The simple and common answer would be no, but people are missing the big picture.
Olympic hockey is anything but normal, take NHL players out of the frame and you have a wide open tournament where the Slovenian’s can be contenders and the Czech’s are a group leader.
Now even though Germany has had an uphill battle all tournament, look at it from their perspective and not the typical hockey observer. Germany has progressed all tournament like no other team. After a tough opening game loss to the Fins (blame it on nerves) they gave the Swede’s all they could handle in a 1-0 loss, defeated Norway, knocked off Switzerland and then defeated the Swede’s on an elimination stage. That’s no easy feat to jump on a three game heater in the Olympics and the steady progression has us wondering where Germany’s ceiling is?
Germany has shown their defence is up there with the best in the tournament, but this QF game showed a new side, offence. The Swede’s are no slouches in the goaltending and defence department and the Germans simply outperformed them in a winner goes home situation.
So who is this German team?
Well they surprisingly have a fair bit of NHL experience, almost 1500 games played to give you an estimate. Marcel Goc (SJS, NSH, FLA, PIT, STL), Christian Ehrhoff (SJS, VAN, BUF, PIT, LAK, CHI), David Wolf (CGY) and Timo Pielmeier (ANH) all have played at the highest level in the world. They’re also coached by Marco Sturm, arguably the best German hockey player of all time who had a great career in the NHL.
Another interesting factor about this team is that they have a few dual-citizens on their squad who really bring that North American style to the game. Daryl Boyle was a former captain in the western league and Brooks Macek was an assistant captain in Calgary while putting up an 80 point season (think Brendan Leipsic, Nic Petan and Ty Rattie).
They play a style that could frustrate the Canadians, but ultimately it’s going to come down to 33-year-old Danny Aus den Birken and if he can shut the door. He’s been unreal for the Germans in international play since 2016 and is showing why former studs Timo Pielmeier and Dennis Endras have been glued to the bench.
Even if you’re still bitter about no NHLers at this tournament, you have to give the Canadians some credit for playing some really exciting hockey and this semifinal game should be another thriller.
Follow me on Twitter, @Janner31_.