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Hockey

Canada’s Men’s Hockey Team is GOLDEN !!!

canda gold

And the final GOLD goes to … CANADA !!!

The early morning game went off and Team Canada brought home the Gold once again besting Sweden 3 to 0 …

Well Done Team Canada.


Advice for the Men’s Hockey Team

1912288_10152229201052209_1009732988_nCourtesy: my cuz on Facebook

If the women can do it, then all the men have to do is play like girls…

Tee Hee …

Will it be a Gold Medal Clean Sweep? Stay tuned to find out.


Canadian Women’s Hockey Team is GOLD !!!

womens hockey gold medal

Feb 20, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Team Canada celebrates winning the gold medal as team USA (who won silver) skates by in the background in the women’s ice hockey gold medal game during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Ice Dome. Canada won 3-2 in overtime.

Courtesy:Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports


In the Middle of it all …

This photo was talked about on the news particularly the fact that these two were on the ground amid all the destruction that was going on around them. It hit Tumblr earlier tonight.

You wonder what they were doing there and if anyone else in the photo was paying attention to them.

*** *** *** ***

This from the CBC news website

CBC.ca’s online hunt for Vancouver’s kissing couple …

The search for the couple began on Twitter shortly after 10 a.m. ET Thursday.

Tweet.

Our followers immediately retweeted, and within minutes tips began trickling in.

At first the sense was the photo was actually staged, or even art. Or was it an homage to “The Kiss,” an art show staged at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 2010?

Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.Tweet.

And then a second image of the couple appeared, this time on Facebook.

Seen from a rooftop, the couple looked far less romantic than they did in the first shot, which led many to speculate about the couple’s condition – and whether the woman in the couple had suffered a medical emergency.

The search for the couple spread, around Canada and then to the U.S.

Tweet. Tweet.

It wasn’t long before the couple – or at least their image – began to appear in all sorts of unlikely places.

Tweet. Tweet.

Yet as the fun got underway, many still doubted the legitimacy of the image.

Tweet.

At 3:25 p.m. ET, Esquire, which earlier had declared the photo:

Tweet.

published an interview with the photographer who snapped the iconic pic, Rich Lam of Getty. “It was complete chaos,” Lam wrote for Esquire of the riots. He was running from riot police when he “noticed in the space behind the line of police that two people were laying in the street … [with] a raging fire just beyond them.”

“I knew I had captured a ‘moment’ when I snapped the still forms against the backdrop of such chaos,” Lam told Esquire.

Tweet.

Lam told the Vancouver Sun he has more pictures of the couple that he’s prepared to release.

In the meantime, the search for the couple continues. Will they come forward? Do they even know they’re being sought?

Do you know the couple? If you can help us identify them, email us at yournews@cbc.ca


Downtown Vancouver ablaze after rioters run amok following Canuck Cup loss

Vancouver gets the big black mark for sportsmanship. A very sad outcome after a week of prideful good behavior. We are ashamed of you Vancouver… You did not do Canada proud.

Courtesy: The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – Parts of downtown Vancouver erupted in flames, explosive booms thundered through the air and looters smashed windows and ran amok inside department stores Wednesday after the city’s Stanley Cup run ended in bitter defeat.

Weeks of well-behaved crowds watching the Vancouver Canucks march toward Game 7 of the NHL final ended abruptly in violence and vandalism that erupted even before the 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins was officially over.

The riot shattered the wholesome legacy of the nightly parties hosted on the same streets during the 2010 Olympics — an experience that had the city’s mayor and police chief confidently proclaiming Vancouver had “matured” since similar riots in 1994.

Police officers from around the region flooded into downtown and Mayor Gregor Robertson said things were getting under control, but the images and atmosphere that lingered late into the night suggested otherwise.

Gregor said there had been no fatalities, though he had to be asked the question twice.

Fights broke out and people were seen falling on broken glass.

At the flagship Bay store, looters jumped inside and were seen grabbing T-shirts and anything else they could get their hands on. Young women were seen escaping with MAC cosmetics. One girl carried out part of a mannequin.

The landmark building was filling with smoke as rioters, their faces covered in bandannas, continued the violence. Almost none were wearing hockey jerseys.

For many, the ugly chaos added a vicious sting to an already painful loss.

“This isn’t what the Canucks are about,” said Chad McMillan, 31, a Vancouver resident and lifelong Canucks fan.

“This isn’t what their fans are about, this isn’t what this city is about.”

Police in riot gear attempted to cordon the violence, but ambulances also appeared to be having trouble getting inside the zone to help the wounded.

The smoke from the fires and from police tear gas and pepper spray was choking.

Flames leaped from at least two flipped vehicles, which rested in the middle of trash-strewn streets, filling the downtown core with heavy black smoke in the moments immediately following the game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena.

“I heard a loud noise and turned and there was a car being stomped on by a bunch of guys,” 18-year-old witness Brandon Sinclair said of the first few moments of violence.

