I'm going to be honest, I don't catch the fever of the Olympics as much as other people do. In general, I come to respect players and team styles so much my allegiances get absolutely discombobulated when they are on teams I'm not or not supposed to root for. I think the dilemma is clear in my case, as I like my New York Rangers...
...okay, okay, let me defend that quickly. I love hockey, first and foremost, and my liking of the Rangers is not so fierce so that I'd say ridiculous things like "Henrik Lundqvist is the best goalie in the NHL" or "My life began in 1994." To be honest, my Rangers fan-dom began with the decision to make Mike Richter their starting goalie. My parents and I were huge fans of Richter from his Badger days (parents are both alum; I bleed Badger cardinal*), and so the Rangers became my team. It became much easier after the Cup.
Now that I'm off the tangent, nowadays while I'm supposed to cheer the US team I can't help but root for Sweden because of Lundqvist. And then I see Tomas Holmstrom and decide I want them to lose. Badly.
Anyways, long story short I just watch hockey straight-up and can hardly decide whether I'm happy or unhappy with the results. A lot of times, I'll just try to catch highlights, because they're pretty.
This doesn't make me cold-hearted or unpatriotic (is not liking the Olympics unpatriotic?). I kind of liked it more when it was mostly amateurs; you had more unlikely heroes, prospects you might have never seen, and interesting goalie equipment (see cards above). To tell the truth, the biggest kick I receive out of the "professional" Olympics hockey today is identical to the kick I get out of the old ones: highlights and goalie equipment. For instance, the wonderful array of goalie masks these days:
Henrik Lundqvist - Sweden
Martin Brodeur - Canada
Ryan Miller - USA
Evgeni Nabokov - Russia
Tomas Vokoun - Czech Republic
Marc-Andre Fleury - Canada
Now this screws my allegiances completely, because Vokoun and Nabokov's masks would get me rooting for the Czechs and the Motherland.
So this is my post recognizing that I cannot avoid comment on the Olympics (because everybody else seems to be on-board for it), but also explaining my lack of animated banter and witticism. It's also my opportunity to put up a card of The Net Detective (didn't think I'd let the Jim Carey opportunity slip away, did you?), who like Mikey also played on the Badgers. In the end, I'm just so meh about the Olympics that I'm more inclined to leave it to a different, more enthusiastic member of the crew (here's looking at you, Weagz!) to take the reins.
In the meantime, I'll be cheering for everyone, Latvia and Norway included. On Girts, on Per-Age, on Martins, Morten, and Jakobsen!
P.S. Norway features one of the best names in hockey history, Tore Vikingstad. It's almost as good as Petr Pohl and would look awesome on a Norwegian national team jersey.
P.P.S. Sorry to any speakers of Latvian or Norwegian that I couldn't find proper accent marks. I know some of these are technically spelled wrong. Same to French and Russian speakers.
P.P.P.S. Happy Valentine's Day! That was also obligatory.
P.P.P.P.S. Found a picture of Vikingstad. Woof.
When brows unite.
*True story: my mother went to Skate with the Badgers, a promo event where you skate...well, you get the idea. Anyway, she got a picture with Mikey where she's pinching his cheek.