Sochi Chronicles: Part FOUR

The 22nd Winter Games: SOCHI 2014

The 22nd Winter Games: SOCHI 2014

Canada’s Medal FINAL Medal Count – 25 MEDALS: 10 GOLD, 10 SILVER, and 5 BRONZE.[As of the end of the Olympics; February 23rd, 2014].

On the final day of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, there was one last event that many across Canada and Sweden had their eyes glued to, to find out what the final result would be. The Men’s hockey GOLD medal game. If you live on the west coast like me, than you were met with the dilemma to stay up all night OR get up ridiculously early to watch the game live. Did you opt for an all-nighter or set your alarm absurdly early? I opted for the sleep a few hours and then wake up early route myself.

Coming into the final Olympic hockey game saw TWO undefeated teams looking to take the gold medal. Canada was looking to defend their 2010 gold medal and Sweden was trying to win their second men’s hockey gold medal in the last 3 Olympics after winning in 2006.

Sweden earned their way into the gold medal game playing some incredibly consistent hockey despite missing two of their best centres (Henriks: Zetterberg & Sedin) due to injuries. They found a way and a will to win every game leading up their gold medal match-up. Canada earned their way into the gold medal game playing the best defensive style and only allowing 3 goals in their first 5 games. Both teams were very impressive in their 5 games leading into the final test…and the only questions that remained were who would win Gold and who would settle for Silver?

How would the final show down between the best two teams of the hockey tournament turn out? Which star players would step up to help their team? What would the final score be? There was an electricity in the air when the teams hit the ice and the puck finally dropped. You could feel the anticipation from both benches of what could be.

The start of the game seemed like all Sweden until they hit a post…after which it seemed it was all Canada. Every time Sweden touched the puck it was quickly back in possession of team Canada and eventually it started costing them on the scoreboard. Jonathan Toews opened the scoring at 12:55 of the first period with his first goal of the tournament (much like he did the 2010 gold medal game…which opened the scoring at 12:50 of the first period).

TOEWS celebrating the FIRST goal of the game!

TOEWS celebrating the FIRST goal of the game with the team!

It may have only been ONE goal in the FIRST period but the entire bench jumped up to celebrate when it went in[they did that for EVERY team Canada goal in the tournament]. The goal was a microcosm of team Canada’s entire tournament…every element from defense to offense had been a TEAM effort and it continued to show for the entire 60 minutes. Everyone held their breath as we awaited the next goal from either side. Whenever Sweden had the puck, there was ZERO panic from Canada has they executed their patience to perfection.It was magnetizing at times to watch the way Canada controlled the puck inside and outside their zone.

Cue the second period and Sidney Crosby on a breakaway…but he was double-teamed by the impeccable Swedish defense on his way to the net making his shot impossible. One could get frustrated after a play like that…but Crosby didn’t get frustrated…he instead skated back to the bench with a look of determination that seemed to say if another breakaway came he would make it count. He did get another breakaway opportunity when Sweden turned the puck over…and this time he could not be stopped…it was executed to perfection.

CROSBY in alone makes no mistake in giving #TeamCanada a 2-0 lead.

CROSBY in alone makes no mistake in giving #TeamCanada a 2-0 lead heading into the third period.

A picture does not do this goal justice, so here it is: SID THE KID STRIKES GOLD AGAIN!!

2-0 leads in hockey are almost never safe…BUT the panic that normally comes with those leads was never present in this game. Canada had set the pace for the game was not giving Sweden enough time to set up or when they did, Price had the answer.

The third period was much of the same. Every time Sweden had the puck, it was quickly turned back over and Canada was in complete control of the game. As fans around the world held their breath to see if Sweden would be able to find some offense, Canada calmly kept executing their game plan to absolute perfection. Any doubts (if you had any lingering) about the outcome of this game were extinguished when Kunitz, the beneficiary of a Swedish turnover made no mistake putting Canada ahead 3-0.