“A bunch of guys started rocking it, then they flipped it over and five minutes later it was on fire and then they flipped another one. It was just out of control.”

Bright orange flames were seen shooting nearly 10 metres into the air as bystanders tossed firecrackers, setting off intermittent barrages of staccato explosions.

Live television images showed a large fire burning inside a parking garage, but it wasn’t immediately clear what was ablaze.

Patrick Fleming, 15, from Richmond, B.C., said a small group of fans took out their anger on nearby cars in the game’s dying moments, flipping over two vehicles and setting one on fire.

Another upturned vehicle was visible nearby as flames erupted from the exploding car, prompting bystanders to duck down in alarm. Fans who were trying simply to get out of the danger zone found their visibility reduced to zero by the thick black smoke.

About an hour after the game ended, some bold troublemakers started hurling garbage and bottles at police officers, who deflected the debris with riot shields. Protesters who rushed the police line were quickly subdued with blows from a truncheon.

Some protesters held what looked like pipes or hockey sticks over their heads as they jeered at officers. Newspaper boxes were wrenched off the sidewalk and hurled through store windows. Portable toilets were tipped as the stifling black smoke spread through the city’s core.

Some seemed to revel in the rampage, recording the vandalism on cellphones and video cameras. A few congratulated those who tried to attack police, while others erupted with cheers every time something was damaged.

At one point, police were using flash-bangs — grenades that are designed to distract and disorient, rather than injure — to try to break up the mob.

There were no details about injuries, although live television showed images of at least one woman mopping blood from her forehead. Another report said at least one person had been stabbed. Fights and skirmishes erupted all over.

“You don’t ever hope for a situation like this,” said Vancouver police Const. Jana McGuinness.

“You celebrate the good times and you prepare for the bad times and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Unfortunately, the tables have turned tonight.”

Som Gosh, 16, said police blocked off the area and detained a number of people, but it did little to quell the violence.

“I think it was a few people … Everybody else is watching, some are cheering,” Gosh said.

As he spoke, another fire erupted nearby in an area littered with abandoned Canucks memorabilia and hand-lettered signs expressing support for the team. The violence appeared to start when fans set fire to a stuffed bear decorated to symbolize the Bruins. Others sang a drunken tune as they danced on an overturned vehicle.

Some members of the crowd could be seen trying to hold others back as the rampage continued. Many — including families with children — tried to flee, panicked.

Most of the people in the downtown core wanted no part of the violence and headed in the opposite direction. A long line of police tried to hold the surging crowd back from the blazing cars.

Though the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt midway through the third period, a hail of beer bottles rained down on giant outdoor television screens as soon as the final buzzer sounded.

The scene was vividly similar to one in 1994, when a Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers prompted a similar stampede of boozy mayhem in the downtown core.

This time, police tried to nip the violence in the bud by closing liquor and beer stores early, but it appeared to have no effect.

Said McGuinness: “We will have to sit down and evaluate exactly what happened here. It’s going to be a black mark for a very, very long time.”

Pandemonium reigned as some fans chanted obscenities about the winning team, leaping over bonfires that raged in the street as riot police moved in to try to restore order. Isolated fights broke out between small groups of drunken fans.

Police and firemen stood nearby, but did not intervene right away. If a pedestrian happened to be heading in a direction of danger, however, officials warned them to turn around.

At least two young men covered in soot reported being roughed up by the police, but they weren’t arrested. Rivers of poured-out alcohol, broken glass and trash made navigating the streets of the downtown a treacherous task.

Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo, who is sure to come in for heavy criticism for Vancouver’s Cup loss, was among the heroes of that game, which Canada won 3-2 in overtime.


Canadian Gold Medalist(s) #14

By Eric Duhatschek, The Globe and Mail

He waited until the final moment – with Canada teetering on the brink of a national panic attack – before Sidney Crosby put his mark on this game, this gold medal, this emerging legacy.

Timing as they say is everything.

In a game for the ages, it was Crosby – the leader of Canada’s Generation Next – who scored the golden goal 7:40 into overtime, leading Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team to a thrill-a-minute 3-2 victory over their arch rivals from the United States.

Crosby, who was 14 and watching Canada’s 2002 Olympic championships on television, played give-and-go with one of the key players on that team, Jarome Iginla, to score the winning goal and salvage a game that was hanging in the balance.

On the play, Crosby gave the puck to Iginla deep in the U.S. zone and then drove hard to the net. Iginla – with U.S. defenceman Ryan Suter draped across his back – heard Crosby call out ‘Iggy’ and passed it back. Crosby shot the puck without looking. Magically, it found its way between the pads of goaltender Ryan Miller, ending the tense drama and sending the capacity crowd at Canada Hockey Place into paroxysms of joy.

