Olympic Hockey Has Begun!

I was glued to my TV in 1980 when the U.S. pulled off one of the greatest upsets in all of sports history. C&Lers know I love the sport and I'm inte

I was glued to my TV in 1980 when the U.S. pulled off one of the greatest upsets in all of sports history. C&Lers know I love the sport and I'm interested to see what happens this year. The U.S. women's hockey team has a great shot to win the gold, but the men are still the underdogs.

Canada is the favorite to win it all, with Russia right there at 2-1 odds. They both have incredible teams while Sweden sets out to defend their 2006 gold medal and they do have Henrik Lundqvist as their net minder so they still are a factor.

Canada will be devastated if they don't win the gold on home ice. The crowds will be rocking because hockey is like football, baseball and basketball all in one to the Canadians. Heck, over 12 million people watched the IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal hockey in January.

An astounding 12.3 million viewers – or more than one in three Canadians – tuned in to some part of the IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal hockey game on TSN between Canada and the U.S.A.

Over the course of the entire game, ratings agency BBM Canada reports that an average of 5.3 million Canadians were watching the game at any one time making it the most-watched program on Canadian television since 2005.

That's as big as the Super Bowl rating are here in America. The Olympics mean an awful lot to the international stars of the NHL. Alexander the Great told Gary Bettman to f*&K off if he thinks he's stopping him from playing in 2014.

It appears as though Capitals' Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin has drawn a line in the sand with the NHL in terms of Olympic participation. ESPN.com is reporting that the reigning Hart Trophy winner plans on participating in the Olympic hockey competition at the 2014 Winter games in Sochi, Russia, stating that he will risk suspension to play for his country even if the NHL is not formally involved.

"Nobody can say to me you can't play for your country in the Olympic Games," Ovechkin told ESPN.com.

"I don't care," Ovechkin continued. "I'll go play in the Olympic Games for my country. If somebody says to me you can't play, see ya."

We have a ton of hockey fans on C&L, so tell me what you think -- and let the games begin!

About John Amato

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