any other, affects the game. It’s like a football game in snow: Who responds to the adverse conditions better?

But the good, weird & wild thing isevery period will be different. In these “morning” games, the team that’s alert and awake in the first period is often not the team that’s “on” in the third.

Overview of 2010 Teams

Although the tournament groups are divided differently, there are essentially four groups of three countries each.

There’s the “Thanks for coming” countries —

There’s the “Could pull off an upset” countries —

There’s the “Could Medal with a hot goalie” countries —

and then there’s “The Three Giants”


Either Canada or Russia will win Gold, that’s for sure.  If another team makes it to the final, they won’t beat the team in red.

The two semi-final games on Friday (Feb 26th) may very well decide which red team it is.  The best thing for Canada will be if Russia plays Sweden, and Sweden wins.  Only one of the semi-final teams gets a “bye” and doesn’t have to play a fellow Top-3 Team.

And the way who-faces-who happens is  —>

The “3-Point System” to Determine Standings

This is KEY to Canada winning Gold.  They MUST finish First and not be in the 2-vs-3 semi-final game. Not only because risking elimination, but the team that wins that game will be bagged for the final.

The U.S. also needs to finish in the top 4 (or above), or 5th at worst, to get to play the 4th place team and upset them.  If the U.S. finishes worse than 5th in the Preliminary, they’ll likely be eliminated in the the first quarterfinal game against any of the Big Three.

The 3-game “Preliminary Round” — which determines the rankings for the rest of the tournament — will use the 3 point system — much debated since the NHL’s implementation of the shoot-out and elimination of ties.

3 points – for winning the game in 60 min.
2 points – for winning in OT or a Shoot-Out
1 point – for being tied at end of regulation, but losing later
0 points – for losing in regulation
. . . (seems fairly fair n logical to me.)


ALL overtime is played 4-on-4.
Preliminary round — 5 minutes of OT, then shoot-out (3 players, then tie breakers)
All following games, including Bronze Medal — 10 minutes, then shoot-out
Gold Medal game — 20 minutes OT, then shoot-out

Shoot-out Panic Reduction:

Do note: No Olympic men’s hockey game has gone to a shoot-out since Gretzky didn’t skate against Hasek in 1998. And before that, there’d only been 3 all-time. They’re pretty rare. And there’s no way the Gold Medal game will feature two teams who both can’t score a single goal in 20 min. of 4-on-4.

The TV Broadcasts

In Canada: Great News: CTV / TSN have teamed up with Rogers Sportsnet to use all of their collective networks to broadcast the Olympics — meaning all hockey games will be broadcast live and uninterrupted.  You can check the specific TV listings here.
Additional Major Bonus: Don Cherry’s voice will not be heard anywhere — and the Real Hockey Anthem will be played everywhere!
Play-by-play — Chris Cuthbert, Gord Miller and Peter Loubardias (some guy from Saskatoon who calls the Flames games on Sportsnet).

And we’re gonna be blessed with Buddha Bob McKenzie — the Howie Meeker of our time.
And now . . . let us bow and pray . . . “Lord, may Pierre McGuire takes his meds on time, lays off the coffee, and have his mike turned down.”  Sadly, Ray Ferraro is the very weak link in the color dept.

In the U.S.:  NBC will do their masterful job again, utilizing USA Network, MSNBC and CNBC so all major games are covered uninterrupted. Make sure you know where those networks are on your cable — and that you have them — or you’re going to miss a lot of it.  NBC has an excellent website with TV listings searchable by day and / or by sport.
More Good News Dept.: The Master, Doc Emrick, is doing the play-by-play for the U.S. games.  And Jeremy Roenick will be on hand — hopefully some color in the Doctor’s office.  But it may be his now-regular sidekick Eddie Olczyk, who’s pretty insightful.  Played 16 seasons for a lot of major teams, and was Crosby’s first coach in the NHL.

Great news — all games are televised live in both countries.

Here’s the Preliminary Round schedule with times and networks:
(All times Eastern — and all games are the same time every day:
3PM, 7:30PM, and midnight.)

