SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers rooting for Canada-USA final

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:58 AM ET

Is that sunburn, or Olympic fever?

While most of the Edmonton Oilers flocked to sandy beaches all over the world during the Olympic break, their thoughts are all about snow and ice right now.

From speedskating to bobsleigh, the Winter Games in Vancouver have caught their attention big time.

"It's been a lot of fun to watch, I love the Winter Olympics," said Minnesota-born Tom Gilbert, who's become a big fan of curling.

"I didn't know anything about curling until I came to Canada. It's such a slow sport but it's so entertaining. I've played it once before and it's so much fun. I can't turn it off."

Nothing is captivating the players' attention more, however, than the hockey tournament.

With a trio of Americans on the team, Gilbert, Patrick O'Sullivan and Ryan Potulny, a USA-Canada final would bring the room to a standstill.

"It would be great for hockey in general," said O'Sullivan.

"Nothing against the other countries, but viewership would be off the charts, as long as NBC doesn't put it on some tech channel that nobody has. (Canada-USA) is what we're all pulling for, even though we have Lubo (Visnovsky playing for Slovakia) still in the tournament. That game will be the most watched hockey game ever, for sure."

America won the first meeting, despite being badly outshot and outplayed, but after watching Canada trounce Russia, they're not so sure about a rematch.

"Right now we can do the bragging but I don't want to eat my own words," said Gilbert. "The Canadians played a great game last game."

Of course, there is still a very talented Slovakian team to deal with, first, and former Olympic coach Pat Quinn promises the Slovaks won't be an easy mark.

"They (the Canadians) look good right now but they've got some challenges in front of them," Quinn said.

"Slovakia has some skill. If you relax a little bit and don't apply that same intensity, that same physical presence (as they did against Russia), the Slovaks have a good enough team to beat you."


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