HTR in Torino, Part III, La Fine (The End)

The Olympics came to an end and now we’re back to NHL hockey.

Last parts about my Torino coverage and my three medals to hand out. What an awesome ending to the Olympics. Good job for Germany to finish in 1st place for the medal count, and great job by the Americans to recover and take 2nd place.

But, what a beautiful game by the Swedes and the Finns. And… the last Olympic event was won by an Intalian!

Of course I rooted for the team with the Three Crowns, since I am partly Swedish, but I really thought the Finns had it all. And who saved that game? Henrik Lundqvist with a stellar 3rd period performance as he continues to win and prove himself at every level of hockey. Hey Henke…how abou a cup that is silver in Manhattan, eh?

I really enjoyed the tournament and I had fun waking up at 7-am (fun + waking up is a rare formula) and watching the games.

I was very disappointed with Team USA and Team Canada. I think Team USA was poorly managed, and I was not impressed with Peter Laviolette. Team USA…. well… take out “Team” and just leave USA, because they did not play like a team. Team USA could struggle in 2010 Vancouver unless some American players step up in four years. The defense is not a concern, as well as goaltending, but offense lacks the talent.

Team Canada was just dreadful to watch. It was like watching the pre-cap New York Rangers when they played okay but failed to win. Frustrating.

But even this team, poorly managed. Aside from Kris Draper and Shane Doan, the rest of the forwards were 1st line players, 1st line all-stars. It’s not that they did not care, it’s that they looked clueless. Sure, Pat Quinn did not do a good job, but these guys are professionals and should know how to communicate, play as a unit, and at least complete the basics of the game. Team Canada should have had a real line of energetic and agigating forwards, to make up a 3rd checking line, or at least a 4th.

Why was Martin St. Louis on the team anyway? Why not Eric Staal? That’s what people say and I agree, but I don’t think youth is an argument to make for Canada. Team Canada lacked character and the right role players.

It’s amazing, everyone knows Herb Brooks in the hockey world and his famous philosophy of “I am not choosing the best players, I am choosing the right players.” Yet, no one really uses it. Why not? Mickey Goulet of the Italian team went in with a Herb Brooks-like philosophy; knowing his team is not nearly as skilled as all of the other teams. And you know what? Team Italy failed to win, but they showed up each game.

Team Canada failed to win, but they did not show up to each game. Same with Team USA, even if they played very hard against the Finns, it just was not enough. Even the Czechs, very unimpressive 2-3-0 record, even if they won the Bronze, good for them…but quite fortunate too.

The right players….that is what it takes to win it all.

My Three Medals

The Gold Medal (the team that knew how to win it all) Team Sweden.

The Silver Medal (the best overall team)Team Finland.

The Bronze Medal (for bravery) Team Italy.

Am I being biased for that? Maybe, a little. But for real, these guys came out and played. The scoreboard tells a different story, I know, but Italy showed up every game with grit, passion, and never showed any signs of intimidation. And besides, these guys were just seconds away from beating Team Germany and the team that shutout the Canadians, Team Switzerland. Just seconds! Could have finished pretty well with a 2-3-0 record.

I miss watching my team, and I must say I felt some pain because I have not been back to my home country in six years. Yes, I am from Rome and I love Caput Mundi [latin (capital of the world)]. But my way of thinking and my tastes are Northern Italian. I know I definitely do not want to go back to Rome and live there (for personal reasons towards Europe in general), but hey… maybe things may change and I’d like to go to Northern Italy and find a peaceful spot near the mountains. Then again, I am also in love with the temperature here in Delray Beach, Florida…and the weather.

I’ll miss the Azzurri on ice, and hopefully they will come back in 2010. I hope that Mickey Goulet will get more support because he has the right philosophy for Italian hockey, which is North American style hockey.

NHL’ers, Should The Play Olympic Hockey?

My answer is, NO. It’s not a question about amateur vs. professional. Those days were over in the late 1980’s. I do agree with the French nobleman (wow, I agree with a French!) who re-opened the Olympics in the 19th century with the vision and philosophy of no pros. But, that is not the case I will make.

My case is…. these guys signed a contract. That contract is their job to work for the team. They get paid tons of money to do their job, which is to play in the National Hockey League, for their respective teams. When the players go to the Olympics, they become a liability to the owners. They get injured playing hockey, voluntarily, and they cannot fullfill their job completely any longer.

Take GM Nonis from the Canucks. He just lost two defensemen. Bobby Clarke…. Gagne is out for two weeks.

It is unfair to the ownership that pays these guys, to management and coaching staff, to the other teammates, to the fans, and to the insurence company.

The opposition to my case generally says “a country has the right to put forth their best players and players have a right to represent their countries”.


