Saturday, February 27, 2010

USA will play Canada on Sunday

Just for some quick notes, the United States will look to win their first gold medal in 30 years against Canada on Sunday at 3pm EST.

Canada played tonight against Slovakia and seemed to be in control of the game, leading 3-0 after 2 periods. Canada kept getting power plays, and if Slovakia was lucky enough to even get a shot off on Luongo, Luongo was impossible to break through.

About halfway through the game, Slovakia finally was able to get one shot past Luongo to make the game 3-1. But after this, Slovakia suddenly obtained more opportunities down in the Canadian zone, and with 5 minutes to go, Michal Handzus scored for Slovakia, and they were only down by 1 goal.

The rest of the game was spent in the Canadian defensive zone, and had Pavol Demitra not BARELY missed a wide open net, the game would have gone into overtime. Who knows what would have happened then?!

Nonetheless, Canada held on and won 3-2.

People get your drinks up, it's "Hockey Day in North America" - via @stlblueschica on Twitter.

USA wins 4-2 against Canada.

A very shaky Canadian team that hasn't quite gelled yet, a confident and determined Team USA with Ryan Miller in net should aid in a gold medal for the Unites States of America.

I haven't really thought about it, but I woul dhave no clue as to how I will react if Team USA was to win it all. It would probably be extremely surreal, so it probably won't hit me for a bit. Regardless, expect me to be super happy and doing something silly.

Unfortunately, the silly thing would not be having the privilege to miss my psychology midterm on Monday; my professor is Canadian. No way I'm gonna get out of that one.

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On a side note, in regards to the Canadian women's celebration, I have mixed feelings.

I'm okay with OPENING the bottle of CHAMPAGNE on the ice, to be honest. I mean, after all, it is their home ice, and it must be pretty special.

But, on the other hand, BEER? Really ladies? Beer on the ice? And trust me, being a lady who is used to hanging out with the boys, I'm not mad at them because they are women and drinking. But that's just not classy. If the men won the gold medal there, I would oppose them drinking on the ice as well, especially beer. I mean, rappers don't pop beer anyway.
Either way, I'm not a fan of the move by the Canadian ladies.

They were wrong, and I hate that they even apologized, because a.) they weren't sorry; therefore, b.) the apology was half-assed. Their "apology" is not accepted by me.

We're exposing a lot of impolite and hostile things about our "peaceful" neighbors. LOL... of course I love all my Canadian folks though. You all are fantastic and DIE-HARD fans. *whisper voice* but we're beating you Sunday ;).

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Finally, I looked on ESPN, and they had Zach Parise talking, but had labeled it was Jamie Langenbrunner speaking. Sigh... Even at this point, they still give hockey the poop-end of the stick.

From here on out, GO USA! (And props to Slovakia! I have them winning bronze)

Friday, February 26, 2010

USA for the Gold

The Americans are kicking global ass in the Winter Olympics, leading the world with 32 medals and 8 gold medals. Next in line, the Germans, are 12 back with 20 medals. So it's pretty clear that the United States is awesome in sports.

Team USA can do no worse than silver after they throttled the Finnish 6-1 in today's semifinal match. The United States will be aiming for the gold, however, to add to the country's totals on Sunday. We are currently waiting on their opponent, who will come out of the Canada/Slovakia match later on tonight.

I've emphasized it all week, but now that it has been confirmed that Team USA is in the gold medal game, Americans can really get their hopes up.

I hesitated to get amped for the Americans playing in the final because of how inconsistent almost every team in the Olympic tournament looked. Teams like Canada, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and especially the Russians should have blown teams like Norway, Latvia, Switzerland, and even Slovakia out of the water. However, that was not the case.

The Russians got a whipping from Canada, losing 7-3; Sweden lost to the elderly... er, aged Slovakian team; Canada struggled heavily offensively until the Russian game; and just to throw it out there, Switzerland lost expectantly, but gave a LOT of teams trouble, thanks to goalie Jonas Hiller.

The United States was supposed to be growing and building toward the next Olympics - well, in the eyes of the public. Even I fell for that trick. But Brian Burke, forever unsatisfied with the team's performance despite the USA being the top seeded team in the tournament, had other plans. Burke stated from the start that they would be competing for the gold medal. I laughed it off, but look where Team USA is!

In regards to the final game, Team USA will play either Slovakia or Canada. I would say I'm pulling for Canada because I'm loving the hatred from my normally loving Canadian friends. However, think about it: would you WANT to play Slovakia if they beat Canada? I wouldn't want to.

So for all purposes, let's say Luongo and Team Canada play the United States. Luongo has indubitably been the best goalie for Canada. He is seemingly impenetrable, but if the United States were to start the game similarly to the one they played today, that would be ideal.

Of course, I hardly see the Americans getting six goals in ten minutes likely against Luongo. But if Team USA could score as quickly and early as they did against Finland, maintain the same pressure and momentum on the Canadians, the United States would be set for a victory.

