Ten free minutes for me, 10 free US-Canada throwaway lines for you …
1. No one around here requires a reminder of Patrice Bergeron‘s all-around greatness. But boy, did we get one Friday afternoon during Canada’s 1-0 victory over the United States in the Olympic semifinal hockey game. The best team won, and in no small part because Canada is not just stacked with goal-scoring savants, but versatile talents like the incomparable Bergeron, who shadowed the US’s top scorers into submission. The lesson: It’s way more fun to root for him than to watch him constantly wreak havoc as an opponent.
2. Bergeron was all over the place in the tense final moments, and a Bruins fan couldn’t help but wonder: Had he been anything close to healthy during the Cup Finals last June, perhaps Patrick Kane is as effective as, oh, he was today, and there’s one more black-and-gold banner hanging from the Garden rafters.
3. I know hockey traditionalists are supposed to be anti-shootout. But don’t tell me it wouldn’t have been crazy, suspenseful fun to see T.J. Oshie doing his meandering sniper routine against Price in this one, while Jonathan Quick had to deal with the likes of Sidney Crosby on the other end.
4. Strange watching ex-Bruins Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler playing on the same line Friday. Half-expected to see Dennis Wideman jump in on the play, only to turn the puck over and retreat hopelessly in the other direction.
5. Jamie Benn, who scored the only goal, was actually drafted by the Dallas Stars with a pick that once belonged the Bruins. Boston sent a fifth-round pick to Columbus for Adam McQuaid in the summer of 2007, a good trade by any measure. But it all didn’t work out so well for the Blue Jackets, who traded the pick (as well as two other fifth-rounders) to Dallas to move up in the ’07 draft and take Maksim Mayorov. Dallas used the former Boston pick on Benn, the 129th choice overall. Decent find.
6. Bobby Ryan had one goal during the Vancouver Olympics, and he’s a slightly less productive player now than he was then. I don’t think he would have made a difference.
— Strombone (@strombone1) February 21, 2014
7. Strombone is Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. Price is, of course, Team Canada goalie Carey Price. And I believe that’s what he meant by pumping another tires. You’d think he was Albert Pujols talking about Derek Jeter or something.
8. It’s entirely possible I don’t know what I’m talking about here — the story of my life, really — but am I wrong in thinking USA Hockey overvalues Brooks Orpik? He’s a fine player, smart and physical, but the way they talk about his defensive presence, you’d think he was the American-born version of Zdeno Chara.
9. So we root for Bergy, Coach Claude, and our Canadian conquerors to beat Sweden for the gold, right? Or are we a nation of Loui Eriksson fans come Saturday?
10. As for today’s Completely Random Hockey Card:
A flashback to more fulfilling hockey days: My favorite player from the Miracle on Ice, save for possibly Jim Craig. Yours?