As much as I wish the NHL switched to European sized ice, thank God we still have North American style officiating. An automatic 10 minute misconduct just for knocking some guy in the head? And how soft did the refs call the Germany/Sweden game? Daniel Alfredsson draws a penalty by losing a shoving contest with a German. Lame.
FINLAND 5, BELARUS 1
The '06 Silver Medalists expectedly dominated Belarus, but compared to the other blowouts, this was one of the least impressive. But what does that matter? Only in goal differential (which is a tie-breaker). Finland went undefeated in the '06 Games until they met Sweden in the final, and their team is equally as "unimpressive" (in quotes, because it's relative compared to the other powerhouses in the tourney) as it was back then. Don't judge this team until they play Germany on Friday.
SWEDEN 2, GERMANY 0
Sweden won Gold in '06. Sweden is the #3 team. Germany was 10th in the '06 Olympics. Germany is ranked 12th in the world. As a German fan, I'm satisfied with a 2-0 loss. Especially since Sweden's first goal should have been waved off for a blatant goaltender's interference.
To be fair to the Swedes, they looked extremely rusty (except for Alfredsson). The number of offsides they had testified to this. They hardly ever put together the lengthy, pretty, passing plays they're capable of. This will probably be their worst performance of the tournament.
But look out for Germany. Finland, I'm talking to you. This team won't score much, but they can play defense. And it's not a boring, backfoot kind of defense like we saw from the Swiss, or from past German teams. It's a slightly more aggressive defense that could frustrate contending teams.
CZECH REPUBLIC 3, SLOVAKIA 1
Jaromir Jagr returned to North American ice with a goal and an assist, and Tomas Vokoun stopped 34 of 35 shots faced, propelling the Czechs to a victory in the first legitimately competetive matchup of the tournament. Marian Gaborik scored the lone Slovakian goal.
David Krejci was -1 for the Czechs, and Zdeno Chara registered 4 penalty minutes.
3pm on USA: USA vs. Norway
8pm on CNBC: Canada vs. Switzerland
12:30am on CNBC: Russia vs. Slovakia
Tough draw for the Slovakians, having to face the Czechs and Russians on back to back nights.