Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/11/14 at 07:28 AM ET
from Lawrence Martin at the Globe and Mail,
For Russia, Sochi is the ultimate chance for hockey revenge. No better way for them to quash the memory of their seminal defeat in the 1972 Summit Series than to beat Canada in their homeland for Olympic gold.
Building expectations, the Russians have been saying that the hockey prize is far and away what matters most at these Games. We can imagine how their man of steel, President Vladimir Putin, will gloat if they pull it off. It’s not the Cold War again, but the former KGB agent is flexing his muscles the world over, including in the Canadian Arctic.
But watch him shrink, watch those eyes tighten if they lose. The Canadian team can puncture Mr. Putin’s ego in Sochi. That couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
The Russians are making a mistake by putting so much stock in the hockey result. Hockey history has shown that, with the odd exception, they don’t respond well to intense pressure. Rather, they crack.
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