Sunday, February 26, 2006

Team Sweden: The Winner Takes it All

The U.S. and Canada were knocked out of the Olympic tournament, but that didn't bother me so much because I had been disturbed about the disruption to the NHL season and Bruins' change of fortune.

Nonetheless, I was half-heartedly following what Boston Bruins-turned-Olympians were doing. Hal Gill was on the U.S. “taxi squad” and wouldn't play in a single game. Marco Sturm was nursing what the Bruins termed an "upper body injury" and wouldn't play for Germany.

That left Milan Jurcina and P.J. Axelsson. Jurcina, a rookie playing for Slovakia, hadn't gotten any press, even though Slovakia surprised Russia, the U.S., and Sweden en route to a perfect record in the preliminary round. But Jurcina's team lost to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. Jurcina would have to watch Per Johan Axelsson take on the Czechs.

P.J. notched a goal and an assist to help advance the team with the coolest color scheme to the gold medal game against the unbeaten Fins. His two points for the Blue and Yellow on Friday night attracted the spotlight, but as those of us Black and Gold fans know, points don't make P.J tick. P.J. will be the first one to tell you that defense is, as the ABBA title goes, "The Name of the Game." At least P.J.'s game.

Although P.J. was a minus-one against the Fins (for the record, he had his guy covered), it was only fitting that he was on the ice as the final seconds faded into history. And the Bruins' defensive specialist, the kid from Kungalv, born this date in 1975, jumped for joy!

The only thing missing from the scene was ABBA singing "The Winner Takes it All."

I love my country and wish Team USA would have done better, but I also love ABBA and Per commitmentson's committment to defense.