Afterwards, Crosby said he didn’t even see the puck enter the net. He only knew it was in when he heard the crowd roar.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Crosby. “To have a chance to score in overtime, here in Canada, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Crosby had had a relatively quiet tournament by his standards, fitting in nicely as a piece of the puzzle on a team that relied on balanced scoring, mostly from its emerging young nucleus. It was fitting therefore that Crosby saved the best for last.

“Guys like that find a way,” said defenceman Chris Pronger.

It was Canada’s eighth Olympic gold medal overall in men’s hockey and they became the first to win on home ice since the U.S. did it in 1980’s ‘Miracle On Ice.’

Crosby was one of a handful of players who had a chance to put the game away in regulation. Canada nursed a 2-1 lead into the final minute of play; prior to that, Crosby had been denied on a breakaway with about three minutes to go and both Pronger and Shea Weber hit the post early in the third period.

Normally, in the rhythm of any hockey game, too many missed chances at one end translate into a goal at the other – and yesterday was no exception. With 25 seconds remaining in regulation; Canada getting set for a celebration; and goaltender Ryan Miller on the bench for a sixth attacker, the U.S. tied the game on a goal by Zach Parise. The sequence was potentially heart-breaking: Patrick Kane’s shot deflected off Jamie Langenbrunner’s skate right to Parise, who skated across the front of the goal crease and tucked a shot past goaltender Roberto Luongo.

To be so close to the championship – and then needing to return for four-on-four overtime – was just the final test in what had been a pressure-packed two weeks for the Canadian team. Thanks to Crosby, they survived.

According to centre Ryan Getzlaf, there wasn’t a lot said in the Canadian dressing room during the 15-minute intermission.

“Our guys did a great job – the leaders we have in that room – of staying poised and getting it done in the end,” said Getzlaf, who almost missed the Olympics because of an ankle injury suffered the week before the Games started. In the end, Getzlaf proved to be one of Canada’s most important contributors, setting up the second goal – by Corey Perry – that for the longest time looked as if it would be the game winner.

“I knew that Canada had a very good chance of winning the gold medal,” said Getzlaf, “and I wanted to be part of it. I was fortunate enough that the hockey gods blessed me to get that foot better and be back for the tournament.”

Getzlaf played with Crosby on Canada’s 2005 world junior hockey championship team.

“That’s Sid for you,” said Getzlaf. “There’s a reason he’s the best player in the world. He always shows up in those big moments and scores those big goals.”

It was a wonderfully played game on many levels – close-and-tight checking to start, with strong goaltending at both ends throughout. The nerves and what players like to call the “compete” level were at a fever pitch throughout. There was a moment when the cameras caught Iginla smiling on the bench after a particularly hard shift, talking to Crosby. Could it really have been fun too?

“We’d been talking together all tournament as a line – and communicating with each other,” said Iginla. On the winning goal, according to Iginla, Crosby “was yelling pretty urgently. There are different pitches of yells; this was loud.

“Sid, he just keeps going. He could have scored on that breakaway in regulation, but he’s a positive guy, and it was awesome to see it go in.”

A sentiment that was seconded all across Canada Sunday.


Team Canada caps Golden Games with a thrilling overtime win over the United States

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – Canada has capped the Golden Games with the medal that matters, beating the United States 3-2 in an Olympic hockey overtime thriller at Canada Hockey Place.

Sidney Crosby scored on a low shot through Ryan Miller‘s legs seven minutes 40 seconds into overtime to decide the last medal of the Vancouver Olympics.

“I just shot it,” he told CTV. “I didn’t really see it to be honest.”

It’s Canada’s 14th gold of the Vancouver Games, breaking the record for most gold medals at a Winter Olympics. The Soviet Union, in 1976, and Norway, in 2002, each won 13.

Zach Parise sent the game into overtime, stuffing in a rebound from in-close off a Patrick Kane shot with just 24.4 seconds left and Miller on the bench.

That forced a 20-minute sudden-death overtime, played four-on-four.

Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry scored for Canada in the first and second period, respectively. Miller stood tall the rest of the game in the U.S. net.

Ryan Kesler cut the margin to 2-1 in the second period, deflecting a shot past Roberto Luongo.

The gold was Canada’s eighth in men’s hockey at the Games — and the first since Team Canada defeated the host U.S. 5-2 at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The Canadian women’s team won hockey gold Thursday, defeating the U.S. 2-0.

A wild end to regulation time saw Miller pulled with an extra attacker with 1:30 left to play.

Parise, the Americans’ best forward in the tournament, tied the game and forced OT as Kane’s shot went off Jamie Langenbrunner‘s skate to the front of the net where Parise slipped it past Luongo.

Toews and Perry spotted Canada a 2-0 lead before Kesler scored on a deflection in the second period for the U.S.

The packed stands at Canada Hockey Place were like a giant party for flag- and sign-waving revellers dressed in Canadian red and white.

The Canadian men did it in a game that outmatched even a Stanley Cup final in pace and ferocity, as thundering hits were made on both sides and the NHL referees mostly kept their whistles in their pockets and let them battle.

