Saturday, February 11, 2006

2006 Turin Winter Olympics
Women's hockey: Canada v. Italy

Well, in all of the Olympic heads' infinite wisdom, they've decided to ice Italian teams in both men's and women's hockey this time around. While I can certainly understand the desire to have the home team well represented, there has to be a limit to the insanity.

Take this afternoon's game in women's hockey, where 22 minutes in, it's currently 7-0 for Team Canada. At that pace, the game will end in a 20-0 rout.

The unfortunate thing about a competition like the Olympic Games is that goals for and against count in round robin play, so even when the score gets horribly lopsided, the dominating team can't 'let up.' I'm not sure exactly what having a women's hockey team represented by a country that has scantly more than 200 females playing the game is supposed to do for Italy's morale.

And, this, of course, is a prelude to Joe Sakic and Co. taking on the Italian men's side on Wednesday. I can't wait.

UPDATE A 16-0 win for the Canadian women. The fact is, in women's hockey, none of the games matter unless it's Canada v. USA. The talent gap is that large.

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7 Comments:

At 3:49 PM, February 11, 2006, Blogger Jeff J said...

The commentators have said the Canadians don't want to run up the score, but feel they have to because of the format. Goal differential will likely determine home ice advantage in the final.

Why don't they only count goal differential versus the other medal round teams?

 
At 5:21 PM, February 11, 2006, Blogger Josh said...

final shot total, 66-5. im not sure, but with 3 goals each, im sure either Caroline Ouellette and Hayley Wickenheiser outshot the italian team. Unfair, and totally demoralizing.

 
At 7:36 PM, February 11, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

What's really strange is that North America is full of female hockey players of Italian descent who could have given the Italian squad a boost and probably lifted them into medal contention-there's that much of a fall off after Canada/US and Canada has a ton of solid female players.

Someone elsewhere mentioned that the IIHF might have tighter rules on this-I've got no idea but it's a shame, although I suppose one might say that it would be just as bad to see an Italian team made up of women from Toronto.

 
At 7:37 PM, February 11, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

An interesting note from Rene Fasel via the IIHF website:

"You know, there are about 130,000 women players in the world. Some 65,000 are from Canada and 51,000 from the USA. The rest, only about 14,000, are from Europe. There are about 2,000 in Finland and Sweden, 800 in Switzerland, 400 in Italy. These women play for the love of the sport, for the passion. They leave their jobs to come here and play. It took Sweden's men 64 years to beat Canada at the Olympics [1920-1984], and I can promise you it won't take the women 64 years to win. Having said that, we must support the women's game, so don't be surprised about the results. It's 65,000 against 400,"

 
At 8:39 PM, February 11, 2006, Anonymous Jameso said...

mudcrutch-- apparently it was that they wanted to give Italian women a shot at playing, to try and increase the number of players with experience. Apparently their men's team has more North American players on it.
What these games will do for recruitment is hard to say, but the people I watched the game with here in the UK didn't exactly find it thrilling. This is the sort of thing that's best avoided to 'grow the game' I think.

 
At 12:30 PM, February 13, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

The Canadian women were pretty down on the powers that be, and rightly so. Italy is one thing, but when the Scandavians, Russians and the Czechs can't ice decent teams, then there really is something wrong. Women's hockey needs more than a slot in the Olympics: it needs developmental support in countries that are hockey powers to start with. It's not getting it - either money or support - and the results speak for themselves.

 
At 12:39 PM, February 13, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

But, what I can't wrap my head around, is what's the answer? I've spoken to female hockey players from Scandinavian countries before, and for the most part, it's a cultural thing.

Women just don't play 'contact' sports in the European countries considered hockey powers -- and I say that fully realizing women's hockey has no contact.

Even in Sweden, where there have been strides made, there are no women's clubs for young players to play in. In Canada, we've got a quasi-professional league for them.

 

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