Sweden had found ways to win every game of this tournament BUT could not find the answer to solve Canada’s offense or defense in this game. This game would end with a 3-0 shutout (Canada’s 3rd shutout of the Olympics…1 by Luongo, 2 back to back by Price) as Canada defended their 2010 gold medal with a dominant GOLD medal performance. It was a tale of two games within one game…one team executed a perfect game and the other struggled to keep up.

This game was not nearly as dramatic as the 2010 gold medal game which saw the USA force OT before Crosby scored the gold medal goal. It was much more meticulous as the team moved together as one with every pass, goal and save. Every player knew where to be and where to go as they executed their BEST game of the tournament and Canada’s best players were exactly that, their best players playing their best to finish what they started.

Everyone outside of the team was so focused on what they perceived as a “lack of offense” instead appreciating that BEST team defense a team Canada has ever dressed. Canada gave up a very stingy total of 3 goals in 6 games while scoring 17 goals in those 6 games. It may not have been the offense that everyone expected BUT a tournament like this is not about the individual stats, it is about the TEAM stats. Perhaps, Luongo said it best: “It’s not about personal agendas, it’s about representing your country and trying to win a gold.” Babcock all along told media and those with concerns about offense that they needn’t be worried, he wasn’t worried about individual stats or scoring BUT rather with their team game and wins. If the team was patient with the offense, and focused on doing all the small things right while playing tight defensively, the goals would come. The goals did come and in the end they did exactly what they set out do from the moment this journey began: win the GOLD medal.

It was an incredible game to witness Canada ice a game as close to perfection as possible from the offense to defense and everything in between. This team will go down as one of [if not] the best team[s] that Canada has put together for an Olympic tournament. Before they could receive their medals, the teams had to meet at center ice for the obligatory handshakes and congratulations [this is one of my favourite parts of any hockey playoff series, is that once the game/series…it’s an incredible picture of good sportsmanship that is not always seen in other sports!]. It may not have been the result that Sweden expected or the medal that they desired receiving, but its is the one that they earned with their play in this game. “Winning” a silver medal in hockey doesn’t seem as amazing an accomplishment in the moment because is comes in a loss, but the fight to win that silver medal is something to proud of, so I extend a congratulations, to team Sweden on an excellent tournament!

In case you want to relive the best moments from the Sochi 2014 Gold Medal Men’s hockey game one last time, or if you missed the medal ceremony…here you go:

GOLD medal highlights:

MEDAL ceremony for Sweden & Canada:

For two weeks the NHL was put on hold and regular season rivals became teammates and almost like family on the other side of the world. Friendships formed or revisited during the Olympic break will be put once again on the back burner as the NHL season re-starts and rivals re-emerge. Hold on folks, we are in for a bumpy ride and one heck of a finish to the NHL season!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Sochi Chronicles: Part THREE

The 22nd Winter Games: SOCHI 2014

The 22nd Winter Games: SOCHI 2014

Canada’s Medal Count has doubled in the gold category since the last post!- 24 MEDALS: 9 GOLD, 10 SILVER, and 5 BRONZE.[As of February 22nd, 2014]. **Rumor has it there is another a medal to be added to that total following an event that will have all of Canada on the edge of their seats!**

Women’s Bobsleigh: GOLD Kaillie Humphries & Heather Moyse

HUMPHRIES & MOYSE showing off their 2014 hardware!

HUMPHRIES & MOYSE showing off their 2014 hardware!

Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse came from behind in the 4th and final run to seal their GOLDEN fate and successfully defended their 2010 Gold medal with a Sochi GOLD performance.

Men’s Curling: GOLD – Team Jones (Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry, EJ Harnden, Ryan Harnden, & Caleb Flaxey)

The Men’s Curling team didn’t start strong with a 1-2 record and then went on to win 8 straight to seal a GOLDEN victory and successfully defending Canada’s 2010 gold.

Team JACOBS leaping for GOLD onto the podium!

Team JACOBS leaping for GOLD onto the podium!

Women’s Curling: GOLD – Team Jacobs (Jennifer Jones, Dawn McEwen, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer & Kirsten Wall)

Team JONES leaping for GOLD onto the podium!