As in 2002 in Salt Lake City, Canada took gold in both men’s and women’s hockey — this time in the first Olympic tournament held on the smaller NHL-size ice surface.

The Canadian team looked to be in trouble after losing 5-3 to the U.S. in their final preliminary round game a week earlier.

But as they did in Salt Lake, they improved with each game and found the cohesion and intensity to claw their way into the final and a chance to avenge the loss to the fast but less skilled Americans and their quick-legged Miller, who took a 1.04 goals-against average into the final.

The U.S. win in round-robin play forced Canada to play an extra elimination round game. Even though that was an easy 8-2 win over German, the sense was that the youthful American team would be fresher in the third period of the final and they were.

But in a wild third, Canada’s Shea Weber and Chris Pronger hit goalposts in the first two minutes, Dany Heatley just failed to lift a puck over sprawled Miller 10 minutes in, and Crosby, held without a point in the final three games, lost the handle on the puck on a late breakaway thanks to determined backchecking from Kane.

At the other end, Luongo held his ground and the defence kept shooters out of the goal area in a bid to preserve the win.

The opening minutes of the game saw heavy hitting from both sides, particularly U.S. defenceman Brooks Orpik who nearly put Heatley into the players bench, but Canada did not allow the Americans to establish pressure in their zone.

Toews connected 12:50 into the game as the Chicago centre and Mike Richards combined to win battles for the puck near the net against Erik Johnson and Paul Stastny and Richards pushed it to Toews for high shot from in close.

It was the first of the tournament for perhaps Canada’s most consistent forward and marked the first time the U.S. had trailed in a game.

Canada had just completed its first penalty kill when Ryan Getzlaf skated into the U.S. and zone and saw his pass go off Ryan Whitney‘s skate to Perry alone in front for a quick shot and his fourth goal at 8:25.

Just as the flag and sign-waving crowd began to party in the seats, the U.S. struck back as Kane snapped a shot that went off the shaft of Kesler’s stick and trickled through Luongo’s equipment at 12:44.

Between periods, Kesler told a TV interviewer he felt his Vancouver teammate Luongo was fighting the puck, as he had in previous games.

Canada became the first country to win hockey gold on home ice since the American Miracle On Ice team from the 1980 Games in Lake Placid.

It was a first loss at these Games for the Americans. The last hockey team to go undefeated at the Olympics was the Soviet Union, which was 5-0 in Calgary in 1988.

Both referees Bill McCreary and Dan O’Halloran, as well as linesman Jean Morin are Canadian. The other linesman was Stefan Fonselius of Finland.

The full house was also packed with celebrities, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, singers Neil Young and Bryan Adams, actors William Shatner and Vince Vaughn, and from the sports world, golfer Mike Weir and hockey greats Gordie Howe and Mark Messier.

Notes— It was the 17th meeting between Canada and the U.S. in Olympic history. Canada leads the series (10-3-3)… Coach Mike Babcock wore his lucky McGill University tie for the game. He is (5-2) all-time with the tie, with both losses in overtime… In the pre-game warmup, Crosby stopped to tie a skate lace and his former Pittsburgh teammate, American Ryan Malone, slid a couple pucks toward him to try to hit his gloves on the ice. Malone smiled, Crosby didn’t react.


CANADA WINS GOLD !!! Sudden Death Overtime Crosby for the WIN !!!! Canada 3 U.S.A. 2 … Canadian Gold Medalist(s) #14

By Jamie Bell, CTVOlympics.ca

Canada is once again on top of the hockey world as they have defeated the United States 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game at the Olympic hockey tournament.

Sidney Crosby was the overtime hero as he beat Ryan Miller mid-way through the extra-frame.

While Roberto Luongo was criticized prior to the tournament for his lack of big game experience, he has likely silenced those doubters as he made 34 saves in the victory.

Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry also scored for Canada, while Ryan Kesler and Zach Parise responded for the United States.

The win secures Canada’s 14th gold medal at the Games, setting an all-time Olympic record.

Along with the gold medal, Canada was also able to regain bragging rights on continental supremacy after the Americans beat Team Canada 5-3 earlier in the tournament.

It is a jam packed house at Canada Hockey Place that was littered with Canadian-born celebrities like Neil Young, Michael J. Fox, Bryan Adams, William Shatner and Prime Minister Stephen Harper sporting his Canada jersey.

They were treated to a fast-paced and hard-hitting encounter between a pair of rivals who know each other very well.

Canada drew first blood as Mike Richards separated Erik Johnson from the puck with a strong forechecking effort. Ryan Miller kicked out Richards shot but Jonathan Toews was there to bury the rebound for his first of the tournament to send a packed house at Canada Hockey Place into a frenzy.

The bad blood nearly boiled over at the end of the period as Jack Johnson drilled Corey Perry into the boards after the final buzzer. Ryan Getzlaf did not like that one bit as he went back at Johnson. The referees had to break up a skirmish as both teams headed to the dressing room with Canada holding a one-goal advantage.

