Sunday, February 16, 2014

Oshie Can You See!

Watching hockey as an expatriate in a country where the game isn't on the public's radar can often be a challenge, especially during the Olympics. Here in South Korea the television stations tend to broadcast only the events in which South Korean athletes participate, and often only the parts of the events in which South Koreans are actually doing something until the powers that be determine that different events featuring different countries are important enough to dedicate airtime. This means we get a lot of speed skating and figure skating until the medal rounds come along. I'm not really complaining because these things tend to happen during the Olympics in America as well, and watching Kim Yuna do her thing is never boring. However, it can be aggravating when all three of the sports stations are showing endless highlights of South Korean athlete X sprinting around in short-track speed skating while the rest of the world is watching the best hockey game to come down the pike since the United States met Canada in Vancouver, and you are unable to get to a computer or one of the ten expatriate bars in this country that have managed to MacGyver together a live feed.

For me this meant following the game as scrolling text on my phone with the ESPN Gamecast until the delayed version of the game was eventually shown on television late last night. This was about as fun as playing Oregon Trail in the 80's. Thankfully Jonathan Quick didn't die of dysentery, and the team didn't starve because Dan Bylsma failed to shoot enough squirrels. On to the thoughts...

1. I've watched the GIF of Jonathan Quick going beer league on his own net about 1000 times and I can't really see the kind of intention that everyone is crying conspiracy is seeing. From one perspective it looks like Quick is hammering the post with his leg, because he is. It also looks like Quick tries to push off the post with his glove, because he does. However, what I also keep seeing over and over again is a flailing goalie sliding over trying to cover the post, ramming into the post after losing his stick, then trying to push off the post in order to get out of his net. Goalies hammer their own nets. It's a thing they do. Unless a goalie is playing in a league that uses shallow spikes that are inserted into the bottom of the posts to hold the net in place (raising my hand), or heaven forbid the league doesn't have spikes and the keeper has to spray water from his water bottle on the bottoms of the posts in hopes of freezing the net to the ice (raising my hand again), they are going to jump on those things in times of trouble like a jungle gym because they are held in place very securely by rubber or plastic pegs. The Russians lost in round eight of the shootout after failing to score during the remainder of regulation and overtime. They had opportunities. Rather than pointing at a situation which was reviewed upstairs by a crew of officials and covered by IIHF rules as the cause of their demise, how about they instead try and figure out how a crew of defensemen barely old enough to shave mostly put the clamps on what might be the world's best power play. Remember what I said in my last blog about the Russians coming apart under immense pressure? Um, yeah.

2. Sergei Bobrovsky is one of my favorite goalies but when the book on this tournament is written it should include a chapter entitled "Airing Out the Unmentionables. The Ventilation of Sergei's Five Hole".

3. Chincy Hollywood Reporter moment! Ahem.

Until now T.J. Oshie was more or less a guy on the Blues who pitched in and worked hard. But after he pulled a Buster Bluth on the bench after missing his first shootout attempt he'll need to try even harder to stay invisible from the ladies! Get it?! They like him now because he scored all the goals in the shootout thingy!

Okay I'm done.

4. Next up for Team USA is Slovenia which managed a shocking upset of Slovakia, a team which doesn't really seem to care anymore. The game is probably happening right now which means you shouldn't be reading this because I'm so late in posting it (I live on the other side of the world, and Koreans stay up really late on the weekends, damnit!) The Slovenians feature An┼że Kopitar, who I still think is a werewolf, and are sporting sweaters that sort of, kind of have Vancouver Canucks colors. That's enough to motivate me to cheer for their public humiliation. Ryan Miller makes his return to international ice because it is important to keep him involved since Jonathan Quick is probably wanted by the Russian authorities.

Until next time.