Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Quickie: Best Game of the Year?

My biggest problem with the US win over Canada was that it lacked "win-or-else" stakes that undermine virtually every regular-season game in every sport (except, relatively, college football).

But that is precisely what makes today's Canada-Russia so awesome: The two pre-Olympic favorites for gold (featuring the top two players in the world, no less), playing with some crazy stakes: The winner moves onto a medal opportunity, the loser is utterly humiliated.

Period. Zero-sum.

This is not a professional championship on the line; this is nationalism at its most fervent. This is psyche. This is bragging rights that make UNC-Duke or Red Sox-Yankees look insubstantial.

I think that it is one of the most intriguing single games of the year -- either the past year or the upcoming year, I don't really care which. (You'll groan, but it reminds me of Alabama-Florida in the SEC title game.)

You all know that I don't know much about hockey -- it's why I stay away from it here and in the SN column. But I think this transcends "just" a hockey game. So it leads today's column.

That's not to say that there isn't a ton more in the column:

*Did Kim just put on the performance of the Olympics?

*Did Kramer suffer the biggest choke of the Olympics?

*NFL Combine: Count me among the "meh" crowd.

*Brian Westbrook: Retire his number, Philly. And maybe he should retire, period.

*Kobe is back: And killing it, of course.

*Florida: Off the Bubble with the most energizing win since the 2007 team made its Tournament run. Naturally, this sets up the Gators getting their clock cleaned on the First Thursday.

*More Bubble: Watch San Diego State (at BYU) and Dayton (at Temple) tonight. If either pull an upset on the road, they should move into the field.

(It's this time of year that I look back on my time as college basketball editor at and remember how much fun I had with the Bubble Watch.)

Complete column here. More later.

-- D.S.

1 comment:

Steve Sprague said...

Typical Shanoff column. Force feed some Florida football, force feed some current era obsessed overstatement (retire Westbrook's number?!?!?!), and long for your ESPN days.

I'll be honest, it's getting to be less and less enjoyable reading your blog. I know your Jewish but couldn't you give up Florida football for Lent? Tebow draft stories, if they are truly stories such as his pro-day, would not be subject to the ban.

As far as your current era obsession I don't know what to do about that. Perhaps you should read some more historical sports books, or watch some ESPN classic. You've proven that you don't know what you are talking about though when you suggest that the Eagles retire Westbrook's number. He's good, but he'll be easily forgotten about.