Perry got his revenge on the scoreboard as adding to Canada’s lead in the second period. After killing off a penalty to Eric Staal, Canada went on the attack as Getzlaf lofted a backhander at the American net. Miller kicked out a rebound directly into the path of Perry who hammered home his fourth goal of the tournament, giving Canada a two-goal advantage.

That would be short-lived as the Americans were able to respond late in the period thanks to the quick hands of Kesler in front as he tipped Patrick Kane’s shot past his Vancouver Canucks’ teammate Luongo to pull the United States within a goal.

With all the momentum behind them, the Americans buzzed around Luongo’s net with Ryan Suter coming close to equalizing with a backhanded effort that just trickled wide.

Canada came out flying in the final frame, nearly adding to their lead with less than a minute in as both Shea Weber and Chris Pronger drives beat Miller but found iron instead of glory.

The Canadians continued to heap on the offensive pressure as Dany Heatley had a great chance to give Canada a two-goal lead, but was denied twice by Miller at the side of the net.

Sidney Crosby had a great opportunity to salt this one away with just over three minutes remaining as he was sprung on a break. Miller was equal to the task once again to keep his team in this one.

With just over a minute remaining, American head coach Ron Wilson called a time-out to rally his troops and pull Miller from the net.

The gambit paid off as Parise was able to beat Luongo to silence the crowd and send this epic encounter to overtime.
Canada had the better chances in overtime, but once again Ryan Miller has continued his stellar play, robbing Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash on great scoring opportunities.

But Miller’s luck ran out as Crosby was able to shovel home his fourth of the tournament to secure the victory and give the country the golden moment they had been waiting for.


Canada outlasts Slovakia to earn date with USA

By Jamie Bell, CTVOlympics.ca

For the second time since NHL players began participating in the Olympics, Canada will face the United States in the gold medal game thanks to a 3-2 victory over Slovakia Friday.

After controlling the play for the majority of the game, Canada gave up two goals late in this one and then held on for the victory.

Patrick Marleau, Brenden Morrow and Ryan Getzlaf had the goals for Canada while Lubomir Visnovsky and Michal Handzus replied for the Slovaks.

Roberto Luongo was stellar for two periods but looked shaky in the final frame; however he came up with his biggest save when Canada needed him most.

It was a frenetic closing two minutes in this one as the Slovaks threw everything they had at the Canadian net looking for an equalizer, but Pavol Demitra was robbed by Luongo with less than 10 seconds on the clock on a shot that would have sent this one to OT.

It appeared as though Canada was going to cruise in this one as tipped goals by Marleau and Morrow in the first period gave the Canadians a two goal lead early.

When Getzlaf made it 3-0 thanks to a power play goal in the second period the Canadian fans sensed that the rout was on.

With just five minutes into the third period, the Canadian supporters began to get impatient, chanting “We want the USA,” as it appeared that the Canadian lead was safe and a Sunday date with the United States looked inevitable.

But the Slovaks were not ready to go down quietly. On a delayed penalty Visnovsky’s backhand trickled past Luongo on a shot that the Canadian goalie would have loved to have back. Suddenly Canada’s lead was down to two.

Slovakia continued to pour on the pressure as Richard Zednik circled the net. His shot was stopped but Michal Handzus was there to clean up the garbage and pull Slovakia within one. All of a sudden the rematch with the United States did not look so inevitable.

With Halak pulled in favour of the extra attacker Slovakia had the Canadians on their heels and scrambling in their own zone. That’s when Luongo came up with the save that has already been dubbed ‘the glove from above’ to stone Demitra and send Canada Hockey Place into a frenzy.

As the final buzzer sounded it was largely a sense of relief as Canada had earned their rematch with the United States who beat them 5-3 earlier in the tournament.

The United States will also be looking to settle the score after Canada captured the gold on American soil in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Slovakia will now go on to face Finland in Saturday’s bronze medal game.


Canadian Gold Medalist(s) #8

By Rachel Brady, CTVOlympics.ca

Home-ice pressure? No problem.

The Canadian women’s hockey team has embraced a nation’s desire for hockey gold and it has delivered just that.

Led by an 18-year-old scoring phenom and a goalie most considered the sure No.3 just a few months ago, Canada skated to a confident 2-0 win over its rivals from the United States, and seized its third straight Olympic gold medal.

Marie-Philip Poulin of Beauceville, Que. scored two goals on U.S. netminder Jessie Vetter – both in the first period — to lead the charge in just her first Olympic Games.

The rest of the game was scoreless for both teams. Shannon Szabados was impenetrable in the Canadian net, making 28 saves, many of them the sort that made jaws drop and the crowd erupt. The native of Edmonton, Alta., made several of her signature sprawling glove saves, giving her team a huge burst of momentum.

