Scouting the Olympic quarterfinals 

February, 23, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Before I look at Wednesday's quarterfinal matchups, I must offer a tip of the cap to Latvia, Norway and Belarus. Those three underdog nations fought right to the bitter end of their qualification-round games against better opponents. Belarus took Switzerland to game-winning shots, Latvia pushed the Czechs to overtime and Norway nearly forced an extra session in the dying seconds against Slovakia.

Those teams fought the good fight. Then, there was Team Germany.

The Germans looked like dead men skating during their 8-2 loss to an irritated Team Canada. German coach and former NHL defenseman Uwe Krupp couldn't hide his disappointment during the postgame news conference. "As an underdog, we were hoping to make things a little uncomfortable for Canada," Krupp said. "We couldn't do it. In the first period we had no scoring chances, and we were barely able to get a shot on goal."

After the game, German defenseman Christian Ehrhoff was quick to predict Russia will beat Canada in the quarterfinals. I don't know why a guy who plays for a Canadian NHL team in the very city where these Olympics are being contested would make a public statement picking against Canada.

Maybe Ehrhoff is seeking a way out of town. Or maybe he just wasn't thinking after having his doors blown off by Canada. Either way, I don't know how Ehrhoff could have much of an opinion, as the Germans haven't played the Russians in the tournament. Based on Ehrhoff's public assessment, I guess the Germans should be real happy about that.

That was Tuesday's news, though. Here are a few thoughts about each of Wednesday's quarterfinals.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.