I would advise Team USA to keep a level head, and to prepare for the toughest match yet in this tournament.

I'm ready, and so are my hockey watching buddies...

In fact, you could be just as ready as I will be by following this fun little set of "Games".
Just check it out. It's hilarious.

Gotta say though, I LOVE hockey. These are reasons why. GO TEAM USA!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

USA Defeats Switzerland 2-0

If you thought the USA vs. Canada game was thrilling, then you were peeing in your pants watching the United States barely but surely earn the victory against the Swiss by a score of 2-0.

The game was a very fun and exciting game to watch from the standpoint of a fan. It was scoreless until the last second of the second period... well, we thought the tie was broken. Unfortunately for the Americans, time had expired before the puck crossed the line, so the goal was disallowed.

A few people's nerves were worked up after that incident, and were worried that Team USA wouldn't be able to penetrate the Swiss wall that was Jonas Hiller and might lose.

The third period had another instance where the puck went into the net. This time... it was the same result. USA goal was disallowed, except this time, it was because Ryan Kessler interfered with Hiller. This came right after Switzerland also had a disqualified goal because the puck went off the inside of the post, and never crossed the line.

Team USA disproved all critics though, as Zach Parise of the NJ Devils finally scored about 2 minutes into the third period.

For the rest of the game, however, the game went back and forth between possessions. Both teams had quality shots on net at this point, and there were so many power plays. With USA only up by one goal, it was a very nerve-wrecking experience for fans of either side. Anybody could still win this.

Then with about a minute left in the game, Switzerland pulled Hiller and went on attack in the American's zone. USA did a good job of clearing the puck out though, and eventually, Parise grabbed the puck in Swiss territory, and scored the empty next goal with 11 seconds remaining.

From a hockey mind, this game was AWFUL! Exciting still? Yes. But the American power play was atrocious. Not just because they didn't score, but they had such a difficult time setting up their power play. USA struggled with lost pucks into neutral zone, and offensive zone turnovers. The Swiss had a handful of short-handed opportunities, and that's too many for one game.

If the Americans want to prepare themselves for the winner of the Czech/Finnish game and potentially a rejuvenated Team Canada for the gold medal, they are going to have to minimize their mistakes. If the Swiss were that close to scoring on short handed opportunities, imagine a team like Canada getting the same chances.

Thankfully, Ryan Miller has been fantastic throughout the Olympics; whether he was under intense pressure (against Canada - 42 saves) or if he was not challenged (against Switzerland -19 saves). He has been the one source of consistency for the United States, and if all else fails, at least folks can rely on him to keep the score low for USA to make a move.

Team USA can also rely on their faceoff crew, who saved the team in a lot of situations where the Swiss would be in their zone.

We'll be waiting now for the Finnish team to beat the Czechs so that they can play on Friday for the semifinals. I'm ready to watch so let's go!


In other USA news, the USA women's team will play Canada tomorrow at 3:30pm for the gold medal. That wasn't really news, as we all knew the two teams would meet. But we'll see who actually wins the medal. You know how I'll pick... USA!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I'd have to say that I am utterly disappointed in the Russia/Canada game. Russia LOST the game 7-4. It was an awful, atrocious showing - or lack thereof - against Canada, who was ready to play. A team who was ready to play facing off against a team that felt like sleeping in a quarterfinal game makes for... a boring ass game like the one we just saw.

Oh well, a tout a leur to Russia. T'was fun we're moving on with Finland/Czech Republic and Sweden/Slovakia. I predict an EXTREMELY exciting finish to this tournament. GO USA!

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A little shoutout also to Finnish player Lasse Kukkonen and Team Canada's Shea Weber. Word has it they checked out this page and liked it. Whether they read it again is another issue, but hey! They read it once! Ha!

http://baltimore.sportsthenandnow.com/2010/02/alex-ovechkin-russia%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cpinch-hitter%E2%80%9D/ Peep this by the way... this is my first post on Sports Then and Now about the Ovechkin hit against Jagr in Sunday's Czech/Russian game.

Enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

USA defeats Canada - A chance for USA hockey

For the first time since 1960, the United States of America defeated Canada in the men's Olympic ice hockey competition 5-3.

On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" against the Soviet Union, the United States held a lead throughout the whole game to achieve the win.

Ryan Miller had 42 saves in protection of the game, as Canada dominated in offensive onslaught through shots and opportunities to score. His performance exceeded the Canadian attack and kept the Americans in the lead to the victory.

This win not only marked the end of a 40-year drought, but brought hope for the underdog Americans to win the gold medal.

I'll admit. In an earlier post, I didn't have much faith in Team USA regarding hockey. I dismissed the team and thought they had a better chance the next Winter Olympics for silver or gold. Later on, I researched more information on the team and developed more faith in the idea that the USA was good enough to secure a spot to win the bronze medal, at most.