Also a first-time Olympian, Szabados was a big part of a disciplined Canadian penalty-killing effort that killed off numerous U.S powerplays, including a critical five-on-three early in the second period.

Canada’s women errupted in celebration before a deafening crowd as the final buzzer sounded, piling onto Szabados for their long awaited victory hug.

As the two teams received their medals, there was an outpouring of sportsmanship from the fans for Finland, the bronze medallists and particularly for the silver-medal-winning rivals from the U.S. The entire building — Canadian and American fans alike — chanted ‘U-S-A’ as the U.S. players received their silver rewards.


Canada thumps Russia to advance to semifinals

By Eric Duhatschek, CTVOlympics.ca

VANCOUVER – OK, nobody saw that coming.

In one of the most hyped, heralded and anticipated hockey games ever played, Canada unleashed a devastating first-period attack Wednesday night to crush Russia, the defending world champions and in some people’s minds, the gold-medal favorite, in a men’s Olympic hockey quarter-final game.

In all, Canada scored six goals on 23 shots in just over 24 minutes to play to stun Russia’s stylish, but on this night, badly overmatched men’s team.

The defeat by a 7-3 final score sent the Russians home to await the start of the 2014 Games in Sochi, where the hope is they may even show up to play. Canada, meanwhile, moves on to the semi-finals Friday to face either the defending Olympic champions Sweden or Slovakia.

It was a game in which everything went Canada’s way, from the moment the puck was dropped between Jonathan Toews and Russia’s No. 1 centre Evgeni Malkin. Canadian coach Mike Babcock cobbled together a checking line consisting of Toews, Mike Richards and Rick Nash, with Nash drawing the task of shadowing Russia’s all-world scoring sensation, Alex Ovechkin.

Nash had been Canada’s most physical forward in this tournament and physically, the best equipped to go head-to-head against Ovechkin, who’d knocked the Czech star Jaromir Jagr right out of the tournament in an earlier game. But Nash was strong against Ovechkin all night – or as long as it mattered, which was probably no more than the early stages of the second period, by which time Canada had the game sealed and delivered.

Richards was just as good, hounding Malkin, a frequent NHL adversary in the Pittsburgh Penguins-Philadelphia Flyers’ rivalry. Richards’ play, to strip Malkin of the puck just inside the Russian blue line with Canada holding a 2-0 first-period lead, may have been the turning point in the game. Richards moved the puck up to Toews on a quick transitional play, who then found Nash breaking into the clear.

Russian goaltender Evgeni Nabokov committed two beats too soon on the play and was flat on his side by the time Nash buried a shot into the top half of the net.

Nabokov had an awful night and when he gave up a cheapie to Brenden Morrow in the final two minutes of the opening period, it seemed certain that Russian coach Slava Bykov would yank him for the start of the second period. Bykov didn’t – much to his ever-lasting chagrin.

Canada scored twice more within the first 4:07 of the second to go up 6-1 and at that point, back-up goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov finally came in off the bench – too little, too late to save the Russians’ medal hopes.

Canada also received a strong game from the newly formed line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Morrow, who accounted for four of the seven goals. Getzlaf scored the all-important opening goal; Perry counted twice in the second, to snuff out any possible hope of a Russian comeback. Getzlaf and Perry play in the NHL for the Anaheim Ducks, the team that made Nabokov’s life miserable in last year’s opening playoff round.

For Canada, the pattern of building and improving as a team throughout the tournament is standard practice in the Olympics’ NHL era – the only concern usually is if they run out of time. As it turns out, playing an extra game in the qualification round against Germany one night earlier may have done them a world of good. That was the first time they started to get comfortable as a team, following a week of changes and experiments with line combinations, some of which worked, and others that didn’t.

So Canada gets a day off now before resuming play and if it is Sweden that stands in its path, they will pose a real threat. The two teams haven’t met since the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, when Sweden won in a walk.

It was hard to imagine the frantic pace of the wildly entertaining opening 20 minutes could be sustained – and realistically, from Babcock’s perspective, the Canadians wouldn’t have wanted it to anyway. Trading chances with the Russians is never a good idea – and it makes even less sense when you’re holding a big lead. The third period developed into a grind-it-out NHL sort of game, perfectly suited to Canada’s purposes.

The crowd at Canada Hockey Place had to content itself by mocking Ovechkin with the cry, “Ovie, Ovie” whenever the Russian touched the puck.

The test now will be to harness the emotion Canada had off the start and see if they can reach that fervor pitch again in time to play Slovakia or Sweden.

In 2006, when Russia won the meeting against Canada in the quarter-final, they fell apart in the final two games, failing to score in either the semi-final or the bronze medal game.


Canada books date with Russia in quarterfinals

By Eric Duhatschek, CTVOlympics.ca

VANCOUVER – So now it comes down to this: Canada-Russia on Wednesday in men’s Olympic hockey, the winner to go on, the loser to go home.

