Olympic mode as an opportunity for German sensation
Kolumne München – For SPORT1 columnist Rick Goldmann, the absence of the NHL pros at Olympia is a catastrophe. The mode offers the German team all the opportunities for a sensation.
Dear hockey friends,
After the disappointment of missing the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, German ice hockey is back where it belongs: at the Olympics.
The team and national coach Marco Sturm deserved to be part of the team, they have won through in a tough qualifying group – thanks to hard work.
Sturm is now also counting on this troop in Pyeongchang. There are many well-earned, proven and experienced players in the German squad – with a few exceptions: the NHL players.
The Olympic dress rehearsal of the DEB team in Switzerland on Tuesday at 6.25 p. m. LIVE on TV on SPORT1
For the hockey sport, it’s a disaster that the best players – and they’re in the NHL – aren’t in the biggest, most important and most prestigious tournament.
Unfortunately, the NHL’s short-sighted commerce has triumphed over the love of ice hockey, which is a great loss for our sport, for the attention of ice hockey, for the players – and above all for the fans.
For the German team, it also means foregoing important supports. At the past World Championships, we have seen what is possible for our team with a defensive squad of NHL greats. Goalkeeper performances were outstanding in Russia in 2016, the Olympic qualifying round and the home 2017 World Cup.
Dennis Seidenberg, the best defender of the World Cup, was added at the home World Cup. And don’t forget: Leon Draisaitl is missing from the attack of a man who beat up the NHL last year.
Due to the fact that the German team does not have such depth of international top players, it is certainly not an advantage that the NHL stars are not there, even if other nations have to renounce their best players.
Nevertheless, it’s all there. At this tournament, the team has time to play in. And even a fourth place in the group does not necessarily mean the end. The fact that the group leaders and runners-up are directly qualified for the quarter-finals and that the remaining four places among the remaining eight nations are played out means that a single game can bring about a major triumph. And that would be the quarter-finals. And who knows what is still possible with such a success afterwards.
However, other nations are among the top favourites. How the Russians, for example – or whatever you have to call the team now – can choose.
With Kovalchuk, Datsjuk, Shipazhiov, the team made up only of players of SKA St.. Petersburg, CSKA Moscow and metallurgist Magnitogorsk exists, enormous quality. In contrast, the Canadians collect their team of players from all over the world.
The Americans themselves look into the DEL2 to nominate a player for the Olympics! Nothing against the DEL2, but two. German league and Olympic participants ice hockey for the USA?!
But this time, Pyeongchang is also a great stage for the Canadians and Americans, who are so proud of their national teams, to play players who would otherwise never have the chance to represent their country at the Olympics.
One person who can also use this stage is Rasmus Dahlin. Watch this young man! It’s not for nothing that he’s a possible number one pick in the upcoming NHL draft. And who knows if we would see him if all the Swedish NHL defenders were there.
The Swedes, however, have a really strong group together despite their lack of NHL stars. They can boast four 20-goal strikers who scored in the KHL, the Swiss NLA and the Swedish domestic league.
The German team has to beat this Tre Kronor. But who knows, maybe there’s a miracle in it. Maybe we will experience one like the “Miracle on Ice”in 1980, or a German miracle like the one in Innsbruck in 1976. It’s okay to dream!
Rick Goldmann, 41, stood on the ice 126 times for the German national team. The defender, who was sent to 212th place at the 1996 NHL draft. Position was drawn by the Ottawa Senators, contested a game in the NHL. After a severe ankle joint injury he finished his career at the EHC Munich in 2008. In his career he played 500 DEL games for EV Landshut, Adler Mannheim, Kaufbeurer Adler, Moskitos Essen, ERC Ingolstadt and Iserlohn Roosters. Goldmann has been commenting on the matches of the national team for SPORT1 since 2008