Team JONES leaping for GOLD onto the podium!

Team Jones did something that no women’s team has done before in the Olympics in leading her team to an undefeated 11-0 record on their way to GOLD medal. Team Jones is also the first Canadian Women’s curling team to win the gold medal since 1998.

 Ladies Ski Cross: GOLD – Marielle Thompson & SILVER – Kelsey Serwa

Thompson & Serwa celebrating their 1-2 finish in the Ladies Ski Cross finals!

Thompson & Serwa celebrating their 1-2 podium finish in the Ladies Ski Cross finals!

Women’s Hockey: GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!

Canada's GOLDEN GIRLS won their 20th straight Olympic hockey game!

Canada’s GOLDEN GIRLS won their 20th straight Olympic hockey game in an OT thriller!

Men’s 500m Short Track: BRONZE – Charle Cournoyer

Charle Cournoyer celebrating his BRONZE medal podium finish!

Charle Cournoyer celebrating his BRONZE medal podium finish!

Now let’s take a closer look at the hockey that has taken place over the last few days. The Women’s hockey medals as you see from the above spoiler picture have been handed out.

The Women’s Bronze medal game featured Team Sweden and Team Switzerland. Florence Schelling backstopped Switzerland brilliantly the entire tournament and is the reason they earned their spot in the bronze medal game. It looked like Sweden was in control of the game taking a 2-0 lead into the third period BUT as we ALL know…2-0 leads are the worst to have in hockey. Switzerland made sure to make their presence known scoring 4 straight goals to take the lead and despite one last goal from Sweden, Switzerland was able to hold on for the win! Florence Schelling was the star for this team as they won their first ever Olympic hockey medal!

The GOLD medal stage was set for another amazing match up featuring Team Canada and Team USA for the 2010 GOLD medal rematch! Coming into Sochi, Team USA had won more games against Team Canada than they had lost and they were looking to translate that into a gold medal.

Team USA took the lead and carried a 2-0 lead with them late into the 3rd period. The writing was on the wall with the clock winding down and it seemed inevitable that the USA was on their way to their first gold medal since 1998. With just 3:26 remaining in regulation Canada found itself on the board and the lead suddenly cut in half…but would it be enough time to change their fate?

Canada pulled Szabados in an attempt to tie the game with just under two minutes left, the USA sent the puck down center ice to the net BUT it hit the POST! Canada swarmed on the puck and surged to the USA end…and with 56.5 seconds left Marie-Philip Poulin TIED the game 2-2! Cue the insanely LOUD cheers from the bench, the arena, and across Canada!

Remember what I said about 2-0 leads not being safe?!

Olympic overtime in a gold medal game is a full 20 minute period followed by a shoot out if needed. It was an extremely intense 8:10 of overtime with chances on both sides before the ever clutch Marie-Philip Poulin SCORED AGAIN and ended this game with the GOLDEN GOAL!! COMEBACK COMPLETE!

MARIE-PHILIP POULIN SCORES THE GAME WINNING GOAL!! GAME OVER!!

MARIE-PHILIP POULIN SCORES THE GAME WINNING GOAL!! GAME OVER!!

The Canadian team scramble from the bench to huge POULIN as they are GOLDEN GIRLS once more!

The Canadian team scramble from the bench to huge POULIN as they are GOLDEN GIRLS once more!

Just in case you want to relive that GOLDEN moment one last time, here you go:

THIS game will be long remembered for the epic comeback and the tenacity that these women play with. On one side of the ice there was absolute elation as they celebrated their incredible comeback and the other side there was devastation as they looked at what could have been. They say that you don’t “win” silver in hockey…but it is an incredible accomplishment none the less. It may not seem like it in the moment…but “winning” that silver medal is something to be proud of and will long inspire young girls for years to come. Congratulations to team USA for playing a great game and a continuously helping to show the world that women CAN play hockey at a high level!