Tuesday Feb 16th

USA vs Switzerland — 3PM — TSN / USA
Canada vs Norway — 7:30PM — CTV / CNBC
Russia vs Latvia — midnight — CTV / CNBC

Wednesday Feb 17th

Finland vs Belarus — 3PM — TSN / MSNBC
Sweden vs Germany — 7:30PM — TSN / CNBC
Czechs vs Slovakia — midnight — SNET / CNBC

Thursday Feb 18th

USA vs Norway — 3PM — SNET / USA
Canada vs Switzerland — 7:30PM — CTV / CNBC
Russia vs Slovakia — midnight — TSN / CNBC

Friday Feb 19th

Sweden vs Belarus — 3PM — SNET / MSNBC
Czechs vs Latvia — 7:30PM — SNET / CNBC
Finland vs Germany — midnight — CTV / MSNBC

Saturday Feb 20th

Switzerland vs Norway — 3PM — SNET / MSNBC
Slovakia vs Latvia  — 7:30PM — SNET / MSNBC
Germany vs Belarus — midnight — TSN / MSNBC

Sunday Feb 21st — The Big Day

Russia vs Czechs — 3PM — TSN / NBC
Canada vs USA — 7:40PM — CTV / MSNBC
Sweden vs Finland — midnight — CTV / MSNBC

The Midnight Games

For those in the Central or Eastern who can experience hockey at the witching hour, The Midnight Games are going to be as good or better than the Canada games.  The first night it’s the Russians playing the Unified Latvians.  Could be even more of a skills display than Canada–Norway.  The second night it’s the Russians vs. the Slovaks, which are an amazing team with Gaborick, the Hossas, and Chara, for starters.  And THEN on the Final Sunday — it’s the Finns vs the Swedes — 2 of the Top 4 teams will decide who gets the bye and who has to play an extra elimination match.  The Midnight Games are going to be some of the best hockey of the Preliminary Round.

The Crazy-But-True Dept.:

If you want to see NHL participation in the next Olympics, you better hope it’s a Canada vs USA Gold Medal game, and that the U.S. wins.
Failing that, this’ll be the last NHL Olympics until at least 2018 — the location of which won’t even be announced until 2011.  There will have been 4 all-player Olympics. The next possible one will come when you’re nearly a decade older.

The Russians

It’s going to be such a Gift to watch this team play.  Their offensive unit is probably the best ever assembled in the history of the sport.
It’s funny how some think that because they have players from the KHL that they’re not as good as NHLrs. Them folks gettin’ a big surprise comin!
The question is:  Can Canada beat them in one game?  at home?  a la Miracle on Ice? What is in the script?
If it was a 7 game series, the Russians may well take it in 5. But Canada can beat them once, when they have to. As long as they’ve got the goaltending. And they’re gonna have to score 4 or more goals — cuz there’s no way the Russians aren’t scoring 3 or more every game.  These ain’t gonna be no 2–1 games.

No matter which team wins, we’re going to have been witness to an historic and lifelong memorable display of the best hockey ever played.

Rule Changes

There’s a great page that lists all the IIHF rule changes vs. the NHL

I read the whole thing of course, and there’s a few small differences …
automatic icing  — thank gawd!  Whose career-ending injury is it gonna take for the NHL to adopt this?
— no trapezoid, so the goalie can play the puck anywhere
— intermission is 15 min., not 17 min. like NHL
— visors required for everyone born after ’74

But there’s some major ones, too —
Checks to the head, and
Checks from behind.

In the Olympics:
— Fighting means 5 min. major, plus ejection from game
— Check to the Head (aka a Pronger elbow), or a Check from Behind:
The IIHF officially and clearly states: “There’s no such thing as a clean hit to the head.” So it’s always a penalty.
if it’s not serious — 2 min penalty, plus 10 min. misconduct
if it’s at all serious — 5 min major, and ejection from game
Plus potential additional Match Penalty (player out for the next came as well, without substitution). This is my Pronger (and Mike Richards) concern, and why I’m glad Phaneuf’s not on the team.

