It’s not often that I plan my evening around watching a hockey game. Blue moons reportedly happen just as often.

All it does is complicate life. I have to figure out things like, “What channel is MSNBC?” and also have to remind myself that each of the three hockey periods are 20 minutes long.

Then the game begins and I have to use Google to find out things about players I’ve never heard of before. Yeah, that was me Googling Brian Rafalski only to become disappointed to learn his career high for goals in an NHL season is just 13.

But all Sunday afternoon, I was anticipating that evening’s Winter Olympics hockey showdown between the United States and Canada and it was can’t miss TV in my world. It became the first televised hockey game I watched from start to finish since the Anaheim Ducks won the 2007 Stanley Cup over the Ottawa Senators.

I didn’t see Jean Sebastien-Giguere in goal – the name itself tells me he’s Canadian but there was Martin Brodeur guarding the net for Canada – but better than that, I didn’t have to watch 10 to 15 minutes of commercials every period. You have to love those commercial-free periods to go along with a crisp, well-played game. Glad I found you MSNBC.

The United States pulled out a tremendous 5-3 victory over the powerful Canadians behind two goals from the aforementioned Rafalski and splendid goaltending by Ryan Miller. Chris Drury – now there’s someone I’ve heard of – put the U.S. ahead for good late in the second period as the Americans advanced to the quarterfinals.

Think of all the pressure on Canada’s collection of stars with the Olympics being staged in Vancouver. Canadians go nuts over hockey the way I do over pepperoni pizza and you could almost sense a pall immediately gripping our neighbors to the north similar to the way I felt when the Round Table Pizza place in the neighborhood of my youth closed.

Canada now needs to win a play-in game on Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals, a highly disappointing predicament after Sidney Crosby and Company were tabbed as the goal-medal favorites prior to the start of competition.

The United States doesn’t have such lofty expectations placed on them after failing to earn a medal four years ago. But if Miller can tend goal in the same miraculous fashion he did Sunday night – he made 42 saves, including several big ones in the final period – who is to say the U.S. team can’t crash the medal stand?

I heard some pundits comparing the victory to the famous Miracle on Ice accomplishment in 1980. Settle down — the two wins aren’t even close in comparison. The Miracle on Ice team was a bunch of college kids that somehow upset the supposedly unbeatable Soviet Union on its way to winning the gold medal, while Sunday’s win over Canada came in pool play with the U.S. loaded with NHL stars.

That’s not saying it wasn’t an impressive win. It was a very remarkable victory but the triumph isn’t on the same level as 1980.

What this victory does do is whet the appetite of the casual American sports fan who tuned in just because it was the Olympics. You know, the type of person who has to search the television to find MSNBC or Googles Jamie Langenbrunner to see if he’s still on the New Jersey Devils (yeah, I remember his name from when the Devils beat the Ducks in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals).

Hockey will now be in the forefront of the American sports world for the rest of the Olympics and that’s not all bad. Just imagine some of the things you might learn.

Just two weeks ago, I learned what team superstar Alex Ovechkin plays on. Oh no, not his Olympic squad – I already knew he played for Russia. But now I know that the MVP of the NHL the last two seasons plays for the Washington Capitals.

Who knows what else I might learn before the Winter Olympics end? I can’t wait to tune it to the Americans’ next game so consider my plans as a warning to Google’s search engine to be well-rested.

And we all know that I eagerly anticipate watching a hockey game about as often as … well, a blue moon occurs.

  1. I found your blog on google and i like your blog . Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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