The Men’s quarterfinals and semifinals have taken place and saw some very dramatic outcomes: Finland beat Russia in their quarterfinal game that stunned the hometown arena into complete silence. Sweden beat Slovenia in the quarterfinal to earn a date in the semifinals with Finland setting up a rematch of the 2006 Olympic gold medal game. It was an incredibly tight game between these two teams but it would be Sweden that walked away with spot in the gold medal game as they beat Finland 2-1.

The USA scored 5 goals yet again to beat the Czech Republic and earn their way in to the semifinals. Canada earned a win in a tight game against Latvia to earn their spot in the semifinal and date with the USA. The last time the USA and Canada met in the Olympics it was in the 2010 gold medal game…this time they would play to see who would get to play for gold and who would fight for bronze.

Everyone on both sides of the border had their eyes glued to this game. Everyone said that it would be impossible to stop the offensive scoring machine that the USA had become in Sochi and everyone was worried about Canada’s “lack” of offense in comparison. While everyone worried about the offense that would or wouldn’t come…we overlooked one very important aspect of Canada’s game…their impeccable defense. It is true that offense wins championships…but it is also true that strong defense can do the same. Both goal-tenders were incredible in this game…but it came down to one goal and one goal only that made the difference. Jamie Benn had the goal and Carey Price had the shutout as Canada shut down the unstoppable USA offense to earn a spot in the gold medal game and send the USA to the bronze medal game.

The bronze medal game set up Finland being led by captain Teemu Selanne in his final Olympic games against the USA who never expected to be there. The first period was a battle and seemed like it was going to be a nail biter for who would end up victorious….and then 11 seconds and 2 missed penalty shots changed everything. Finland score 11 seconds apart early in the second period while Patrick Kane missed his 2nd penalty shot in the middle frame. It seemed as though somewhere along the second period that the USA’s heart wasn’t in this game and Finland played as though it was championship game. Finland took full advantage of the mistakes being made by the USA and skated away with a 5-0 victory and the bronze medal after 60 minutes. It was a tale of two teams in this game: one that never wanted to be there and the other played as if it meant everything. It was an incredible game for Finland…and Selanne only further cemented his legend status as he showcased one last time for his country why he is the #FINNISHFLASH!

It’s a tough loss for the USA because their last two games with zero offense are NOT the way they envisioned their Olympic journey ending. The USA was so dominant in the early part of the tournament and to have it end in a 5-0 loss is heartbreak for the players and their fans. This is not how it was supposed to go…and while finishing 4th overall is still an accomplishment, it is not the ending that they desired. The USA had a talented roster and while some will critique the players that were on it and the ones the were left off…I tip my hat to the USA on one heck of a tournament [despite the 5-0 loss] and look forward to seeing them come back strong in 2018!

GOLD MEDAL GAME: The stage has been set. SWEDEN vs. CANADA. The only two undefeated teams going head to head with GOLD on the line. We are in store for one heck of a game from two great hockey nations no matter what the outcome. Best of luck to BOTH teams!

T-minus 4 hours to puck drop! Are you ready for the 4:00 AM wake up call west coast?! I know I’m not the only crazy one getting up to watch this game?! Where will you be watching?

Can you believe that there is just ONE day left of the 22nd Winter Games? As quickly as the Olympics arrived, they are nearly gone and within a few days we will be back to the regular scheduled NHL.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Sochi Chronicles: Part TWO

The 22nd Winter Games: SOCHI 2014

The 22nd Winter Games: SOCHI 2014

Canada’s Medal Count has doubled since the last post!- 17 MEDALS: 4 GOLD, 9 SILVER, and 4 BRONZE.[As of February 18th, 2014].

Women’s Slopestyle Skiing: GOLD- Dara Howell & BRONZE- Kim Lamarre

Dara Howell & Kim Lamarre celebrating their podium triumph after the Women's slopestyle finals!

Dara Howell & Kim Lamarre celebrating their podium triumph after the Women’s Slopestyle Skiing finals!