Breakdown of Olympians by NHL team:


Anaheim (9) — Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf & Corey Perry on Canada; Teemu Selanne & Saku Koivu for Finland; Bobby Ryan & Ryan Whitney for USA;  Luca Sbisa & Jonas Hiller (goalie) for Switzerland.

Detroit (8) — Lidstrom, Kronwall, Zetterberg & Franzen on Sweden; Pavel Datsyuk (Russia); Filppula (Finland); Brian Rafalski (USA);  Ole-Kristen Tollefen (Norway), not to mention Team Canada’s GM Yzerman, asst. GM Holland, Coach Babcock, and former employee and friend Scotty Bowman as unofficial consultant.

San Jose (8) — Heatley–Thornton–Marleau, & Dan Boyle for Canada;  Evgeni Nabokov (goalie Russia); Joe Pavelski (USA); Douglas Murray (Sweden); Thomas Griess (goalie Germany)

Vancouver (7) — the Sedin twins on Sweden; Roberto Luongo (goalie Canada); Ryan Kesler (USA);  Sami Salo (Finland); Pavol Demitra (Slovaks); Christian Ehroff (goalie Germany)

Chicago (6) — Keith, Seabrook & Toews on Canada; Patrick Kane (USA); Marian Hossa & Tomas Kopecky (Slovaks)

Boston (6) — Patrice Bergeron (Canada, & Crosby linemate);  Tim Thomas (35 yr old goalie USA);   Zdeno Chara (Slovakia); Marco Sturm (Germany); David Krejci (Czech); Miro Satan (Slovakia)

Columbus (6) — Rick Nash, and asst. coach Ken Hitchcock for Canada; Sami Pahlsson & Fredrik Modin (Sweden); Fedor Tyutin (Russia); Jan Hejda (Czech); Milan Jurcina (Slovakia)

Nashville (6) — Shea Weber (Canada); Martin Erat (Czechs); Ryan Suter (USA); Patric Hornqvist (Sweden); Marcel Goc, & Alex Sulzer (Germany)

Pittsburgh (5) — Crosby & Fleury; Malkin & Gonchar (Russia); Brooks Orpik (USA)

Washington (5) — Ovechkin, Semin & Varlamov on Russia; Nicklas Backstrom (center, Sweden); Tomas Fleischmann (Czech)

NY Rangers (5) — King Henrik Lundqvist (goalie Sweden); Marian Gaborick (Slovakia); Chris Drury & Ryan Callahan (USA, plus asst. coach John Tortorella); Olli Jokinen (Finland)

Minnesota (5) — Martin Havlet & Marek Zidlicky (Czechs); Niklas Backstrom (goalie Finland), Mikko Koivu & Antti Miettinen (Finland)

Atlanta (5) — Maxim Afinogenov (Russia); Johnny Oduya & Tobias Enstrom (Sweden); Pavel Kubina & Ondrej Pavelec (Czechs);  plus Don Waddell, asst. GM of USA

Los Angeles (5) — Quick Draw McGraw, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid — aka Jonathan Quick, Jack Johnson & Dust’m Brown, for the Hollywood Westerns; Drew Doughty (the 20 yr old d-man for Canada);  Michal Handzus (Slovakia)

Montreal (5) — Andrei Markov (Russia);  Jaroslav Halak (goalie Slovakia);  Tomas Plekanec (Czech);  Sergei Kostitsyn (Belarus);  Yannick Weber (Swiss)

Ottawa (5) — Daniel Alfredsson (Sweden); Anton Volchenkov (Russia); Milan Michalek & Filip Kuba (Czech); Jarkko Ruutu (Finland)

Buffalo (5) — Ryan Miller (goalie USA); Henrik Tallinder (Sweden); Toni Lydman (Finland); Jochen Hecht (Germany); Andrej Sekera (Slovakia); plus Lindy Ruff, asst. coach for Canada

New Jersey (5) — Zach Parise & Captain Langenbrunner for USA; Marty Brodeur (goalie Canada, plus Jacques Lemaire as asst. coach);  Ilya Kovalchuk (Russia); Patrik Elias (Czechs)