However, with the United States being the only undefeated team in the tournament besides Sweden, they definitely look like the best team to compete for the gold medal. For all of those people who would like to doubt the capabilities of the USA, just check out the record. THEY ARE UNDEFEATED against the SAME teams that Canada lost to. Yes. I am referring to Switzerland.

Of course, I can't guarantee a win for the Americans. That would be just as bad as the elitists saying that a certain team who is playing at home deserves the gold. But I will say that I have faith that they can do it. Thirty years celebration - I certainly hope so.

*Tidbit for the Day*All of Team USA's goals were scored by current or former New Jersey Devils players. :O

Part two coming up later today on the coverage of the win

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Just for Fun - Which One?

So I figured since I'm all busy with re-designing Crashing the Net, writing heavily for The Hockey Writers, and mid-terms at American, I would still try to do little things on here to keep you all looking.

I came across this site on Twitter called PuckingHilarious.com (I love the subtleties). Every few days or so it has a few hilarious hockey-related designs that you can put on a shirt or a hoodie. Even though I think the hoodies are a little pricey, their t-shirts are pretty nice from $16-$18.

When I checked out the designs, I really liked two of them. However, I don't really feel like buying both of them, at least at the same time - college student budget - so I want to know which one I should get...

This first one is of the amazing Alex Ovechkin. I don't know how many people would really get it, but it sure made me chuckle:



Then, there was this one. I thought, now THIS is MAD hilarious! But I wouldn't know what to do if they started winning again and won a Cup like next year. Nonetheless, I'm still a fan of this shirt. There's also the possibility of getting it in red. What do you think?



I'd love to know what you all think. It doesn't matter whether you're a hockey fan or not, although I would hope your feedback does keep the mind of a hockey fan in perspective.

Feel free to check out the website for yourself as well, or to tell me of an entirely different design that you think I should get.

You are also more than welcome to check out the new piece I wrote about the increased number of complaints toward NBC's coverage of the Olympic hockey tournament and Mike Milbury's anti-Ovechkin commentary at TheHockeyWriters.com

Enjoy and thanks for the feedback on my clothing decision!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

For the Love of the Game

The Olympic freeze for the NHL is here, and we'll have sometime to relax and enjoy seeing our favorite NHL players in Vancouver.

Sometimes though, I wonder what the Olympics would be like if they reinstated only amateurs into the Games as they did in the early '80s. What would the odds of winning look like for teams like the USA and Canada? Would the involvement of amateurs motivate more players all over the country to reverse the declining numbers of North American players?

It pops in my head that with the decline of North American players comes with the question: What's the point? There are only so many opportunities to play professional hockey, and the goal would be to get the maximum amounts of exposure and pay from doing so. We tend to forget sometimes that kids play hockey just to play hockey.

As mentioned before, the movement toward professional players filling rosters in the Olympics took away the chance for young players to have another aspiration to play hockey - for the glory. No monetary awards are provided for winning the gold medal in the Winter Olympics hockey tournament. You play to win for national pride, and because you love to play hockey.

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I came across an email sent the other day by Michael Bergen, a science educator from Massachusetts. He saw I was quite a hockey fan from this site, and he just thought he'd pass along a 3 minute 36 second time lapse video of his son, Ross, building an ice rink outside in his backyard.

To some, the video is just a quick tutorial of the process of making a backyard ice rink. So they watch and keep it moving.

However, Ross' father pointed out that the video actually represents more than just the building of a backyard ice rink using wood, tarp, and water. If you notice from watching the video, there's no audience, no whistles, and certainly no sponsors or earned money involved.

Instead, this video expresses how much Ross really just wanted to shoot the puck around. One could bring up that, "He could have just gone to a local ice rink." After all, the guy is in Boston. They should be plentiful...

...But that's missing the point. This rink didn't take 3 minutes and 46 seconds to build. It took a few days of almost non-stop work putting the wood pieces together to create the right shape to balance out the rink. To put the water on the tarp over the wood takes a bit to freeze over. It's not an easy task, and for someone to complete such a task with little help takes a lot of dedication to his or her work.

The end of the video epitomizes the final outcome of Ross' project. It shows that this is all he wanted to do - shoot around. To make the perfect ice rink just so that he could go outside and shoot around or play with some friends whenever shows that there is a love for hockey that you cannot live without - literally. As a die-hard hockey fanatic myself, I can entirely relate to this.

Michael asked me, "Isn't it time that we look at sports like we used to as kids?"

And it is. You remember going out to the closest place with hoops to ball for hours when nobody was watching. You remember going out to the tennis courts and skating out on roller blades to play a little shoot-around even though it was against the rules. You just played just to play.

So here's a HUGE shoutout to folks like Ross out there who will always love the game, and build their own rinks in their backyards to show for it. Dedicated people for sure. And trust me, it can be done in the DMV.

If sports could be brought back to this simple form, amateurs playing for the USA would be a possibility once again, and as a result, it could stir more North American kids playing hockey.


Special thanks to Michael Bergen for allowing me to do this story on his son, Ross, and his video. Thanks guys.
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