Day off from the tournament today, so it seems like a good time to apply our semi-regular status update.
The Dizzying Highs
Phil Kessel – I haven’t watched every Olympic game, so I could be ignoring some others, but what I have seen there doesn’t seem to be a more dynamic offensive player than Kessel at this tournament. I’m one of those who turned around on Kessel. I used to laugh at him like everyone else and thought he was basically playing the game as a billionaire would if he were able to buy himself into a game, completely on his own planet. But last year and especially this one, Kessel has been mindlessly entertaining to watch. Lambert’s right, how is he getting no Hart discussion whatsoever? We’re so busy trying to point out the statistical morass that the Leafs are that I think Kessel gets washed away in the current. He shouldn’t.
Erik Karlsson – Again, from only the admittedly smaller sample size I’ve seen, but Karlsson appears to be driving a banged-up Swedish team himself and now that they’re on the opposite side of the draw from the US and Canada they “should” be playing for gold, you’d think. While he is never going to be Scott Niedermayer in his own end, Karlsson is one of the more dominating offensive defensemen in how long? He can control a game in one half of the ice, and there are only a handful of players who can say that no matter what and where they play.
Patrick Kane’s pass to Pavelski – I want to buy it roses and a swanky Italian dinner.
The Terrifying Lows
Slovakia – Woof. Thanks for making sure Hossa will get a full week off before returning to Hawks action.
Czech Republic – Other than than a brief seizure against Sweden, they’ve been the utter bore I thought they’d be, but with only a struggled-to win against Latvia to show for it. Lucky to draw their even more helpless neighbors for the right to get thwacked by the Yanks.
The Creamy Middles
Teemu Selanne – Maybe he should go higher for telling Crosby to stop diving?
Jonathan Toews – Just like last time, seems one of the few to be embracing the enormous pressure Canada is under early on before everyone else settles down.