Friday, February 24, 2006


My two cents on the Olympics

The Olympics wrap up this weekend. I have watched less than 6 hours of coverage. I doubt I'll see much more. However, me being me, I want to add my two cents on a couple of things.

First, when the Canadian Olympic team was announced, a number of my coworkers and I grumped long and loud about the number of "oldsters" playing on the team. I felt that guys like Sidney Crosby, Jason Spezza and Eric Staal had more than earned their way onto the main squad. I couldn't understand why guys like Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Doan and other older players got the nods. I also was somewhat upset that Paul Kariya, a guy who ALWAYS has stepped up his game on the world stage, was left off. However, my brother and brother-in-law both made sound arguments to me supporting the selections, so I figured I'd wait and see.

Looks like I was right. But I blame Pat Quinn, who has outlived his usefulness as a coach (for now). This was a horribly unmotivated team that underperformed across the board and, after a hot start against creampuffs, packed up and went home once they faced some real competition. Sound like the Leafs? Everybody praised Quinn after the 2002 Olympic Gold but let's be real here. I could've coached that group to the gold. Putting the same guys out 4 years later (and 4 years older and slower) will not win a medal. Quinn cannot teach or motivate young guys (nor does he know how to incorporate them into the lineup), because he prefers to deal with a group of seasoned, ultra-talented vets who know how to go out and win, because they've done it over and over again. I hope that, in 2010, Gretzky puts a young team out there, supported by key veterans (a list that will include the young guns of this season) and a coach that has fire, skill and the ability to relate to and motivate a diverse group of players.

Oh, and the over-under on Quinn's ouster from T.O. is about 1 month.

Secondly, and more important, I fear that the lousy men's hockey result will lead to a "we sucked in Turin" backlash. Nothing is further than the truth. I am proud of this team and their (so far) 19 medals. Cindy Klassen has been awesome, the women's hockey team proved themselves yet again, there have been some surprises (cross-country skier Chandra Crawford) and, on the whole, Canadians should be VERY satisfied with the results.

Go Canada!!!!!!!!!