Men’s Speed Skating (1000m/1500m): SILVER/BRONZE- Denny Morrison

Denny Morrison celebrating his SILVER medal perfomance in the 1000m with Gilmore Junio [who gave his spot in the final to Morrison].

Denny Morrison celebrating his SILVER medal perfomance in the 1000m with Gilmore Junio [who gave his spot in the final to Morrison].

Morrison celebrating his BRONZE medal performance in the 1500m on the podium.

Morrison celebrating his BRONZE medal performance in the 1500m on the podium.

Denny Morrison is one of many feel good stories in the Sochi 2014 games and will looking to go 3-for-3 picking up a medal in his final event when he takes part in the team pursuit event.

Men’s Figure Skating: SILVER- Patrick Chan

Patrick Chan made Canada proud with his SILVER medal performance in the MEN's figure skating competition.

Patrick Chan made Canada proud with his SILVER medal performance in the MEN’s figure skating competition.

Patrick Chan after finishing in 5th place in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver skated himself to an impressive 2nd place SILVER medal finish. Congratulations Patrick!

Men’s SUPER-G(Alpine): BRONZE- Jan Hudec (*TIED with USA’s Bode Miller)

Jan Hudec & Bode Miller TIED to win BRONZE in the Men's SUPER G Alpline SKiing event!

Jan Hudec & Bode Miller TIED to win BRONZE in the Men’s SUPER-G Alpline Skiing event!

Ladie’s Snowboard Cross: SILVER- Dominique Maltais

Dominique Maltais celebrating her SILVER medal performance in the Women's Snowboard Cross event!

Dominique Maltais celebrating her SILVER medal performance in the Women’s Snowboard Cross event

ICE DANCE: SILVER LININGS for VIRTUE & MOIR/ TESSA & SCOTT

Virtue & Moir - Canada's Olympic darlings.

Virtue & Moir – Canada’s Olympic darlings.

Virtue & Moir skated their both their short skate and their free dance to PERFECTION. There is something magical that happens between these two when they are on the ice together and when the day comes that they do retire, NO pair will ever exude that magic again.

Women’s 3000m Relay: SILVER

Marie-Eve Drolet, Valerie Maltais, Jessica Hewitt & Marianne St-Gelais, celebrate their SILVER medal finish in the 3000m relay.

Marie-Eve Drolet, Valerie Maltais, Jessica Hewitt & Marianne St-Gelais, celebrate their SILVER medal finish in the 3000m relay.

It’s been tough for the women’s speed-skating team in Sochi, but they came together with a united effort in their relay. Initially they had won bronze, BUT when China’s team was eliminated they were upgraded to SILVER and Italy took the bronze.

Men’s Half-pipe (SKI): SILVER- Mike Riddle

Riddle earned 90.60 points to WIN the SILVER medal in the Men's Half-pipe (SKI) final.

Riddle earned 90.60 points to WIN the SILVER medal in the Men’s Half-pipe (SKI) final.

Riddle’s first run was not perfect BUT his second run in the final of the half-pipe course was very near perfection (USA’s Wise won gold with 92 points). Riddle’s medal performance was Canada’s 17th of the games.

The games are far from over with many events and games still to take place…and some will be sure to capture the world by storm. Hockey madness has begun to take over as the Women’s tournament is now in the medal round and the Men’s tournament is heating up with the Quarterfinals finally set.

Team Canada Women have posted a 4-0 undefeated record and a spot in the GOLD medal game. The GOLD medal game will be a 2010 rematch against the USA on February 20. As it always is with these two teams, it is bound to be one heck of a hockey game. These two play at the highest level and it will be a great game to watch no matter what the final outcome. Switzerland will face off against Sweden for the bronze medal.

12 teams have become 8 and after the quarterfinals only FOUR will remain.

The Men’s Quarterfinals have now been set to take place February 19: (all time’s below are set in the Pacific time zone)

12:00 AM – SWEDEN v. SLOVENIA [Slovenia has a tough task ahead of them taking on the top seeded team that everyone expects to beat them].

 4:30 AM – FINLAND v. RUSSIA [Finland and Russia is sure to be an impeccable game and the home team is sure to make it memorable for their fans!]

