Friday, September 03, 2004

USA v. Slovakia - Who am I rooting for??

After disappointing losses to the Canadians, the two smarting clubs America and Slovakia faced one another tonight at the Xcell Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.

I don't make it secret, I'm very proud of my ethnic background and I root for the Slovaks when I can, but tonight, I was truly prepared for a night of great hockey. I was not at all disappointed.

I was however upset at the "team B" broadcasters that they got out for the game. Both Mike Emrick and Darren Pang (former goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks) insisted the entire night to mispronounce them as "slow-vack-ee-ah". I wondered if this game was covered by the CBC at all.

In addition to that, the announcer Mike Emrick had reported on air about goaltender Jan Lasak not being in the Nashville Predators system. "He's a soft shelled taco in a hard taco world," repeated Emrick from a Predators scout. I couldn't help it as to take a comment like that personally. The Slovak people are a proud honorable people. When our heart or courage is challenged, it's considered a serious issue.

Of course, the Predators are serious with Tomas Vokoun, their Czech-born goaltender. It would be best for Lasak to find work somewhere else.

The game was played with more emotion from a desperate Team USA. They knew they had to win, or wind up facing the invincible Team Canada in Toronto for the semi-finals. Team Slovakia held their own through most of the game. They kept it 2-1 up until the last few moments of the 3rd period. The winning goal was a fluke as NY Islander forward Jason Blake went into the net along with the puck. Since they didn't see him hit it with an arm or leg, they counted the goal. Cheap goal.

The funniest portion of the ESPN coverage was the reaction that Darren Pang gave to Coach Barry Melrose who was safely secure in the ESPN Bristol, CT studios. Barry praised the Americans, but Darren Pang added later, "He'll say nice things when they're winning, but he'll throw them under the bus when they start losing".

I'm glad I taped the game on the VCR.
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