Feeling Bronzed: Slovakia, Finland vie for consolation prize

You'd think Slovakia versus Finland for the bronze medal would be a hotly contested match of little brothers fighting for a medal they can lord over their more decorated neighbors. Finland lost to Sweden for the gold in 2006 and for the group win in this year's preliminary round; Slovakia lost their group-stage match to the Czech Republic. Yet one of them will get the last laugh in 2010 by returning home with a medal that, in the right light, looks gold-ish in color anyway.

Bronze Medal Game: Finland-Slovakia, 10 p.m. EST | MSNBC, CTV/V

So, competitive? It surely should be, but then so should have been Russia-Canada beyond the first 10 minutes, and so should USA-Finland beyond the first five. It could also be a boring game, as these two teams tend to take that approach when stakes are high.

But the Finns have an utter embarrassment yesterday to atone for. And Slovakia has its best-ever chance for Olympic glory, with several stars facing their last kick at the can. Go Ziggy, go Miro, go {gulp} Mm- ... Mar ... um, go Marian. Just this once.

Random bits of off-topic interest:

  • The Rangers backup goalie shuffle continues with the waiver claim of Alex Auld. I'm hurt they didn't put in a call for Martin Biron.
  • Staying with goalies: What do you suppose the odds are of Rick DiPietro, who would be 32 then -- not a bad age for healthy goalies -- being one of the U.S. three to be selected for Sochi in 2014? Or, that being a longshot from perch in February 2010, what things need to happen between now and then for it to be possible?
  • I touched on this last week with my own NBC/IOC frustrations boiling over, but the guys at SB Nation's hockey hub did a point-counterpoint about NHL participation in the Olympics. A quick look would say past Olympics have had neither a ratings nor attendance effect; the impact for the NHL's visibility in Europe is unknown. Regardless, I'd much prefer a World Cup, or even pushing back the World Championships to allow even greater NHLer participation (and NHL broadcast promotion). It's an interesting topic, though; one we'll probably never have a clear answer to.

I'll be with family for this game, so I won't be commenting during the action. But Finns, Slovaks, countrymen: consider this your in-game thread for chatting it up.

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