 9:00 AM – CANADA v. LATVIA [Latvia stunned Switzerland to earn their spot in the quarterfinal proving they won’t go out quietly].

 9:00 AM – USA v. CZECH REPUBLIC [The Czech Republic surprised Slovakia with a 5-goal outburst that won them a spot in the quarterfinal against a tough opponent].

Are you ready for insanity that will ensue from the results of the Quarterfinals? You may want to take cover when the results are in and social media makes its voice heard LOUDLY. When all is said and done tomorrow, only 4 teams will remain and we will be ever closer to gold medal Sunday. Semifinal Friday will tell us which teams are assured a medal and who will fight for bronze.

Best of luck to all the teams remaining as the puck is about to drop on the madness that is the playoff round of the hockey tournament!

Semifinals – Friday Feb. 21
*OPPONENTS TBD @ 4:00 AM
*OPPONENTS TBD @ 9:00 AM

Bronze medal game – Saturday Feb. 22
*OPPONENTS TBD @ 7:00 AM

Gold medal game – Sunday Feb. 23
*OPPONENTS TBD @ 4:00 AM

We are in for an amazing finish to the hockey tournament and the remaining events over the next few days! Lots of drama is yet to come. Where will you be watching from?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Sochi Chronicles: Part ONE

The 22nd Winter Games: SOCHI 2014

The SOCHI Chronicles 2014

Some people love events like the Olympics and others don’t care…I love the the Winter Olympics. Those of us who love the games have favourite events. My favourite events are: HOCKEY[big shocker there right?], the moguls event in skiing, ice dance and the half-pipe snow-boarding event. As we all know the NHL is on a break for the next few weeks and during that time my blog will be taking a closer look at the Olympics. Worry not, we shall return to the regularly scheduled NHL posts when the Olympics come to an end BUT in the meantime its going to be Olympic focus.

First impressions change the way we perceive people and events. There has been a lot of drama surrounding the 2014 Olympics from the terrorist threats, to interesting hotel accommodations that suggested that perhaps Sochi was not yet ready for the Winter games. Throw all the drama out the window…the torch was lit and the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter games have begun!

As is the case with all of the Olympics the world was treated to an opening ceremony which paid tribute to the host country. In true Olympic fashion it was quite a spectacle showcasing Russia’s history. When Vancouver hosted the games in 2010, it was absolute magic took over the city and the same seems to have happened to Sochi. The opening ceremony was just the beginning of the adventure that will be the 22nd Winter Games. Athletes from all over the world have arrived and are prepared compete for the gold, silver and bronze medals.

Let the GAMES BEGIN! In 2010, it took a few days for Canada to get on the podium but they finished by picking up 26 medals including 14 GOLD medals. How would that total compare to their 2014 endeavor?

It didn’t take very long this time around for Canada to set its mark on the Sochi podium. The first day finished with Mark McMorris picking up Canada’s FIRST medal of the games in the SLOPE-STYLE SNOWBOARDING event DESPITE having a broken rib.

After his triumph, McMorris had this to say: “To get on the podium is just a dream come true. I can’t explain this. I’ve just been through a roller coaster over these last few weeks.”

Mark McMorris celebrating his BRONZE medal performance in the Slope Style event.

Mark McMorris celebrating his BRONZE medal performance in the Slope Style event.

Congratulations to #McRIB for owning the podium!

Make room on that Podium McMorris, you’ve got company!

The Women’s Moguls event was the very event that started the medal magic in Vancouver. This year 2 Canadians made it into the final 6 to contend for the medals…the Dufour-Lapointe sisters Chloe and Justine along with the heavily favoured USA’s Hannah Kearney. The Dufour-Lapointe sisters had been consistent all day long on the moguls and gave their VERY best in their final run of the day.

Justine said that she was going to roar and roar she did with her performance that gave her the number one ranking and her sister was not far behind as Chloe earned the number two spot.