Let’s cut a deal. Simon Gagne out for two weeks due to Olympic hockey? He does not get paid for those two weeks, and not even the insurence company should pay him. If say….Ohlund is out for a month…. he does not get a month’s pay of his salary.

Hey, that’s business. You are not working for me, why should I pay you? That mentality works for me.

Fair enough?

Finally, I’ll give you my last lecture of Italy. For red wines… I’ve tasted the very best, in my opinion. I only drink Italian wines, sometimes I may handle a Californian, a Spanish, or one from Chile…. sometimes Australia. Anyway, this wine you will never find, unless your lucky.

Terra-Sole-Vite. That’s the name of the red wine. It’s actually a mix of grapes, 80% being merlot. It’s the kind of special wine that you keep…that you must eat with a rich dinner…and you must open it for at least 30 minutes, before drinking it. It needs to breathe.

The other wine on my favorite list is Gattinara. This you may find. It comes from the house called Travaglini and its origin? Piemonte! There is a very easy way to recognize this red wine, and that is its bottle. The shape of the bottle is curved inwards on one side. It is a common wine, not that special for wine connoisseurs. Why is it special to me? First of all, it is a very good tasting wine. Second, it goes down smoothly. When I was trying wines at age 17…18…, I liked the wines I tasted, but it felt odd to drink something at room temperature with a “funny” taste. But this one? It went down so smoothly, and that’s what I look first with any alcoholic beverage. It has to go down smoothly.

As for white wines? I am not a fan of them really. rarely do I ever drink white wine. A very common sparkly white wine in Italy is called Prosecco. Some of you may know about this one. I drink it sometimes (with seafood), and I like it way more than champagne because the “bubbles” are much fewer. Man, after a few glasses of champagne…. well…let’s not go that far with the air and the gassy bubbles.

After dinner drinks. Ahhh…. the liquors. Up North we also make Jagermeister, which I love (and to make you believe in that, I asked for a bottle of Jager for Christmas). A similar Italian liquor to the Jager is called Amaro Averna, which comes from Sicily and is made with herbs. Then there are le grappe (the grappas). I love these. Room temperature or cold, it does not matter. I love them. To do grappa you take the seeds and the skins from the grapes after the wine is made. They they put it in a process where it is fermented and distilled. Alcohol level is pretty strong at around 43%. They use prosecco grapes, barolo grapes (barolo is another excellent red wine by the way), and moscato grapes which tend to be sweeter.

My favorite of all! Limoncello. This is the best! If you like lemon, this is the real deal. I have no idea how it is made, but does it really matter? You keep this in the freezer and it’s pretty strong in taste, but it is so good.

By the way, for you underage kids….don’t try this stuff alone or just with friends. These are things to try with family. I am not a supporter of the drinking age law, but everything that I tasted….was with family. I’m a 23 year old explaining and telling you about Italian drinks and how some are made, where they are from. Why? I learned with family. If I just tested these things without knowing, I’d be nothing but an ignorant. If your parents like these kinds of things, especially if they are Italian blooded, then tell them about it, make them get the things, and try it.

Sweet tooth, anyone?

Ok, I am a picky person for sweets. I am not crazy over them, I don’t eat them everyday. But the good ones? Oh yeah. So let me tell you about Il Segreto della Dama. There are different versions of this, but I’ll tell you the simplest one…which I could make myself.

This is basically a big chocolate sausage. You need four to five (depends how many will eat it) bars of chocolate. Not Hershey’s, not Nestle’s…but real chocolate. I can’t find any real good Italian ones because you need the real dark…bitter chocolate bars. So, I get Lindt. Three dark ones, and one milk chocolate to add some sweetness. A good chunk of butter, unsalted of course. And, you melt them all together. While it is melting, get cookies and you break each cookie into pieaces (not too small). Add the pieces in there and when it is melted (don’t get it to boil).

Let it sit for a little bit to the point where it is still very warm but not to the point where your hands burn. Put it on a cutter (wood/plastic) and roll it till it becomes a sausage-like form.

And BAM! Put it in the fridge. If you have a sweet tooth…. you’ll do this. You can look it up on the internet, of course, but that’s a simple way to do it for us guys who are clueless on measurements of butter….and whatever. We just want to eat well.

There is some bad news for me though. Lent is coming up and it means 40 days without something that you have to give. Well, for two weeks…I drank, I ate… and drank….. but all for fun and celebrating the great Olympic games. That means, however, I give up alcohol for 40 days.

I know, I am totally nuts…

And finally….. my Italian Anthem! This link shows you the history of my Italian flag, which is interesting with the many changes.

And this is my anthem translated into English. I love these words.

Italian brothers,

Italy has arisen,

With Scipio’s helmet

binding her head.

Where is Victory?

