Home > Uncategorized > Sochi 2014: Games Within The (Olympic) Games

Sochi 2014: Games Within The (Olympic) Games

Jean Levac/Postmedia News Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby, left, caught an earful from Finland counterpart Teemu Selanne during their preliminary-round finale at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Sunday. The exchange of words occurred shortly after Crosby drew a penalty against Finland during first-period action. Selanne sought out Crosby before the ensuing face-off and gave him a piece of his mind, whispering a few 'sweet nothings' his way, to which Crosby took offence as he made his way to the Canadian bench. Ever wonder what those conversations sound like without the commentator's filter? Guest blogger Dan Nadeau has a pretty good inkling and is willing to share his interpretations, having played junior hockey in Canada and semi-pro in both the United States and Europe.

Jean Levac/Postmedia News
Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby, left, caught an earful from Finland counterpart Teemu Selanne during their preliminary-round finale at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Sunday. The exchange of words occurred shortly after Crosby drew a penalty against Finland during first-period action. Selanne sought out Crosby before the ensuing face-off and gave him a piece of his mind, whispering a few ‘sweet nothings’ his way, to which Crosby returned fire as he headed for the Canadian bench. Crosby got the last laugh, when Drew Doughty scored in overtime to give Canada a 2-1 win and first place in Group B. As fans, we are often curious what those conversations sound like without the commentator’s filter. Guest blogger Dan Nadeau has a pretty good inkling and is willing to share his interpretations, having played junior hockey in Canada and semi-pro in both the United States and Europe.

We always talk about these little ‘games within the games’ that happen in sports. I was usually that motor-mouth on the bench, doing my best to throw the other team’s top players off any way possible. So when Larry posed this potential topic, I decided to try and tackle it. I am not a writer by profession, so my apologies in advance if this is a tough read, but I will get better!

Dan Nadeau
Dan Nadeau

I guess the most mentioned game within this Olympic tournament is how the North American teams will handle the larger ice surface.

As someone who has played both overseas and in North America, I can say that this was a bit of an adjustment for me personally. I am nowhere near the skill of an NHL player heading there, and they should adapt, but how quickly?

I think the biggest adjustment for Team Canada and USA players won’t be on the offensive side of the game, but the defensive. With the high-end talent that the rest of the world can potentially bring against them wave after wave, how will the defensive systems North American coaches put in place deal with the extra time and space these players will have?

To me, those are the two most killer things to give any players.

Canada and the USA should be able to at least offensively put up some decent numbers in the goals department, as they will see the same time and space as the other big countries. However, I feel those European teams who have defencemen and coaches who are used to systematically shutting people down on this ice surface will get the edge there. Right?

Second on the agenda, the added pressure the Ruskies will be facing to duplicate once-in-a-lifetime gold like Canada accomplished four years ago. We, in Canada, know that we are the best at the sport — well, you better believe that same chip sits directly on the shoulder of the folks in Mother Russia. And if the Russian team puts a performance together like they had in Vancouver, we might just see Russia make the Vancouver riot of 2011 look like nothing more than a decent college frat party.

I have been watching the Russians’ interviews on TSN and other sports stations, and they look very business-like. It’s downright scary how focused Malkin, Datsyuk and Ovechkin are looking right now!

Lastly, and probably most importantly, I hope Mike Babcock made all the Canadian players delete Tinder off their mobile devices. For those unfamiliar with this App, it basically is a hook-up created by some genius somewhere in his mom’s basement that probably needs the help more than an NHL superstar. But with the ease of finding people on it, coupled with the smoke-show women that Russia and other European countries competing at the Games produce on a regular basis, I would say this might be the biggest distraction to most of the NHL guys.

There have already been reports of athletes from different sports saying they had to shut their Tinder down as it was blowing up with people wanting to meet. Outside of Phil Kessel, I bet this is the same for pretty much 90 per cent of the single guys playing hockey at the Olympics.

These are just some of the little things that are potentially happening off the ice.

We all know that the on-ice war of words always walks that fine line, but seriously, what is a guy from Norway gonna say to anyone on the Canadian team besides “can I get your autograph after the game?”

Dan Nadeau is a retired hockey player living the dream through coaching and beer leagues. Good at hockey, better at drinking beers! Follow him on Twitter: @dan_nadeau.

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