1-2 punch or the double double effect! Chloe & Justine moments after they solidified their SILVER & GOLD moments.

1-2 punch or the double double effect! Chloe & Justine moments after they solidified their SILVER & GOLD performances.

Dufour-LapointeMedals

Celebrating their GOLD & SILVER Mogul Magic with their OLYMPIC MEDALS!

“I had this fighter inside of me, and I thought, ‘You’re a fighter, you’re a tiger.… This is my moment. This is my day. And I will own that moment for myself and I will ski for myself.’ This is what I said going down.” -Olympic Moguls GOLD Medalist, Justine Dufour-Lapointe

Congratulations Justine & Chloe on your incredible feat!

For the first time the Olympics have implemented a TEAM figure skating event. Each country would have ONE competitor in each discipline of the sport. Representing Canada in the TEAM event included: Patrick Chan, Kevin Reynolds, Kaetlyn Osmond, Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford, Kirsten Moore-Tower, Dylan Moscovitch, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

Canada earned the SILVER medal in the inaugural Olympic team Figure Skating event.

Canada earned the SILVER medal in the inaugural Olympic team Figure Skating event.

Congratulations to all the skaters and best of luck to all of them as they look for success in their individual disciplines.

Charles Hamelin won two golds in the 2010 games but his start in Vancouver was not what he hoped for and he looked to improve upon that in Sochi. Improve he did in his opening event of the games: the short track 1500m speed skating event. In 2010 he finished 7th overall in the 1500m BUT this time he made his mark with a FIRST place finish!

Charles Hamelin started in the lead and finished in the LEAD to win GOLD.

Charles Hamelin started in the lead and finished in the LEAD to win GOLD in the short track 1500m speed skating event.

Congratulations Charles on your first medal of the games and best of luck in your final three events!

The Men’s Moguls event came with high expectations: Alexandre Bilodeau came into the 2014 Olympic games ready to defend his 2010 title…would he be the FIRST male to WIN back to back titles? Would there be more than ONE Canadian to land on the podium? 3 Canadians made it into the final 6 to compete for the medals. Alex Bilodeau had struggled in one of the earlier rounds BUT his FINAL run was absolute PERFECTION:

Would that perfect run BE enough to secure his 2nd GOLD medal in the moguls? His teammates both had individually great final runs as well BUT neither were able to catch Alex. Mikael Kingsbury secured the SILVER medal while Marc-Antoine Gagnon finished in 4th [nearly had the 3rd spot].

For the second time at the 2014 Olympic Games, Canada finished in the top two spots in the MOGULS competition.

Ki

Kingsbury & Bilodeau celebrating their SILVER & GOLD medal victories in the MOGULS! #MogulsMoguls #OneTwoPunch #DoubleDouble

After Bilodeau completed the feat of winning back to back GOLD medals in the MOGULS, he had nothing but praise for his competitor, Kingsbury. -“It’s a great feeling, but I need to first of all thank all my colleagues, I was the third to go, there were two other Canadians after me, every day they push me in training and that’s why I got my best skiing tonight. That’s why I’m the best skier I have ever been right now and the guy that finished second, he is going to win everything after I have gone.”

Alex Bilodeau celebrating his GOLD medal performance with his biggest hero & supporter, his brother Frederic.

Alex Bilodeau celebrating his GOLD medal performance with his biggest hero & supporter, his brother Frederic.

His brother Frederic means everything to him. “It was amazing. My brother is my everyday inspiration. Like I say all the time, if he had the life that I have lived he would be a three-time Olympic champion.” -TWO TIME MOGULS GOLD Medalist, Alex Bilodeau

Canada’s Medal Count [As of February 10th, 2014]- 7 MEDALS: 3 GOLD, 3 SILVER, and 1 BRONZE.

The Women’s Hockey Team is undefeated in their first two preliminary games and will take on the USA team in their third game of the preliminary round robin. As it always is between these two, it’s going to be one heck of a match up and both teams will put their best game on the ice. This game will act as a potential preview of a gold medal show down and BOTH will want the final score to be their own victory. Look out for Finland and Russia, though as BOTH are playing some great hockey and look to challenge the juggernauts of Canada and the USA teams.

