As I sit here procrastinating, watching the Olympic basketball (and the English soccer fan in me can't help but root against Argentina. Diving, cheating bastards.) I keep coming back to just how galactically stupid the Olympic hockey tournament is. I know all of Canada is already dissecting who will make their team and what roll they would play, I can only conclude there isn't much to do up there. (Though that seems odd, all my friends rave about Banff, and the beer's so much better up north.) For the hoops, the NBA season ended two months ago. These teams have had since then to gather together, practice, form cohesiveness, and develop an identity. Meanwhile, the Olympic hockey teams get what, one practice before the games start? This is why generally the hockey resembles monkeys humping a football, to quote USA legend Herb Brooks. Now, generally this leads to Canada losing before any hardware is handed out, and the baying wolves from the Land of Maple Leafs is quite hilarious. But it's hardly a representative competition. I, for one, couldn't be happier that Vancouver will most likely be the last Olympics to include the pros.
This is not to say International Hockey is a bad idea. I've always thought the World Cup, which sprang from the Canada Cup, was a great tournament. That's because those teams actually practice together for a good month beforehand. No, there's no good time to have it, as in September it'll have to compete with the start of the NFL and pennant races in baseball, but it's far better advertisement for the game than the slop that takes place under the Olympic flame.