Team USA, Team Canada Women's Hockey: How Much Is Too Much?

Tonight's Healthy ScratchesCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 14:  Meghan Duggan of the United States fights for a loose puck in the crease against Yao Shi #30 of China during their women's ice hockey preliminary game at UBC Thunderbird Arena on February 14, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.   (Photo by Gene J. Puskar-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

Remember that line in Disney's the Mighty Ducks, it's not worth winning if you can't win big? Well, the Canadian and United States women's hockey teams clearly took that mantra to heart.

The two clear-cut favorites for the gold medal outscored their opponents this weekend by a margin of 40-1.

Saturday evening, the Canadian team broke their own record for biggest lopsided victory, which they set in Torino defeating Italy 16-0, by blanking Slovakia 18-0.

Early today, Team USA also thumped their opponent, blasting China 12-1.

This brings up the question: How much is too much?

I might have felt bad for the Slovakian team had I not read that they were on the opposite side of the coin during the Vancouver qualifying games not too long ago.

Forget the opposite side of the coin, but they might as well have been in the opposite pocket, in a bank, on the opposite side of the globe with what they did to Bulgaria.

Canada's 18-goal thrashing of Slovakia, where they outshot their opponent 67-9, was nothing in comparison to the Slovakia-Bulgaria matchup.

As a matter of fact, Saturday's game would have been considered close and down to the wire.

Slovakia woman-handled the Bulgarian team 82-0 in 2008.


Like Slovakia, who made their Olympic debut against Canada last night, Bulgaria was also a newcomer to the sport.

I know that the Olympics are the grandest stage in the world of sports, and everything should be left out on the line while competing, but should there be a mercy rule implemented in future Games?

I mean, at least until more nations can prove they are on pace with Team Canada and USA?

The only other team that poses much of a threat to the two North American powerhouses is Team Sweden. The Swedes captured the silver medal in 2006 after they gave the U.S. their only loss of the tournament, during a breathtaking 3-2 game in the semi-finals.

Outside of Team USA and Canada, the competition is pretty tight. Sweden backed up their silver-medal performance in Torino, opening up the preliminary rounds with a 3-0 victory over Switzerland on Saturday morning.

Earlier today, Finland defeated the Russian Federation by a score of 5-1.

Despite the North American dominance—USA won the first gold medal, Canada has won the last two—women's hockey has never had a problem drawing interest at the Olympics since it's inclusion in the 1998 Games.

Canada faces off against Switzerland tomorrow, while USA will skate with the Russian Federation on Tuesday.