Yesterday, I posted Part 1 of our version of Olympic Power Rankings, going through the 5th, 4th, and 3rd ranked teams in the ice hockey tournament. Today, we take on 1 &2. Strap in, it’s going to be a fun ride.
Number 1 in the world and number 1 in our hearts.
Canadian Women’s Team – Ranked 2nd by IIHF
As you might imagine, the Canadian women’s team is somewhat unfairly dominant. They’ve won gold at the last three Olympics, have an insane amount of hardware in general, and are, well, Canadian. -2 for Canada. +5 for dominance.
Their captain is Caroline Ouellette, who is a member of the women’s version of the Triple Gold Club (World Championship, Olympic Gold, Clarkson Cup), which isn’t currently recognized but should be. +3 (for triple!) She never broke ten penalties a season, which I personally think is a little lame, so -1 for being a goody two-shoes. But then:
I came in like a wreeeeecking baaaaaallllllll.
Also on their team is Marie-Philip Poulin, who has been called the female Sidney Crosby by the unimaginative because of how much she’s accomplished despite being only 22. She participated in the 2010 Olympics and scored both goals in the gold medal game. -2 because that was the worst!!! On the other hand, she attends Boston University, so +1 for being a Beantown girl. She’s done pretty okay there, with a career 1.61 points per game, and was named captain in 2012. So decent, decent. +1.61 (haha get it).
Shannon Szabados is one of their goalies and presumably will be starting, though it hasn’t officially been decided yet. She was the first woman to play in the Western Hockey League, where she played for the Tri-City Americans in a few exhibition games, was the first woman to play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where she got a shutout in her first game, and once could have suited up for the Edmonton Oilers when they had goalie injuries and needed someone to serve as backup. The indignation when this didn’t happen was beautiful.
She also doesn’t really get the Olympic Opening Ceremonies:
I totally feel you on that, Shannon. +2
Then there’s Jenn Wakefield, who scored this beauty of a shootout goal (at 3:28) that prompted teammate Tessa Bonhomme to quip, “Never mind Datsyukian goals, start your Wakefieldian goals here.”
I was gonna give +13 because that’s Datsyuk’s jersey number, but that seems…a lot. +3.
Lastly, let’s talk about Hayley Wickenheiser.
She is goddamn majestic.
This will be her fifth Olympics at age 35, which means she started this whole thing at 19. Three golds and one silver under her belt, she’s already mentioned a few times at the Hockey Hall of Fame up in Toronto. In 2003, she was the first woman to score a goal for a men’s professional team. She’s played in the Finnish and Swedish leagues and was also featured in NHL 13. She’s also played Olympic softball. She is a living legend, a total badass, and it’s just a shame that she’s Canadian. +5 for each Olympics.
Oh, and she was Canada’s flagbearer this year. In case it was unclear that she’s awesome.
I have to give a last few points to the Canadians for their celebration after last year’s Olympics which, although it caused controversy because people are butts and also came at the expense of the Americans, was inspired and fantastic.
We drank, we fought, we made our ancestors proud!
+5 for total, utter, does not give a crap swag.
Canadian Men’s Team – Predicted 2nd by THN
On to the men’s side of the equation, which is rather unsurprisingly captained by Sidney Crosby, he of golden goal fame.
Oh…wait…was that Canadians reaction to Zach Parise’s goal? My mistake.
I remember watching that game in my dorm room before going to the dining hall and just staring in blank horror when that happened. Damn you, Crosby! I don’t know what it says about me that I root for the Penguins now. Probably that I’m some sort of masochist or that I really enjoy cognitive dissonance.
They have three goalies, one of whom is Mike “Butt Goal” Smith. -1 for that pathetic showing. On the other hand, they have Carey Price and Roberto Luongo, both of whom have many things in their favor. Carey Price, who is part First Nations on his mom’s side, once had a badass Assassin’s Creed mask made in advance of ACIII and also starred in a commercial for them. +2
And then there’s Roberto Luongo. Possibly no one has gone through such a strange image rehabilitation than Lu, who created a stubbornly unverified account under the guise of anonymity where he tweets out strange, hilarious tweets, sometimes consisting of nothing other than an enigmatic emoji.
Lu is the best. +3
In the defensive core is P.K. Subban, one of the most hotly contested choices leading up to the unveiling of the Olympic team. While I personally hate when he’s playing against my team, he is charming as hell and is completely unafraid of looking ridiculous.
