Monday, February 24, 2014

30 more hockey medals for the best and worst of Sochi

The 2014 Olympic hockey tournament is in the books. And after four years of anticipation, we wound up right back where we were in Vancouver in 2010: Canada wins gold in the men’s tournament, and Canada wins gold in the women’s tournament.

And that’s pretty much it. But should it be? After all, as we’ve already discussed, it seems unfair that every other sport seems to award dozens of medals while hockey gets just two events. For a sport that’s arguably the most popular in the Winter Olympics, it feels like we should have more hardware to hand out.

So let’s do that. As we bid good-bye to Sochi with one last look back at all the hockey action, let’s take the opportunity to hand out medals in 10 more Olympic hockey events.

The "Breakout Star of the Games" Event

Bronze: Mikael Granlund

Long considered one of the league’s top prospects, the 21-year-old’s talents have always been well-appreciated by Minnesota Wild fans. But Sochi may have served as his coming-out party as a top star leaguewide thanks to a strong performance that saw him named to the tournament all-star team.

Silver: Carey Price

Price has been a very good goalie over the course of his career, but he has always seemed to hover just outside of the “very best in the league” discussion. But after a dominating Games that ended with a 164-minute shutout streak, he may have finally ascended to that top tier. WHAAAT?

Gold: Phil Kessel

Sochi will be remembered as the moment that the world learned to love Phil Kessel. When he and his sister Amanda weren’t racking up points, he emerged as the most GIFable, memeable, Vineable, and just downright lovable athlete at the Olympics. It is Phil Kessel’s world now. The rest of us just live in it.

The "Most Ridiculously Contrived Script That Actually Happened" Event

Bronze: The T.J. Oshie Show

Sure, in the end it didn’t really matter, since neither team won a medal. And yes, we only got to see it because of a lucky no-goal call on a technicality. Still, Oshie’s solo effort in a shootout against Russia was great theater. Now let’s all agree to never say anything nice about the shootout ever again.

Silver: Teemu Selanne

The Olympics’ all-time leading scorer added two more goals in the final game of his Olympic career, helping Finland pound the U.S. to secure his fourth medal. Oh, and he got named tournament MVP at the age of 43. I’m assuming he didn’t also stop to perform CPR on a puppy because he’s saving that for his final NHL game in a few months.

Gold: The entire U.S.-Canada women’s final


>> Read the full post on Grantland

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