Switzerland used to be the team in the Olympic hockey tournament that would put in a good effort but come up short in the end.
At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, however, things have changed. In three games they’ve given up just one goal and scored twice. The Swiss came away with two wins in round-robin play and their 1-0 loss to Sweden was their lone blemish.
With Jonas Hiller and Reto Berra holding things down and the Swiss defense playing extra stingy, the players know they’re a team that can’t be looked past now. Nino Niederreiter and Mark Streit
Streit’s statement is a big one. In the past, the Swiss could feel proud of a well-played loss against powerful teams like Canada, Russia, or the United States. Now, the bar for success is that much higher and they’re gunning for a medal in hockey.
See highlights of Switzerland’s 1-0 win against the Czech Republic at NBCOlympics.com
The Swiss came away with a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships after losing to Sweden 5-1 in the gold medal game. To get there they beat the United States in the semifinals.
The improvement has been steady and if they keep playing smothering defense with outstanding goaltending, they can earn their first medal since the 1948 Olympics.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too:
It’s just three games … it’s just three games … it’s only three games.
That’s the thought that has to run through the heads of many people around the Pittsburgh Penguins, even if other organizations seem to believe they’re going “off the rails” in similar situations.
In falling to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, the Penguins at least managed a couple goals. One of them even had players grabbing assists.
Still, there’s no denying the headlines to many:
Zero standings points for the Penguins; zero goals and zero assists for Sidney Crosby.
There was some progress, mind you.
Crosby fired four SOG, up from a troubling zero in the first two games. He showed a little frustration with four penalty minutes, too.
The Penguins even reunited Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the power play.
It’s small potatoes for Penguins fans watching Max Pacioretty generate better offense than their entire team … but babysteps, right?