The gold-medal men’s hockey game saved my Olympics

Yes, after Zach Parise of the United States tied the game at 2-2 with 24 seconds left in regulation, Sidney Crosby scored in overtime, securing the gold more Canada.

But you already know this. You watched the damn game. Everyone watched. But perhaps someone you know went with the Lakers taking on the Nuggets instead. That person will never like hockey or appreciate the thrill an Olympics can create.

The Americans were not supposed to medal; some of the players even had to cancel flights they had previously booked in preparation for a quick elimination. Nevertheless, they went out there and authoritatively beat a couple teams that were supposedly more talented — teams like Canada.

One couldn’t ask for a better hockey game. While the feeling of dejection produced by Crosby’s finisher will linger for some time, the rush of excitement that followed Parise’s goal is proof of why I love sports.

I hope you all enjoyed the game. I know I did. Now start watching the NHL again.

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The routine Evgeni Plushenko should have used

Now this is how I always envisioned Olympic ice skating:


USA-Canada rematch brewing? Canada knocks off Russia

Goalie Roberto Luongo stopped 25 of 28 shots to lead Canada to a surprising 7-3 victory over Russia in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

From the Washington Post:

They weren’t kidding around. Team Canada, so rattled after losing to the United States in pool play Sunday, pole-axed the talented Russians, 7-3, in a quarterfinal game Wednesday evening at Canada Hockey Place. The Canadians will face the winner of Wednesday night’s late game between Slovakia and Sweden in the semifinals Friday.

What all of Canada had built into an Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby matchup — the red-clad, hockey-mad fans gave the arena the look of Verizon Center during a Caps-Penguins playoff game — instead turned into an eye-averting onslaught. Ovechkin was certainly a focal point, both for the crowd, which booed him during introductions and every chance it got, and for the Canadians, who hit him so hard and so often that Ted Leonsis probably had difficulty getting out of bed this morning. But neither of them had a point.

Not only were the Canadian goals plentiful, despite the Crosby drought, but some of them were works of art, tremendous displays of teamwork and crisp passing and anticipation. That isn’t always the case in Olympic play, where teams usually get only one or two practices before pool play begins.

One more win for USA and Canada and the greatest rematch known to man will commence.

All right, so it wouldn’t be the greatest rematch known to man (everyone knows that the Ninja Turtles vs. the Shredder in “TMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze” was the greatest rematch known to man), but it would make for great, Olympic-style drama.

United States narrowly defeats Switzerland

Propelled by two goals from Zach Parise and another powerful performance by goalie Ryan Miller, the U.S. men’s hockey team has advanced to the semifinals. The team faced a tough competitor in Switzerland, but found an edge in the last period to earn the 2-0 victory.


But Zach Parise put all that frustration aside, deflecting a wrist shot from Brian Rafalski early in the third period, then scored into an empty net late to seal a 2-0 quarterfinal win that sends the U.S. to the next round against the winner of Wednesday night’s game between the Czech Republic and Finland.

“Relief and excitement, especially in a tight game like that when you are doing everything but score,” said Parise, who failed to score on his first 13 shots of the tournament. “The goalie was great and we did a good job of sticking with it. “We were pretty confident and said just keep putting pucks at him.”

Ryan Miller made 19 saves to backstop the victory and move the Americans within two wins of its first men’s hockey gold medal in 30 years.

For myself, the U.S. hockey team’s run has been the most exciting part of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The feeling makes me want to gather up some of my closest friends and head to a fun bar to enjoy the next game. We can drink frothy glasses of beer, share stupid stories, look at pretty girls, and root for our countrymen.

Wait — never mind. NBC is broadcasting the game at 3 PM ET on Friday. Scratch those plans.

Canada to start Luongo in goal against Germany

Photo from fOTOGLIF

After Martin Brodeur gave up four goals to the United States last night, Canada’s hockey team has decided to replace him with Roberto Luongo for Tuesday’s matchup against Germany.

From The Vancouver Sun:

Vancouver’s Luongo will take over in goal for Martin Brodeur when Canada faces Germany on Tuesday for the next matchup in Olympic men’s hockey.

“I’m pumped,” Luongo before the announcement today. “The adrenaline is really going. I can’t tell you how excited I am.”

Canadian coach Mike Babcock made the announcement today at a post-practice press conference.

Luongo will remain the starter as long as Canada is in what is now a single-elimination tournament, Babcock vowed.

Luongo shut out Norway 8-0 in Canada’s Olympic opener, before giving way to national-team incumbent starter Brodeur. But the veteran, who started at the last two Olympics, looked poor on two of the four goals that beat him during Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the United States.

It seems like Team Canada is reeling after their unexpected loss on Sunday, first facing the disappointment of its country and now the bruised confidence of its veteran goalie. Nevertheless, Luongo is a solid second option who should give the Germans a tough time in their elimination game. Unfortunately, it simply looks like Canada is fighting an uphill battle. Assuming the team wins, it will enter the quarterfinals and have the misfortune of playing Russia.

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