As I stated yesterday I love Olympic hockey. This has even extended to the point where I have watched a little bit of the women’s hockey tournament. My first thoughts were I love hockey and I love women therefore this can’t lose. Unfortunately hockey chicks look like a cross between hockey dudes and softball chicks. Calling the games was U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Cammi Granato, and I was completely shocked and put-off seeing the classic hockey nose on a woman. But I’m not totally shallow and I can look past all those things and enjoy a well played game. Of the five games that have aired, I have watched maybe a combined one whole period and here are a few thoughts I had regarding women’s hockey.
First of all body checking is not allowed in women’s hockey, it is a penalty in fact. I don’t understand this rule in the slightest. Incidental contact is fine, but without body checks this might as well be soccer, at least if it were I could see Mia Hamm take her shirt off. Cammi informed us the protective gear the women wear is exactly the same as in men’s hockey, except women have the full face mask. So why the hold up?
Watching a player get slammed into the boards is one of the small joys of watching hockey, and to take that away robs everyone. These women are all aware of the dangers and roughness the sport of hockey holds. They are all of relative size and I don’t see the real problem here. If it was coed hockey then yeah I could see the inclusion of this rule. Not to sound sexist, but a dude checking a chick just seems brutal and grounds for domestic abuse. On this note I also believe this takes away from treating women as equals. I don’t recall the Suffrage Movement including something along the lines of equal in all aspects except body checks in hockey. Maybe I’m wrong, anyone out there more familiar with Women’s Suffrage who can back me up, or who can prove me wrong please do show in the comments.
The other problem with this is there is no clear indication of what constitutes incidental body contact and what constitutes a body check. It is up to the refs to make that call and since no one is perfect, there are going to be inconsistencies. This can screw with the flow of the game as well as lower the integrity. I say take it to the players and if they want to check each other then by all means let the broads check each other.
The checking may be missing but the goaltending isn’t, well mostly. I will admit I was not expecting the level of goaltending I was seeing, and I will chalk that up to some sexist thinking. For whatever reason I was under the impression women’s goaltending would be far less superior than men’s, though with the girls I have met they have been very good and keeping me out of the goal (hi-oh). But seriously it was sexist thinking on my part and I have seen the errors of my ways and I apologize.
The women were making fantastic looking saves. They look better than Raycroft looked with the Avs last season. Even the Slovakian goalie who let in 18 goals against Canada was looking good and all 18 of those goals can’t be on her watch. She was getting no support from her team. They should have worked harder to keep the puck in the Canadian zone, and that defense wasn’t blocking a damn thing. The poor goalie was alone out there.
While we’re on that, there have been a lot of mumblings about such a high score, calls for a mercy rule or Canada letting up or other such bullshit. Maybe there ought to be a mercy rule, but there isn’t and Slovakia should realize they were playing Canada on the biggest stage and that they were going to be way more of a challenge than Belarus, and worked harder. After Little Mac knocked out Glass Joe he didn’t assume an 82-0 win would carry him, he worked his ass off in order to prepare for Tyson.
And the idea that Canada should have eased up a bit is something I don’t agree with at all. I thought this too after the Cowboys/Vikings game when some Cowboys were saying the same thing. Players are always talking about how they are taught to play hard until that last second ticks off the clock, the last whistle blows, or the last buzzer, uh buzzes. The other team should be responsible to step up and act like they belong in these competitions of the best of the best. I would be more upset if a team at this level didn’t play to their full potential. Letting up in a hockey game would look like shit too. It would be a lot of boring puck movement or lame looking shots. But I guess it’s not in the spirit of the games to humiliate the opponent. Whatever.
Eventually Canada will have a real competition like the US or Sweden and the Slovaks will play a team they can embarrass like the Anaheim Ducks, maybe then the peanut section will calm down.
Until then, ladies, keep you stick on the ice.
I’ll have another article up this afternoon, be sure to look for that.
16 Feb 2010 Lee S. Hart