It doesn’t get much better, from any perspective – the drama, the history, the emerging rivalry between the world’s two best players, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.

Theoretically, the Russia-Canada match-up would have been better as the gold-medal final, but since that cannot happen, ticket holders for the second of Wednesday’s four quarter-final match-ups will be rewarded with a view of history, Canada trying to stay alive to win a hometown Olympic hockey medal, Russia standing in its way.

Canada took the necessary first step by defeating Germany 8-2 in Tuesday’s qualification-round game. As expected, the overmatched Germans gave it their all, understanding that an exceptional goaltending performance, or even a bit of good fortune, can help an underdog in a one-game, winner-take-all showdown.

But ultimately, Canada’s edge in every department – scoring, goaltending, special teams – tilted the scales in its favor. Joe Thornton‘s first goal of the tournament 10:13 into the opening period put Canada ahead to stay against an offensively challenged German team that had been previously shut out twice in the tournament.

Still, the Canadian team didn’t really collectively exhale until on odd sequence early in the second period, when Shea Weber‘s slap shot from the point passed right through the net. Play continued until the next stoppage, at which point a video review confirmed that an actual goal had been scored.

The referees put 38 seconds back on the clock and while the Germans collectively digested that unfortunate series of events, Jarome Iginla potted a power-play goal just over a minute later, making it 3-0 Canada and ending the suspense. Iginla eventually added a second goal, his fifth of the tournament, as the Canadians wore down Thomas Greiss’s resistance in the German goal.

As a player, Weber resembles the early Al MacInnis, someone who can occasionally be wild high with a devastating slap shot. But Weber’s shot is a weapon and it has been the only one that consistently sifted through from the point for Canada throughout the tournament.

From a Canadian perspective, the key to victory on Tuesday was not expending too much emotional energy in advance of the Russian game, something that can be acutely draining to a team playing for the second time in two nights.

That four-goal cushion at the midpoint of the game permitted coach Mike Babcock to run four lines and preserve the legs for tonight’s encounter against Russia.

Babcock’s new line combinations worked reasonably well, with Eric Staal nicely complementing Iginla and Crosby by providing strong corner work for the unit.

Naturally, Russia will represent a different kind of challenge. As the home team, Russia’s coach, Slava Bykov, will have the last line change; it remains to be seen whether Bykov will play a match-up game or simply roll lines. Potentially, Crosby could go head-to-head against his Pittsburgh Penguins’ teammate, Evgeni Malkin, who currently centers Ovechkin’s line.

“It’s going to be crazy,” predicted Russia’s Sergei Fedorov. “The fans will cheer for Team Canada. They will get great support.”

Marcel Goc broke Roberto Luongo‘s shutout attempt late in the second period, the first goal Luongo has permitted in the tournament. Greiss stopped Crosby on a second-period penalty shot; otherwise, the overall damage could have been worse.

Crosby, Mike Richards, Scott Niedermayer and Nash rounded out the scoring with third-period goals, turning the game into a rout.

On Thornton’s all-important ice-breaking first goal, Dany Heatley made an athletic play from behind the net to trap the bouncing puck in front of German defenceman Christian Ehrhoff and get it out in front to Thornton, who banged it in from the top of the crease.

It was the sort of goal that Canada hasn’t scored often enough in this tournament – executed at high speed before Greiss could get set.

Ideally, what the Canadian shooters want are a few more uncontested chances, which happened in the third period against Norway and then not again until the second period last night, when they turned the game into a shooting gallery against Greiss.

An issue all tournament long has been the ice conditions at Canada Hockey Place. With so many games being played here – three yesterday altogether – the pucks have been bouncing like a rubber ball, one reason the players on both sides have had to hesitate sometimes when making a play, waiting to settle the puck down.

As to the fact that the Canada-Russia encounter came so early in the tournament, Fedorov was philosophical, knowing that it as unlucky for the International Ice Hockey Federation’s No. 1 rated Russians as it is for the No. 2 rated Canadians.

“That’s the way it came out,” said Fedorov. “It’s the luck of the draw.”


Sidney Crosby – Team Canada …


Monday Matters …

It was a good day overall. I did some things around the house this afternoon before I went to class. I spoke to my friend Louise, she is having a biopsy done next week to see if she has breast cancer. She is taking it one day at a time. We had a short conversation but she was distracted and concerned so I did not press the issue. We should keep her in our prayers … We were not prepared for another bout with cancer…

Rick called from Kingston, it seems that his parents had been airlifted from Florida back to Canada in the past few days. He will be out of pocket until next week. That means that Susie and I have to take care of running the late meeting and closing up shop afterwards. It will be ok…

We are working on the book of Samuel in class. Tonight we looked at 1 Samuel chapters 9 and 10. There is so much we don’t know without looking at the Hebrew translation of the Old Testament. It is all so mind boggling the number of words used and the word play that the writers and redactors added to the stories. I got a reprieve tonight from presenting my short topic paper on my chosen scriptures (Samuel chapters 24 & 26 ) … I don’t have to present my paper until the 15th of March. safe …

I have to get to work on my reworks from last term. We have a week coming for reading week in two weeks, I am hoping to knock off as much work as I can during that time, not to mention my classwork and reading that I have to do for this term as well.

