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Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympic Hockey: Woe Canada

As our lovable neighbors to the True North try to recover from their great National Debacle, let's think about what the United States' victory over Canada can teach us:

1. Experience is overrated. Canada's defense is either in decline or inexperienced. Their best defensemen were their youngest.

2. Ignorance is bliss. Younger players may not be fully aware of many things, such as the consequences of their actions. This is true, both with typically stupid mistakes of youth and with not realizing how much not winning the gold will destroy the Canadian national psyche.

3. The gatekeeper matters, aka you have to pay the toll to the troll. If the opposing goalie is the best player on the ice, he can negate every other advantage you have. Canada badly outplayed the U.S. most of the game, but Ryan Miller made big saves and Martin Brodeur showed his age (38). Or did Marty just have a bad game at a bad time?

And a quick comment on the curling competition. The American women's team seems to have trouble executing, while the men's team seems to have a really curious, passive strategy. Using multiple rocks to hit out the opponent's rocks is fine, unless you trail in the last "end" and must score. Waiting until the last rock to try to win seems awfully risky and leaves zero margin for error. But plenty of people use this approach -- to their detriment -- all the time and it is not to their advantage. Why should curling be any different?

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