It's semi-final Friday at the Olympics for the Men's Hockey and we're in for a couple of awesome games. The Olympics Sheet Pool is also loving these match-ups, especially with some big goaltending already removed from the tournament.
Dale C. leads the way into the semi-finals today, but his lead is only one point over Chris S. and it's only two points over the Greenley boys, who have been big players in almost every pool this season. Let's see how the match-ups fare, maybe we'll get some insight as to how its all going to go down.
In the early game this afternoon, the USA will take on Finland in what looks to be a great match-up on paper. Ryan Miller is the big name in the game and who Dale C. is going to be counting on for the win and some more points. As the leader, he could use an American win to pad his lead from his competitors, all except for Stuart G., who also is carrying Miller into these semis. Stuart could have a jump in the standings if Miller was to blank the Finns this afternoon. Chris S. will be counting on Ryan Suter for some more heroics from the blueline, while Leon is rocking Ryan Kesler into this semi-final match-up.
Just as important as Miller is to the USA, Miikka Kiprusoff will have big importance to Finland and Leon's chances of making a move to the top of the table in the pool. If he can pull off a big win against the States, there will be a definite shift in how the standings will look, depending on how the scoring looks down the line. Dale C. is going to have Joni Pitkanen back in the line-up for the semis, Chris will have Jere Lehtinen representing him today and Stuart has Kimmo Timonen for him today. That should make for an interesting race.
In the second semi-final later tonight, the Slovaks will take on Canada for the right to play the winner of the USA/Finland game on Sunday. It's another good mix of players in this game as all four of our pool leaders are taking different players into this semi-final game. Chris will have the captain, Zdeno Chara lining up for him tonight, while Dale will have Michal Handzus, Stuart has Marcel Hossa and Leon has Lubomir Visnovsky. Handzus leads the pack with 4 points in this tourney, so he has to be considered the favourite for points among the group for sure.
Canada's pool implication looks a little bit different. Rick Nash is the favourite of Chris, Stu & Leon's going into this semi-final game and why not? He's picked up five points in this tournament so far, so its all gravy. Dale, on the other hand, decided to take Sidney Crosby for his Canadian player and Crosby has six points in the tournament, so he's not looking too bad either. If the Canadians score a lot against the Slovaks tonight, there could be a lot of points going to all the teams and it should be a good drag race to the finish.
I'm excited for it all to get going... are you?