Here he talks about things he’d bring as gifts to Sochi:
P.K. Subban is great. Norris winner, all-around great guy, once shook the hands of the entire Bruins table when they drafted his little brother. +2
One of the big stories yesterday was that Steven Stamkos wouldn’t be able to make the Olympics, which is great news! …for the US. Instead, he’s being replaced by Martin St. Louis, who only won the scoring title last year, no big deal. At 38, he is officially the oldest member of the team and yet still looks like this:
This doesn’t even really highlight how ridiculous his thighs are.
At 5’8″ (or so stats claim…I don’t actually know if I believe that, he seems shorter to me), he is on the shorter side for a hockey player. Gotta holler at my shorties! +2, one for each thigh.
The problem with taking about the Canadian team is that there are way too many famous and notable people on it. Do I take points off for John Tavares being boring as hell? Do I add points because I’m terrified of Jonathan Toews’s stare? Do I talk about how Patrice Bergeron is a Disney Prince? And also apparently doesn’t feel pain? Do I take points off simply because it’s Canada? Well, they didn’t put Claude Giroux on the team, and as a totally biased blogger, that’s worth +3 from me.
Total: 11 points
Russian Men’s Team – Predicted 1st by THN
Yes, I’m breaking my own order, but that’s because I want to talk about the US ladies last. Instead, let’s talk a little about Russia.
Their captain is the legendary Pavel Datsyuk, who has literally had highlight packages dedicated to him.
He also once dressed up as Alan from The Hangover.
Don’t even get me started on his cat.
Oh, buddy. Catsyuk gets him +2
They’ve also got a bunch of adorable kiddos on their team, from Vladimir Tarasenko to Valeri Nichushkin (starts about 3:19). (If you want to feel really old, think about how Nichushkin is a 1995 baby.) +2 for youth, I guess.
They’ve also got their gap-toothed star, the face of the Sochi Olympics Alexander Ovechkin. He’s already got to get +1 for somehow managing to land Maria Kirilenko, a cool-ass lady and Olympic medallist.
He likes his exclamation points, Ovi does.
Ovechkin has been on fire this season and last night notched his 40th goal in 54 games. He’s 10 goals up on the second place in goals right now and it seems like he’s definitely going to get the Rocket Richard again this year unless something crazy happens. +8 for the Great 8.
I don’t really want to get super controversial on this blog, but I have to take away at least 5 points for goalie Semyon Varlamov, who was arrested in late 2013 for domestic assault and kidnapping. That’s not fun, so quickly moving on…
…to Sergei BOBROVSKY!!!! This guy came out of relative obscurity last year to win the Vezina and capture the hearts of people all around North America as he helped the Columbus Blue Jackets make a huge push for the playoffs. Not only did he wear an adorable bow tie to accept his award, he also showed a great sense of humor by dressing up as a cop for Halloween.
+2 for adorableness.
And then there’s my personal favorite, as a Penguins fan: Evgeni Malkin. He adopts stray cats and there is a whole blog dedicated to him with animals.
He’s an odd one. Apparently extremely funny if you speak Russian. +1 for puppies.
USA Women’s Team – Ranked 1st by IIHF
And lastly we come to the best team, the United States Women’s team.
Captain Meghan Duggan just needs Olympic gold to make the women’s Triple Gold club. Julie Chu, Harvard grad, has been featured in ESPN’s body issue. Goalie Jessie Vetter once had an average goals allowed under one. Then there are the twins, Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux who do things like start brawls.
But I’m gonna take a minute to talk about Amanda Kessel, who if you are American you will probably get sick of hearing about during the Olympics. Tough.
Our girls know how to celebrate a win too.
Yes, she’s the younger sister of Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs forward extraordinaire, but more than that, she’s an insanely good forward with stats that will make your eyes pop. As a player for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, she has an average of 2.03 points per game, which is already impressive. Then you look at last year, when Minnesota went on their insane undefeated run, and you see she had 2.66 points per game. She had 101 points in 38 games. She’s kind of quiet, it seems, which makes sense for a Kessel, but as they say, you gotta watch out for the quiet ones. She’s a bit of a prankster, she says.
I haven’t even gotten started on Hilary Knight or Briana Decker or Kelli Stack.
You should follow her on Instagram. She’s also written some blogs for ESPN about the Olympic journey.
I could go on and on about the US women (and do, if you ever catch me at my most verbose) but instead I will close out with some pictures.
Majestic as heck.
Damn right it is.
Total: infinite points
THE WINNERS ACCORDING TO ME:
For the women, the winners are obviously USA with Canada and Switzerland coming in second and third.
For the men, the winners are Canada and Russia, tied at 11. Winners overall: US women, duh.