Sunday, February 10, 2008

2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC

The next Winter Olympics are two years from now, in 2010, in Vancouver/Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Already, there's talk about both Canada & the United States hockey teams - and probably others, frankly. It looks as if these Olympics will probably be the last one for NHL players to participate in before it reverts back to amateurs only. That's the rumor going around right now, tho.

On the US side of things, it's speculated that Brian Burke (Anaheim's GM) will run things, and most likely John Tortorella (Tampa Bay's head coach), will coach the team. I think that's a good combination, especially if they can respect each other and do what needs to be done with as little friction as possible. Interestingly enough, it's also being speculated that Vinny Lecavalier of the Lightning will probably be the captain for Team Canada.

The problem USA Hockey has had with international competition - has almost always had, to be honest about it - is that they lack team cohesion. Basically, they're just a bunch of guys thrown together, and that's how they play. There's no team pride, and not a lot of national pride, so there's not a lot of team chemistry. That's why the Canadians, Russians, Swedes, & Czechs have a leg up on any American squad - they're proud to be playing for their country, and they work hard to create that team feeling.

I'm not sure how they can fix that with the current way of doing things. I mean, at this point, it seems to me that American hockey teams foster an individual first sort of mentality. That doesn't really work well in team sports, which explains why US medals usually come from individual events such as figure skating and skiing. The talent is certainly there, but the rest really isn't. I don't envy Tortorella trying to make that happen in such a short time.

On a travel note, from someone who used to live in that area - if you plan on attending these Olympics, don't bother looking for a place to stay in the US. The border crossings will be absolutely awful. In the summer, without anything in particular going on, you can sit in line for up to 3½ hours just to get into Canada, and it's worse trying to get into the US. It's not so bad in the winter, but then the Olympics aren't going on, either. So here's a little advice - stay in Canada if at all possible. There are plenty of suburbs to choose from, believe me. Traffic in the Greater Vancouver area is bad enough normally without adding the border crossing to it. (I hate driving in Vancouver.)

And don't leave the country unless you have to. I know Seattle's only a 2+ hour drive or so south of Vancouver (when the border is clear), but seriously, it's not worth it. Unless you have a good idea of the busiest times of day at the border, and you know you can avoid those, don't bother. Fly into and out of SeaTac if you must see Seattle. Really, that's the easiest way. I went to college half an hour from the US-Canada border (Stateside Bellingham, WA), so I know how it goes.

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