Let her bow down,

For God has made her

The slave of Rome.

Let us gather in legions,

Ready to die!

Italy has called! Fratelli d’Italia


We for centuries

Have been downtrodden and derided,

Because we are not a people,

Because we are divided.

Let one flag, one hope

Bring us together;

The hour has struck

For us to join forces.

Let us gather in legions,

Ready to die!

Italy has called! Noi siamo da secoli


Let us unite and love one another;

For union and love

Reveal to peoples

The way of the Lord

Let us swear to free

Our native soil;

If we are united under God,

Who can conquer us?

Let us gather in legions,

Ready to die!

Italy has called! Uniamoci, amiamoci;


From the Alps to Sicily,

Everywhere it is Legnano;

Every man has the heart

and hand of Ferruccio.

The children of Italy

Are all called Balilla;

Every trumpet blast

Sounds the (Sicilian) Vespers.

Let us gather in legions,

Ready to die!

Italy has called!


Mercenary swords

Are feeble reeds,

And the Austrian eagle

Has lost his plumes.

This eagle that drunk the blood

of Italy and Poland,

together with the Cossack,

But this has burned his gut.

Let us gather in legions,

Ready to die!

Italy has called!

21 Responses to HTR in Torino, Part III, La Fine (The End)

  1. Kraut182 says:

    I’m sorry, but I am sick and tired of hearing people say NHLers don’t belong in Olympic hockey and then not giving an answer as to who does.

    If not NHL hockey players, then who do you want playing hockey in the Olympics?

  2. Kraftster says:

    The contract signed by the players in the NHL does not forbid them from playing hockey in international tournaments. Therefore, there is no contractual reason to exclude them from the Games. Additionally, I didn’t hear a single owner object to players traveling to play. Obviously the NHL is behind it by providing a break so that players could travel. If Owners change their mind and want to have players stay in the U.S., then they can write into the contracts of the players “no olympic play”, until then, contractual arguments fail.

  3. sakic91 says:

    Dont blame canada for losing they tired just bigger ice

  4. mikster says:

    AHL’ers… prospects over 20 years old…

    Think of 1980….

    I only say NHL’ers should not because it is completely unfair to their respective NHL teams that pay them and signed them to do a job.

    I know it’s not going to happen though, so i made a proposal. Injured NHL’ers from Olympics do not get paid, at all.

  5. mikster says:

    I am not discussing that though. I am discussing about fairness and the contract does not say anything about not allowing players to play in the Olympics because it would cause an outrage and imagine the NHLPA. They’d go nuts.

    These guys sign a contract to do a job, and all i am calling out is fairness.

    I don’t know why the owners are not discussing this as much as coaches, GMs, and the media….. but if you signed a guy that should get you close to Cup contention, for $4M a season (not pocket change), i think you’d be pretty upset if he gets injured for the rest of the season because he played in the Olympics. I know you would not be the one paying his salary, but i’d be very upset.

  6. mikster says:

    They won in Salt Lake on bigger ice though. They had the best team, on paper… they could have easily won this but they failed to form chemistry and they were a team of all-stars.

    That won’t win you anything, unless you are playing fantasy hockey!

  7. eric_empire says:

    Ok… Mik hear are some thougts I’d like to give at this moment…

    But first… Mik, thank you… I’ve bin reading your posts for three or four years I think and we have hade our differences in the past & and also our battels (former Swedeish Voice)… But the thank you is not for our debates but for your tone… Up to very reasantly I thougt you where iggnorant, loud, narrow minded and well just plane stupid. But this year you have realy gowed in my book, perhaps you have grwoen more humble or perhaps I just did not listen before…

    Any way… Tanks for the posts…

    And to the tougts…

    There have bin alot of talk about US and Canada, and how they did not play good.

    Ok I can see that Canada where missing something, they should atleast bin in the semifinalas. But look att some of the teams ther they where facing, Russia, Check-rep, Finland not bad teams. Ok they should beat the Swiss team 9 out of 10 games but maby this was just the 10th time.

    The US team on the other hand I think played in kontext to there players. They had only a some realy good players, gyes like Leopold, Lilles, Gionta, Schneider, Rafalski, Knuble and maybe Gomez. But I mean realy MacChuck, Modano, Miller, Chelios, Hatcher they are to old and sluggish for the international ice…

    Then I think northamericans wrights off the Euros to easy (you to Mik (in the past atleast))… I mean look att the stats closely and you will find that there are four international dragons (team wise speeking), Canada, Russia, Sweden and Check…

    Where is US? Well on the 7th place after Finland and Slovakia…

    I think that the seven big hockey nations (Can, Swe, Rus, Chk, Slo, Fin and USA) are pretty similar with the four just a slight edge and maby i tiny edge for Canada….

