Thursday, February 23, 2006

Gretzky takes blame for loss

How the hell is it his fault? Sorry, these are highly skilled professional athletes, the ones who deserve to be blamed are the ones who were on the ice playing like shit.

And the useless man behind the bench, so the only blame that Gretzky gets is hiring Quinn in the first place.


I can't get bent out of shape over the men's hockey loss. It's sport. It didn't escape my notice however, that some of the same people who whined over the dominance of the Canadian womens team (and how that undermined the legitimacy of women's hockey) are now bitter that the mens team didn't dominate in their division. Come again?

Had Canada won 7 of the last 8 Olympic meetings with the Russians/USSR, instead of the other way around, one might make a case for the blindly accepted mythology of "Canadian hockey supremacy". But they haven't, and the days when Canadians dominated the sport in terms of sending players to the NHL are long past.

So, what's my opinion on what went wrong? Well, first - the mythology that just wearing a maple leaf bestows hockey players with a supernatural force is unhelpful. The "nothing less than gold will do" attitude is not only psychologically burdensome for any athelete - it isn't supported by the historical record. Perhaps we should first win a few more of those glittery yellow trinkets before demanding "nothing less".

No Canada isn't the only country that plays hockey anymore nor can it expect to automatically win all its international games. This hasn't been the case for more than thirty years. That said, Canada still sends more players to the NHL then any other country, and has more youth playing the sport. From an objective standpoint Canada has the largest pool of players to pick from and had the best team at the Olympics. They lost because they played badly more than because the other teams played well. If they played their best and lost, fine, I wouldn't be happy, but I can accept that. They did not however. They played like shit and there is no excuse for that.