Colin Dunlap: Not A Typical Olympic Notebook
With the 2014 Winter Olympics (pretty much the Sochi Hockey Tournament) winding down in Russia, what better time to slap together a few thoughts on the Games?
That said, here goes with a few random musings, ponderings and pontifications from my couch as I watch all this cold-weather competition from afar …
+ After Russia lost, 3-1, to Finland on Wednesday and failed to even reach the point where they played for medal in these games held in their home country, many thought aloud about how the NHL players — particularly Evgeni Malkin for us Pittsburghers — will brush this aside and be able to function for the remainder of the NHL schedule.
That’s a fair contemplation.
But so too, at least for me, is this: I honestly fear for the safety of (soon to be former) Team Russia coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov. And I don’t say that with a hint of exaggeration or embellishment. We all understand the undemocratic behavior exhibited at times by Russian President Vladimir Putin. I wouldn’t discount anything happening to Bilyaletdinov in that country after this letdown.
If I’m him, I’d probably move — again, not an exaggeration.
+ Anyone else watch the snowboard cross? The sport where competitors simultaneously start at the top, wind down the course and it turns into demolition derby?
Anyone else think that this thing had to be thought up by a couple of bored snowboarders after they smoked a bunch of pot?
+ People are all wide-eyed and somehow seem surprised that Team USA shootout savior T.J. Oshie has a fiancée who is about a 17 on a 1-10 scale.
He’s pretty good looking.
He was a first-round pick.
He plays in the NHL.
He has a five-year, $20.8 million contract.
Do the math, people. When you have all those things, your ladyfriend usually looks like such.
+ So Team Canada forward John Tavares collided with a Latvian player in their game on Wednesday and injured his leg.
He’s out for the tournament.
Tavares, undeniably, is a heavy part of anything the New York Islanders want to do the remainder of the season and beyond.
He will also be the face for the whole, “SEE! I TOLD YA! GUYS SHOULDN’T PLAY IN THE OLYMPICS THEY CAN GET HURT” movement.
Save it. Seriously, save it.
Guys can get hurt at anytime. It isn’t like someone made Tavares play, either — he wanted to. He could have stayed home. Anyone could have. They know the risks.
+ I absolutely love that Johnny Weir wears what he wants, expresses who he is and isn’t afraid to be his out, open self. And I also absolutely love that he’s doing all this right there under that ugly cloud of Putin — a man who has to loathe it.
+ Neat story about Lauryn Williams being part of a silver medal winning tandem in the bobsled. The Rochester, Pa. native and track star just missed becoming the first woman — and only second athlete ever — to win a gold in the Summer and Winter Games.
It can also be looked at this way …
Williams is unquestionably a fabulous athlete. But, isn’t it a bit of an indictment on the other athletes in the sport — and maybe the bobsled itself — that someone who was never in a bobsled until last year can win silver at the Olympics?
+ Don’t care how many people try to explain it away, or how they do it. Asking Bode Miller that many questions about his dead brother was a self-serving, idiotic and senseless thing to do for the purpose of catching someone up in emotions to get them to cry on television. It was really lowbrow.
+ I have followed the saga of Bob Costas’ eye probably closer than 75 percent of the sports being contested. Especially those X-Games type sports and that sport where you cross country ski and then shoot a rifle.
+ Apparently many of the fine people who reside in Canada are down on Sidney Crosby because he hasn’t scored a goal and has but two assists in four games as Team Canada is set to clash with Team USA in the semifinals on Friday.
Know this, and know it definitively: All it will take is one big goal, or a masterful play from Sid against Team USA (in a win) or the same thing in the gold medal game and no one will remember what he did in the first four games. No one.
+ Real question to ponder, as I thought about it driving home the other night and could not settle on an answer: Do you think the Team USA women’s ice hockey squad could beat whatever team is the PIHL champion?
Honestly, true question.
And let’s say the game is played with no checking. Who would win? I couldn’t arrive at an answer.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weeknights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.