    All teams have different qualetys…

    Canada have the biggest depth in stars and are borne with a hockey stick.

    Russia and Check-Rep have the bigest wizards (Jagr, Oveshkin and so on) but have they got any hart? no, none what so ever, when things goes there way they are realy scary. But when its not, well then every thing colapses.

    Sweden have good stars but not the depth, but the sweeds are raised with the mentalety to if you don’t show up for your team, if you goes on the loner way… then you are usless… (my thougt in a Swedish team players like Kovalshuk and Jagr could be benched).

    Us and Finns lack the depth of the first four but there hart and determenation maks up for it…

    The Slovaks have the stars, the hart but they lack the tradition, when the find that they will be realy scary.

    My point: there are seven top teams, each and every one could have won the gold, and likewise bin eleminated in the quarterfinals. This years just was not Canadas. And if you think about it puarly statisticly Canada sould not take another gold until 2020, Russia, US, Finland, Slovaks and Check republic are up for the next time.

  8. Hanzo says:

    Last time i checked, AHL players are pro too.

    I think they better change the olympic tournamenet for an under-25 or something like that. A mix of young NHLers and prospect.

    That would be great.

  9. Laus723 says:

    snoooooooooore…huh, huh, wha??? oh, more olympics…snnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooorrrrrrreeeeeee!!!

  10. mikster says:

    Yes, they are “pros” but not all-star pros.

    I think the u-25 is a good idea, but maybe too young? How about no one over 30?

  11. Kraftster says:

    I understand what you are saying about the fairness part of things, but the problem with “fairness” is that it is all about perspective. Just like in any form of law, if you get beyond the law and start talking about how things should be based on “justice” or “fairness” you run into the perspective problem.

    There can be no general understanding or definition of fairness. What is fair to the players may not be fair to the owners and vice versa. It probably doesn’t seem fair to players to be forced to give up the rigt to play for their own country to play in the NHL. Some owners/gms/fans may think its unfair for a player to play in the Olympics but that is looking at the “fairness” of the issue from their perspective.

    The other problem with talking about behavior not explicitly excluded in a contract, is, where do you stop? Why not have the same view of the Allstar game? What about a game of volleyball in the backyard at a family reunion? This slippery slope concern is a real one if you think about it. Often, contracts in sports forbid “exceedingly dangerous behavior”, but, whether Olympic hockey would fall into that category is unclear. If you look at the chances of getting hurt in a game, its probably not actually that high at all, at least, I don’t think, high enough to be seen as exceedingly dangerous.

  12. Kraftster says:

    Drawing the line between all-star pros and pros is another subjective line to draw.

  13. WYflyerfan says:

    college kids and such. Where they can play & practice together for more then a day. Here’s a thought maybe a team with chemistry.

  14. mcpeach2 says:

    my spellcheck just exploded

  15. Hanzo says:

    The idea here is to have a good mix of young NHL superstars, prospects, AHL prospects and maybe a couple of juniors. They’d bring youth and exuberance.

  16. BigCanuck says:

    My eyes are crossed

  17. Kraut182 says:

    I heard a that Olympic soccer only allows players 23 and under (or something like that I might have the number wrong) to play. To me this seemed like an okay solution to no NHLer’s, or at least reduced NHLer’s if you allow those in the NHL under 23 to play and tell their teams to make due for 2 weeks. I don’t like that solution as much as I like all NHLer’s playing, but to me it is at least a decent solution.

    If you tell NHLer’s they won’t get paid if they’re hurt at the Olympics, then they’ll either:

    1. Not play- but then you basically have to change the whole Olympic setup

    2. Buy their own insurance policies for the 2 weeks. Probably more likely, but would some players opt out of the Olympics to avoid paying $X for the right to represent their country? I think so, and I really don’t like the idea of players having to pay to represent their countries.

  18. Laus723 says:


  19. G_Money says:

    God Save our Gracious Queen

    Long live our noble Queen

    God save our Queen!

    Send her victorious,

    Happy and glorious

    Long to reign over us,

    God Save the Queen

    Oh wait….

  20. Maximus says:

    I, too, am tired about people saying that NHLers do not belong in the Olympics. Players do have a responsiblity to their Owners, but owners have a resonsiblity to the GAME of hockey.

  21. FlamingHomer says:

    Totally agree. I would like to see a set National Team formed from these AHL players on a 4 year contract basis. They can play together as a team in the AHL schedule but their priority would be attending the various International Tournaments. Many older AHL pros will not likely be called up to the parent team (assuming they are owned by one) as these promotions usually favour the younger prospect and may be quite happy to represent their country. Other countries can form similar teams from their club teams. What you lack in talent will be made up in teamwork so the product will still be very watchable.

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