Thursday, February 25, 2010

Olympic updates and European Jerseys

I have heard from a few people that they wish last night's Canada/ Russia game would have been closer, and were disappointed in the blowout. I could not disagree more, I was simply estatic with the whitewash of the Russians. In my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined such an outcome and then I was surprised again later in the evening with the Slovakia victory over Sweden. Slovakia cannot be underestimated, but the results could not have been better overall for Canada. As well, Finland may very well beat the Americans. Myself, I have not been blown away by the U.S. so far. The near upset by the Swiss in the quarterfinals leaves me to think they are ripe for the picking by the Finns.

I was at the surprisingly entertaining Belarus/ Switzerland Qualification game on Tuesday which the Swiss won in a shootout. I have been very impressed with attendance as even the noon games between less popular teams have been pretty close to sold out. Overall now I have seen the Swiss play three of their four games as well as Finland/ Germany this past weekend. Therefore I have seen in person three of the four finalists, the Finns having fairly easily beaten the Germans 5-0 including 4 via the powerplay. I say the final four is fairly wide open still, but if Canada comes out of the gate like they did agianst Russia there is not a team in the world that can beat them.

One of my favourite things about attending Olympic hockey is coming across foreign fans sporting team sweaters from various European Leagues. I've been stopping them and asking to take a photo of their great uniforms. Every person I asked was more than happy to pose for a shot.

Magnitogorsk Metallurg, Evgeni Malkin jersey. Actually a nice looking jersey for a European team which is usually bogged down with advertisment logos. I love the Russian lettering for the name.
Omsk Avangard, Jaromir Jagr. Again, it would seem the KHL has alot less logo-ing than Scandinavian or German teams.
Lukko Rauma, Finnish League. This one I actually didn't get a clear shot of the front of the jersey yet I have figured it out to a team called Lukka Rauma from Finland. I have heard of most of the club teams in Europe, but this one was new to me. Apparently they have been around since 1936, but last won the league title in 1963...sort of a Finnish version of my Maple Leafs. The five players they have retired in their history are by and large unknowns even to the likes of myself. Have you ever heard of Teppo Rastio, Jouni Peltonen, Matti Keinonen, Jorma Vehmanen or Matti Forss?

Berlin Polar Bears, T.J. (Travis) Mulock. This guy was my favourite, he was very happy to pose as long as he didn't spill his two beers. A man after my own heart. Here we see more of a presence of ad logos on a still, fairly cool looking jersey. When I asked him to turn around he said "Local guy, local guy." I thought he meant Mulock was a neighbour of his from Berlin. Upon checking I find out that he is from Langley, B.C. and played for the local Vancouver Giants and Surrey Eagles. Plus he is actually a member of the German Olympic team. He played over 14 minutes against the Finns in the game I saw and slightly less than that against Canada in the Quarterfinal.
This guy had two other pals with him, also in their Berlin Polar Bears jerseys. As they walked away I saw one had across the back "FELSKI". An actual Sven Felski jersey! I should have offered to trade him for my vintage Team Canada jersey. Alas, I was so excited by the sight of Felski that I didn't even have the presence of mind to get a pic. Oh well, I'll have to hope I bump into him around town this weekend.

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