Sunday, February 28, 2010

USA vs Canada for "All the Marbles!"

No question that all my predictions went out the window during the very first week of the Olympics, but that goes to show you that (1) I either know nothing about hockey, OR (2) that being such a short tournament - similar to the actual game of hockey itself - situations can turn with the flip of the puck or change in momentum (and I'd really like to think I do know at least a little about hockey!)!! ; P

Yesterday, Finland and Slovakia played with the Bronze medal on the line. It was a pretty even start with Slovakia quickly catching onto Finland and scoring goals leaving them on top until the third period in which the Finns pulled out strong to finally earn the Bronze!!

My predictions were Russia (Gold), Canada (Silver), Sweden (Bronze) ... I KNOW, don't even start on me (I didn't even expect the USA to medal, but that was only because I was taking into account the youth and inexperience of most of the players, so HUSH!)!! I'm hoping that I can redeem myself somewhat by Canada losing against the USA and their getting the silver (and USA coming out on top). Anyway, both Russia and Sweden were eliminated quicker than [I had / a lot of people] expected and only lasted up until the elimination round.

Regardless of the outcome, this will be a pretty exciting game and one that I'm anxious to watch (neither team has anything to be asshamed of as they both did quite well throughout the tournament). And for those of you who believe that USA will defeat Canada with no problem simply because of the result of the last time these two played ... I say to you, that means nothing and they both are starting from square one today (Canada definitely got a wake-up call and they'll be better prepared for Team USA today ... mark my words!)!!

As an extremely touching tribute during today's game, Team USA will be honoring soldiers wounded in battle in either Iraq or Afghanistan for the Gold-Medal game. In a program they've called "Operation Homefront," all 23 players making up the team will be playing for an individual soldier. Penguins own defenseman, Brooks Orpik, has been teamed up with Pittsburgh native Staff Sergeant Shawn Barber (CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE).

“It's an honor,” Barber said. “Brooks Orpik is a strong, tough, hard-nosed player that leads by example, and is solid at his position – which is how I try to lead. Growing up in Pittsburgh we pride ourselves on our toughness and hard work and I can't think of a better player to represent me, the city of Pittsburgh, or the United States.”
Another interesting sidenote of today's game, not only will Team Canada be playing to earn the Gold, but they will also be playing to put their country in the Olympic record books as Canada currently has a total of 13 which has them tied for the most (Gold medals) for a nation in the Olympics.

And not that Americans really need pumped-up for this game, but here's a little something to get your blood pumping!!! ENJOY!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Canada BIG Among Yesterday's Winners

WHAT A GAME!!! It wasn't so much the nail-biter that everyone expected, but it was quite and old-fashioned butt-whooping Canada laid on Russia last night and they came at them hard from the start (and Russia continued to look like they'd been hit by a Mack truck for most of the game and never managed to recover scoring only 3 of the 7 goals they needed to make a "comeback"). Canada was ready for Russia and they looked like that didn't know what hit them ... or in Ovi's own words,

"I think how we start the game it's like small kids and big kids play against each other and big kids dominate," Ovechkin told shortly after it was all over for Russia in these Olympics. "They got the puck deep, used their power and they scored goals. We had to at that time realize and bounce back, but it was pretty hard to when the score is 3-0. It's pretty hard."
But isn't that just like him? His talk is as big as his showboating and then he doesn't have much left for when the team really needs him to pull through (and he's SO one-dimensional) ... which is why seeing what the above picture portrays will NEVER get old for me!!

Here are the results:
  • USA - 2, Switzerland - 0 (RECAP)
  • Canada - 7, Russia - 3 (RECAP)
  • Finland - 2, Czech Republic - 0 (RECAP)
  • Slovakia - 4, Sweden - 3 (RECAP)

Friday's Semifinals schedule (no games today):
3:00 PM - USA (1) VS Finland (4) -- TV: NBC, CTV, V
6:30 PM - Canada (6) VS Slovakia (7) -- TV: CNBC, CTV, V

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Latvia, Belarus, Germany, and Norway Eliminated

Not really any surprises yesterday with the Swiss, Canada, Czech Republic, and Slovakia moving on to today's quarterfinals.

