The Week In Sports #18: Olympic Hockey Surprise.

Heading into the Olympics, the United States men’s hockey team didn’t really get a lot of respect. The Yanks were ranked far below the likes of Canada, Russia and Sweden and just below Finland and the Czech Republic. With a very young and inexperienced squad, not much was expected from this group by the hockey community. A lot has changed in the past week.

Five games and five wins later, the U.S. men find themselves in the Gold medal game against powerful Canada. On the way to the 3:30 pm EST match up with their neighbors from the north, the Americans defeated Switzerland 3-1, Norway 6-1 and Canada (very surprisingly) 5-3 to gain the #1 overall seed heading into the knockout stage. After receiving a first round by, they faced a tenacious Swiss team looking for some revenge. They gained a hard-fought 2-0 win and prepared to face defending Silver medalists Finland for the right to play in the Gold medal game.

The Americans offense exploded for 6 goals on their first 11 shots to open up a gaping 6-0 lead over the Fins to end the first period. They coasted for the rest of the game and even rested goalie Ryan Miller for the final 11 minutes en route to a 6-1 lead and a rematch with Canada.

Even if you aren’t a big hockey fan, you have to know the enormity of this game. This might be the most anticipated hockey game in history (besides USA vs. USSR in 1980) and you don’t want to miss it.

Medal Count: As of noon on Saturday, the usual suspects were leading the medal count. The U.S. on top with 34 medals, in second place was Germany with 27, Canada with 21 (after a late push), Norway with 20, Austria with 15, Russia with 15 and South Korea with 14. Canadians expected a better effort from their countrymen, but the Americans have just been too strong, even winning medals in events they weren’t expected to have a shot (Nordic Combined). Canada does lead the way with 10 Gold medals, but the Germans, American and Norwegians are right behind.

NBA: The Olympics aren’t the only event going on in the world of sports, The NBA, unlike the NHL, did not take a break during the Olympics. NBA icon Michael Jordan purchased controlling shares of the Charlotte Bobcats this week and is now the majority owner. In trade news, the New York Knicks acquired Tracy McGrady in a three team trade with the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings. Also, Reigning NBA slam dunk champion Nate Robinson was shipped over the Beantown.

National Lacrosse League: The Toronto Rock are still leading the Eastern Conference with a 6-3 record, but Rochester (5-3), Orlando (3-2) and Boston (4-4) aren’t far behind. In the West, the Washington Stealth are leading the way with a 6-2 record. They are followed close behind by Edmonton (4-3 and Calgary (4-3). Colin Doyle of the Rock is leading in points with 56 in nine games. The scoring race is heating up with Garrett Billings of the Rock (54), Jeff Zywicki of the Stealth (52) and Blaine Manning of the Rock (52) not far behind.

College Basketball: March Madness if fast approaching and the field is shaping up. Kansas (27-1), Kentucky (27-1), Purdue (24-3) and Syracuse (26-2) are most likely #1 seeds. But teams like Duke, Kansas, West Virginia, Villanova, Ohio State, BYU and Georgetown will be fierce in the tournament as well. I can’t wait to find out which bubble teams make it in (Uconn?) and which teams don’t (UAB? Memphis?)

*Are you a fan of a particular sport that you want me to cover next week or do you know of any sports stories you want me to mention? This is your article, not mine. Have at it. Throw me an email

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