I hope that Wednesday nights class is substantial. People are skeptical about that class because of the whole, throw out the schedule attitude that my prof took with it this term. We are flying by the seat of her pants and at her mercy as well. There isn’t a huge challenge and people are complaining.

One of my boys is on the verge of moving out into the world on his own after years of trauma and drama at the hands of his fucked up parents. We have been waiting for this day to come for a long time. He got a good job with good pay in San Antonio where he will be relocating to in the next week. I will get to see the work I have done with him when I travel there in July for the AA conference.

All is well here … still no snow …

We are 4 days out from the start of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics here in Canada. The weather is not cooperating and Vanoc the Olympic committee is keeping Cypress Mountain under wraps to make sure there is enough snow on the slopes for competition.There is still no snow falling from the sky and all the second chance contingency plans are being done to make sure there is ample snow on the slopes taking it from as far away as three hours on other mountains to groom the slopes for the competitions. The weather looks like rain for the end of the week, so it may be a wet start to the Olympic games.

We have seen the massive communications hub on tv Sunday night, it is incredible. Canadians are setting the bar very high with high high expectations for owning the Podium these Olympics …

I hope that happens because we are setting ourselves up for a big fall if we don’t hit the marks across the board. There is such hype over the Men’s and women’s Canadian hockey team right now that anything less than Gold for both is going to upset the fine balance of hysteria that is overtaking the country when it comes to hockey. The pressure is palpable. I imagine that the athletes are under immense pressure to perform up to spec.

If they fail to attain Gold in the finals of Men’s Hockey, there is going to be a countrywide FUNK !!!! It is all over the news tonight. We still don’t have word on the final torch bearer but speculation is running rampant, maybe we will find out before the games start, but that is a closely guarded secret.  Friday will be a big day for Canada, as we welcome the world to Vancouver…

That’s all for now. More to come stay tuned …


The Trophy Voodoo: You can't touch this, or can you?

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Much has been written since Tuesday night when Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby(notes) went against all that the hockey gods teach us and decided to touch the Prince of Wales Trophy, later carrying it off the RBC Center ice.

Crosby’s reason for breaking tradition? He left it alone a year ago and things didn’t work out quite as planned.

One could say the “to touch/not to touch” debate is all hooey, especially since Detroit Red Wings captain Niklas Lidstrom left the Clarence Campbell Bowl alone after the Western Conference champions advanced to last year’s Stanley Cup finals — and that ended fairly successfully for Detroit.

It’s all a matter of superstition, something for which NHL players are famously known.

The Toronto Star’s Damian Cox? Not a fan of such superstitions:

Well, thank goodness for Sidney Crosby.

The Kid ended (hopefully) one of the truly moronic semi-traditions in hockey Tuesday night after the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the Eastern Conference crown by sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes.

In recent years, team after team had declined even to touch the trophies for winning the Eastern or Western Conference, with the silly excuse being “that wasn’t the trophy they wanted” in their pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

Even Crosby bought into it last year when the Pens won the east. But Tuesday night, he gratefully accepted the Prince of Wales Trophy from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, then carried it away into the arms of his joyous teammates.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Cox also doesn’t believe in avoiding the logo on the floor of team lockers rooms, too.

Last night, subbing for injured captain Nicklas Lidstrom(notes), Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg(notes) went with what worked for the Red Wings last season and kept his paws off the Campbell Bowl. Unlike Crosby and the Penguins, not touching the trophy worked for the Red Wings, so why bother with tradition?

Over at PensBurgh, Hooks Orpik believes that trophy presentations are a reason to celebrate a season’s accomplishments:

First of all, I’m happy the Sidney Crosby picked up the Prince of Wales trophy, posed for a few pictures and nonchalantly skated off the ice.

[…]

And while that’s all well and good, a perfectly fine message to have, the Penguins deserved to have the happy moment to recognize their monumental achievement for such a huge season turnaround.

Digging into their hockey archives, ESPN found four instances since 1991 when a team’s captain lifted their conference trophy and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Mario Lemieux (1991) and Scott Stevens (2000, 2003) both bucked tradition and left fingerprints on the Prince of Wales trophy. In 1997, Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman had no fear and lifted the Clarence Campbell Bowl and a week later was celebrating a Stanley Cup victory.

So, like many hockey superstitions and traditions, they may not make any sense to some fans or writers; but to the players, they’re an important part of the hockey culture.

Whether it’s tossing your cookies before a game, growing facial hair between the months of April and June, or becoming bosom buddies with the goal posts, these superstitions are one of the things that make hockey as unique as it is.