The Men’s Hockey preliminary games will begin later this week giving everyone a better idea of how each team stacks up against each other and how the NHL players will impact their respective teams.

Look out folks because we are in for TWO great hockey tournaments featuring some of the best players (men & women) to ever play the game.

The games have JUST begun and there is a lot of joy and heartbreak yet to come as the games continue to unfold. History will be made with each feat that is accomplished by each nation.

As always until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Janu-OVER & HELLO FEBRUARY

From a December to remember to a January that was definitely a struggle to survive as the injury bug hit the Canucks with full steam. 2014 did not get off the the best start and that has caused many fans and the media alike to jump on the panic button as the stretch drive for the playoffs is just around the corner.

January was NOT the team’s best month by any means….the injury bug attacked the team with a vengeance [Luongo{who returned in the Calgary game},Henrik, Santorelli, Bieksa, Tanev, Weber and Alberts {Dec.29} have still not returned]. It has not been easy to watch the team struggle as the injuries seemed to happen in nearly every game…it seemed their mission most games was to escape the game with minimal injuries rather than focusing on winning. It has been a difficult few weeks to watch the Canuck in part because of the injuries and the mentality of which they let their opponents get in their heads but also because January saw Torts suspended for the final six games of the month.

Yes we are over halfway through the season and yes the team needs to be better. The good news is January is OVER and February a month in which they have had a lot of recent success[Since 2011 the Canucks are 24-9-6] is HERE. There may not be a lot of games this month due to the Olympic break BUT with the return of head coach John Tortorella and the expected return of captain Henrik Sedin things are beginning to look a lot brighter for the Canucks.

True, the Canucks have put themselves into a more difficult position with their play in the last few weeks BUT they also have a lot left to fight for in next 2 1/2 months yet. These games in February and March are ever more so important to their playoff fate. There a 4 games left before 8 Canucks [newly acquired Diaz brings the Canucks total to 8 Olympians!] are sent to Sochi to vie an Olympic hockey gold medal and the rest of the team will be treated to an Olympic break. The Canucks would like to go into the break on a high note with a few wins starting in Detroit.

Good-bye January and HELLO FEBRUARY!! The real madness is set to begin as the Olympics close and the trade deadline approaches…

Trades are one of the difficult parts of a being a fan because you are torn between being upset that a player is leaving the team while being excited for their new opportunity and optimistic about what the new player will bring to your team. In the morning of February 3rd, the Canucks announced a trade with the Montreal Canadiens: in exchange for Dale Weise, the Canucks have acquired defense-man Raphael Diaz. All the best to Dale Weise as he begins a new chapter with the Montreal Canadiens. Raphael Diaz brings a right-handed shot that has been missing on the Canucks combined with all of the injuries on the blue-line will be a great addition to the team. Down the stretch after the Olympics and come playoff time, you can NEVER have too much defense.

Did I mention that TORTS is back? It has been a very long quiet 15 days in his absence…but here is a collection of some AWESOME Torts moments from this season [Spoiler alert…its awesome!]:

HERE'S......JOHNNY!!!!

HERE’S……JOHNNY!!!!

“I apologize first and foremost to the players, to the organization and to the league. It hasn’t been a great two weeks. I didn’t help matters for this team and we’re in a tough spot right now. It’s up to me to do my job and get this team back. We had meetings this morning, we have a long list of things we need to improve at. We need to start over on the mental side” – Tortorella [February 3, 2014]

Look out NHL, you’ve released a DETERMINED John Tortorella -and it looks like just as Torts has always stood by his team, his players will continue to stand by him:

“He’s our coach, he’s our leader and we’re excited he’s back. This will be a process, starts with the right mindset” – Kesler [February 3, 2014]

That mindset is where it will begin and they hope to put it into motion starting with their final 4 games before the Olympic break vs. Detroit, Boston, Montreal and Toronto and continuing for the rest of the season.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.