Finland vs. Russia, at least on paper, seemed to be a good matchup. Although the Russian team hasn't had a long history of getting much support in their home country, they have always made a strong effort in each of their Olympic appearances. Finland is a sleeper team in this tournament and has made their case already by beating the United States last year in the World Championships. Since the Pens lost in a shootout to the Predators today, this is all I have to go on so here are some random thoughts during the game.
--Russia came out smoking hot, scoring the first goal of the game on a power play. After that, it was all Finland. I mean ALL Finland!!
--Finland dominated the faceoffs in this matchup, winning well over half. That helped them keep the puck in the Russian zone for most of the 2nd and 3rd periods.
--This no touch icing thing is great. It definitely speeds up the game. I know I have already discussed it in previous posts (at least I think I did) but the NHL should adopt this. Although, from a sponsorship standpoint, it cuts down on commercial breaks. Which brings me to the point of the horrible coverage by NBC again. It seems like anything on the non-Network station (ie. MSNBC, CNBC, UNIVERSAL, USA) they throw in a commercial a ridiculous times just for the hell of it. When they come back, the play has already started. FAIL!!
--The Russians are just big, slow, and lumbering. They aren't built for 3 periods of hockey.
--The announcers spend too much time tell stories and trying to distract people from the game. The spent over half the game talking about the men's tournament and how Ovechkin and Crosby are going to be so much "fun" to watch. Hey!! Guys!!! There is a game going on. Pay attention!
--I find it interesting that many of these women attend college here in the US at prominent hockey schools.
--This is definitely a more balanced game, despite the score. Better matched teams and more physical play. However, in the end, Finland outshot Russia 34-14.
--If Finland's goalie keeps playing like she did tonight, they are definitely going to be a contender for a medal.
Finland wins!! 5-1