The NHL lockout has been in effect for more than two months now, and so, with no actual games to report on, we're going to link to a different hockey video every day until a new CBA is reached. Today: reliving the Vancouver Games.
As of right now, the NHL has still not decided whether it will break in two years to allow players to participate in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. It would be crazy not to: Yes, players risk getting injured while skating for a team other than the one signing their paychecks. And sure, it's a two-week disruption to the schedule. And yes, Russia's really far away. But the pros outweigh the cons here: It's a wonderful opportunity to showcase the sport on a big stage and get the attention of casual fans (or even nonfans). The diehards, meanwhile, appreciate the chance to watch the sport played as such a consistently high level for two weeks.
Hockey really is the perfect Olympic sport. These are athletes that lots of people care about more than once every four years (which isn't the case for many other high-profile sports), and the talent is so spread out that a handful of countries have a legitimate chance to win gold. (That's not really true for, say, basketball: The athletes are household names, but even if times have changed since 1992, the Americans are still expected to win every time). It helps, too, that the players take it so seriously: Winning gold might not mean quite as much as winning a Stanley Cup, but they generally want to be there representing their country.
Anyway, during the 2010 Vancouver Games, hockey got lots of attention in this country beyond the die-hard group that follows the sport year-round. We're talking front-page-of-the–Daily News–type attention. We're talking Ryan Seacrest–interviewing–Ryan Miller–on-his-radio-show-type attention. And that happened largely because the Americans came damn close to winning gold: They had the spotlight on them after beating Team Canada in the preliminary round, and entered the gold-medal game undefeated.
And so, on Day 65 of the NHL lockout, here's Zach Parise's game-tying goal late in the third period of that game. You can actually watch the entire gold-medal game in its entirety on YouTube, though that video can't be embedded. It's for the best: Those south of the 49th parallel probably wouldn't want to relive what happened after regulation ended anyway.