Monday, February 24, 2014

Hockey gold and Klingon problems


In the final analysis, there were no nits to pick on the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team.  Even the perceived snub of reigning Norris Trophy winner PK Subban rings hollow in the wake of Canada's near-perfect execution in back-to-back shutout wins to clinch the gold medal at the Winter Games in Sochi.  There's nothing Subban could have added to a defensive corps that was airtight in its own end and consistently instrumental in the offensive zone.  Even if it was mostly through osmosis, Subban acquired invaluable experience in what it takes to win at the elite level, while his teammate and friend, Carey Price, at long last established his own elite credentials beyond any shadow of a doubt.  

Every memorable Canadian win at the international level has included significant contributions from the best players of their day: Phil Esposito in 1972, Bobby Orr in '76, Gretzky and Lemieux in '87 and Sidney Crosby in 2010 and 2014.  As with Vancouver four years ago, there were grumblings about Crosby being held off the score sheet going into the gold medal game, but when it mattered most, he delivered.  The great ones always do.

The American media was conveniently late to pick up on the figure skating hijinks in Sochi.  After barely paying lip service to the fishy circumstances that gave the US the gold medal over Canada in ice dancing, there was blanket American coverage of the suspect judging that put Russian teenager Adelina Sotnikova atop the podium ahead of defending Olympic champion Kim Yu-Na of South Korea.  Awfully decent of them to go to bat for Kim, but there's no journalistic credibility in cherry picking which scandals you cover.  Unfortunately for the American media, there's nothing they can do to manipulate the coverage in hockey, where the scoreboard doesn't lie.

Even the most casual observer can make the obvious link between Team USA defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk and William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series.  However, real Star Trek geeks identify with Shattenkirk because his first name reminds them of Starfleet officer Kevin Riley, who commandeered the Enterprise in Season 1, episode 7 ("The Naked Time") before trying to assassinate Kodos the Executioner in episode 13 ("The Conscience of the King"). 

lupDujHomwIj luteb gharghmey. (That's Klingon for "My hovercraft is full of eels", but you probably already knew that.)

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