Ovi's hit on Jagr was obviously a bigger blow than Jagr had everyone believe as the big news from last night was his leaving in the first minutes of the game against the Czech Republic due to a sore neck. Jagr didn't return and his team barely made it past elimination without him. The team doctor said the injury resulted from Ovechkin's hit he sustained during the Sunday night game against the Russians.
"We hope he'll be available to play tomorrow," Czech coach Vladimir Ruzicka said after his team's great escape at the University of British Columbia's Thunderbird Arena. "We believe he will be ready. And obviously, we're hoping he can play the whole game."
Here are the results:
  • Switzerland - 3, Belarus - 2 (RECAP)
  • Canada - 8, Germany - 2 (RECAP)
  • Czech Republic - 3, Latvia - 2 (RECAP)
  • Slovakia - 4, Norway - 3 (RECAP)
Today's Quarterfinals schedule:
3:00 PM - USA (1) VS Switzerland (8) -- TV: NBC,V, SNET
7:30 PM - Russia (3) VS Canada (6) -- TV: CNBC, CTV,V
10:00 PM - Czech Republic (5) VS Finland (4) -- TV: CNBC, TSN,V
11:55 PM - Slovakia (7) VS Sweden (2) -- TV: CNBC, CTV, RDS

Penguins Olympic Diaries

Fleury bought tickets to go watch alpine skiing yesterday, but couldn't go because Team Canada played Germany last night.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Qualification Playoffs Begin Today

Today's schedule:

  • 3:00 PM - Switzerland (8) VS Belarus (9) @ Canada Hockey Place (TV: SNET,USA,RDS)
  • 7:30 PM - Canada (6) VS Germany (11) @ Canada Hockey Place (TV: CNBC,CTV,RDS)
  • 10:00 PM - Czech Republic (5) VS Latvia (12) @ UBC Thunderbird Arena (TV: CNBC,TSN,RDS)
  • 12:00 AM - Slovakia (7) VS Norway (10) @ Canada Hockey Place (TV: CNBC,CTV,RDS)
The big news for Team Canada is that Luongo will be starting in goal against Germany tonight. Everyone loves Brodeur and he is a good goalie, but sometimes he's just "off" and against the US I felt he was "playing the puck" too much for his own (or his team's) good. He was taking advantage of the difference in Olympic rules that allow him to do that more at the risk of winning (playing better). I honestly wish that they'd give Fleury a shot (and, YES, I am bias with that, but the kid deserves a chance ... he's clutch when it counts!)!!

A Special Olympic Edition of "Yinz Luv Da 'Guins!"

(Episode 4)

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Surprising Wins Yesterday: Russia, USA, Sweden

Russia and Sweden weren't that far of a stretch (although I'm sure no one expected the Swedes to blank the Fins and for it to be a more even matchup), but with the anticipated USA-Canada match-up, everyone was expecting the Canadians to come out on top (shamefully, that includes me too!). All the games were spectacular to watch, but the one with most interest was probably USA vs Canada and there was no disappointment with that as the two teams gave us some of the best hockey we've seen so far in this Olympics (almost like playoff hockey). I think my favorite goals were the first and the last both scored by the USA (Rafalski, Kessler) ... those were exciting!!! Could there be another "Miracle" in the making??? I can't wait to find out!!!

Here are the results from yesterday:

  • Russia - 4, Czech Republic - 2 (Malkin had 2 goals and an assist); RECAP
  • USA - 5, Canada - 3 (Crosby had a goal); RECAP
  • Sweden - 3, Finland - 0; RECAP
Today's schedule:
No games scheduled until Tuesday, February 23rd (Qualification Playoffs)
3:00 PM - Switzerland (8) VS Belarus (9) @ Canada Hockey Place
7:30 PM - Canada (6) VS Germany (11) @ Canada Hockey Place
10:00 PM - Czech Republic (5) VS Latvia (12) @ UBC Thunderbird Arena
12:00 AM - Slovakia (7) VS Norway (10) @ Canada Hockey Place