Fresh off a surprise victory against Canada, Team USA will face Switzerland in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Olympics at noon Pacific today.
Unfortunately for West Coast viewers, the game will be tape delayed until 3 PM. And wait, there's more-- with Canada taking on Russia at 4:30 PM, hockey fans on the West Coast will be forced to make a decision between watching the US live and recording CAN-RUS, or watch CAN-RUS live and hope they don't show highlights of the game that has already been played.
Inexcusable. You roll out elimination games as they occur. Period. This is a huge mistake in a long line of huge mistakes for NBC. I can't say I have much sympathy for the fact that they are hemorrhaging money at this year's Olympics to the tune of 200 million dollars.
At any rate, the game at hand. Team USA is coming off a huge win against Canada, and facing a Swiss team they beat last week in group play. Jonas Hiller is still Switzerland's greatest weapon, and a potent one at that-- many Sharks fans would find it catastrophic to have him dash their hopes for the second time in under a year.
Ryan Miller mans the pipes again tonight and he won't be counted on to withstand a barrage similar to the one Canada threw at him on Sunday. The Swiss forward group lacks top end talent and will likely try to trap their way into a tie until the end of regulation. They will also be coming off a game with Belarus that went 70+ minutes, which I'm sure Team USA can take advantage of.
The blueline was very reserved against Canada; there were no instances of porous pinches that plagued the unit during the first two games of play. I expect that will be the MO going forward for the Americans, as giving Ryan Miller protection is their greatest chance to grab some hardware.
One thing that has was brushed aside during the elation of Sunday was Joe Pavelski. He saw a measly 9:09 of ice time against Canada, only ahead of Ryan Malone and Phil Kessel (who, ironically, plays for head coach Ron Wilson in Toronto) amongst the forward group. It seems strange considering the Americans were holding the lead nearly the entire game, and I expect Wilson will try and work him in more today. He's a big asset to any shutdown line he is paired with and looked excellent against Norway. Sitting one of your best defensive forwards in that situation doesn't make much sense to me, but then again, I wasn't behind the bench for a win against Team Canada.
[Insert "It doesn't matter who is behind the bench when Ryan Miller is between the pipes" reference].
Puck drops at
12 PST 3 PST on NBC.