Tampa Bay (4) — Ryan “Bugsy” Malone (USA); Antero Niittymaki (goalie Finland, MVP ’06 Olympics); Andrej Meszaros (Slovakia); Mattias Ohlund (Sweden)

Carolina (4) — Eric Staal (Canada); Tim Gleason (USA); Joni Pitkanen & Tuomo Ruutu (Finland)

Dallas (4) — Brenden Morrow; Loui Eriksson (Sweden); Jere Lehtinen (Finland); Karlis Skrastins (Latvia)

Philadelphia (4) — Mike Richards & Chris Pronger for Canada; Kimmo Timonen (Finland); Oskars Bartulis (Latvia)

Calgary  (3) — Iginla (Canada); Kipper & Niklas Hagman for Finland

St. Louis  (3) — David Backes & Erik Johnson on USA; Roman Polak (Czech); plus Doug Armstrong, asst. GM of Canada

Phoenix Coyotes  (3) — Ilya Bryzgalov (goalie Russia); Michalek (Czech); Sami Lepisto (Finland)

Colorado  (3) — Paul Statsny (USA); Peter Budaj (goalie Slovakia); Rusian Salei (Belarus)

Toronto (3) — Phil Kessel (USA — not to mention them being “America’s team” with GM Burke, and Coach Wilson); Tomas Kaberle (Czechs); the Monster (goalie Sweden)

Florida (2) — Tomas Vokoun (goalie Czechs); Dennis Seidenberg (Germany)

Edmonton (2) — Denis Grebeshkov (Russia); Lubomir Visnovsky (Slovakia); plus Kevin Lowe, asst. GM of Canada

NY Islanders (1) — Mark Streit (Swiss); plus Scott Gordon, asst. coach of USA

Current (2009) IIHF Ranking of the Top 12 Nations

[by:  ranking — nation — intl points won — position change since 2008]
1 — Russia — 3200 — +1
2 — Canada — 3160 — -1
3 — Sweden — 3095 — 0
4 — Finland — 3050 — 0 . . . (Note: 150 total points separate the Top 4 — then a 135 point drop to the next level)

5 — USA — 2915 — +1
6 — Czech Republic — 2915 — -1
7 — Switzerland — 2725 — 0
8 — Belarus — 2660 — +1
9 — Slovakia — 2635 — -1
10 — Latvia — 2610 — +1
11 — Norway — 2545 — +1
12 — Germany — 2460 — -2

The Different Leagues in these Olympics

Only about half the players in these Olympics come from the NHL.
Here’s a breakdown of the number of Olympians from each league:

142 NHL — — (equals 16% of the 860 active players in the league get to go play, and 84% get an amazing 2-week holiday in the middle of the season!  No wonder the NHLPA loves it!)
60 KHL


For complete rosters of the top 7 Olympic teams — go here.

For a great story about the torch run through Canada — go here.


by Brian Hassett  at

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Will Hodgson // Jan 6, 2010 at 2:51 PM


    You are a world class hockeyhead!

    Ranger Will

  • 2 Rob Salmon // Jan 7, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Great work!
    Thanks so much for dong this. You can bet I will share with my hockey peeps including my Hockey in Harlem class!

    Interesting points about this being the last of the NHL olympics and the challenge of getting interest and viewers when the games are held in Russia.

    I’m setting up an Olympic party here so we can do N.Y./T.O. coverage!!
    Thanks again for doing this!

    peace, love n pucks, brutha!

  • 3 Nikki Hayes // Jan 8, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    This is great! Here we go. Hugh asked me if you wanted to do a report on Liquid Lunch? We should start up Brian Reports like the election.
    Let me know.

  • 4 Reggie Cummings // Jan 10, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Holy shit! This is unbelievable!!! Thank you so much!!!

  • 5 Benj Kleiman // Jan 11, 2010 at 11:36 PM

    All overtime is played 4 on 4 !

    That alone is worth the price of admission. 🙂

    Potential Barnburner.

    The countdown begins.

  • 6 Jeff Cantin // Jan 15, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    This is outstanding! Are you kidding me???? Bookmarked.

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