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.

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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.

OLYMPIC DREAMING…

The Olympics are drawing ever closer every day as athletes are announced for their respective teams and sports…BUT none cause the endless debates like that of the hockey rosters.

Will they or won’t they announce the players who SHOULD be locks or who we deem has earned a spot? Will the rosters reflect the best players in the NHL given that the players were officially given permission to partake in the games if they were called upon by their countries? Will there be standout players from other leagues? Will some players that “should have been” named to the Olympic rosters be left off?

In answer to all of the above questions: YES, YES, YES and YES. The NHL is full of talent from all around the globe AND every roster has been debated ad nauseum from the moment the 2014 Olympics were on the horizon, and will continued to be debated until the final buzzer of the gold medal game [and probably beyond as the 2018 games sneak up on us and everyone will have opinion how to improve the rosters that were named for the impending games in February].

The Canucks will be sending 7 regulars from their lineup to the Sochi 2014 Winter Games in February. For these 7 Canucks [& many other players league wide], the Olympic dream is becoming a reality when they put their country pride on the line.

ROBERTO LUONGO & DAN HAMHUIS will both be sporting the maple leaf in red & white when they represent CANADA at the 2014 SOCHI games in February.

ROBERTO LUONGO & DAN HAMHUIS will both be sporting the maple leaf in red & white when they represent CANADA at the 2014 SOCHI games in February.

Roberto Luongo being named to Team Canada should come as no surprise to anyone, he has international experience AND he was after all a BIG part of 2010 GOLD MEDAL team. For all the critics out there, let’s take a closer look at Roberto’s resume in the last four years.

Going back to the start of the 2010-2011 season Roberto Luongo has posted a very respectable 94-45-24 overall record and 14 shutouts in 163 games played.

2010-2011: 38-15-7. *4 shutouts. *0.928 SV %. *2.11 GAA. [Career best numbers]

2011-2012: 31-14-8. *5 shutouts. *0.919 SV%. *2.41 GAA.

2012-2013:    9-6-3.  *2 shutouts. *0.907 SV%. *2.56 GAA.

2013-2014: 16-10-6. *3 shutouts. *0.922 SV%  *2.22 GAA. ***We’ve only just passed the 1/2 mark & Luongo could still catch his career best numbers in SV% & GAA that he posted in the 2010-2011 season! 

It’s hard to believe that despite all the drama that Luongo has endured, his consistency has hardly wavered in his on ice play. People didn’t think that he’d be a game changer in the 2010 games but I remind you of his SAVE on Demitra in the last minute of the Slovakia game that secured Canada’s place in the GOLD medal game…that my friends was a game changer…that stop was the difference between bronze and gold qualification. Playing in the Olympics will only serve to raise Luongo’s game to another level.

Dan Hamhuis will be representing Canada and perhaps that surprise a lot of people yes? True Hamhuis struggled to start the season and it wasn’t always pretty to watch BUT in the last 6 weeks with the injuries piling up on the back end, Hamhuis has been called upon to help solidify the blueline [he leads the team in the +/- category with +12! That’s impressive considering that Edler who has only played 27 games mind you, is at -12].

Most people tend to forget that he represented Canada in the 2013 World Championship and played impeccably well defensively on the same BIG ice that will be required in the SOCHI games. His experience on the big ice will only serve to help Hamhuis thrive on the Olympic stage. The Olympics are going to be a great experience for Hamhuis to learn from moving forward.

Ryan Kesler will represent the USA in the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February!

Ryan Kesler will represent the USA in the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February!

Ryan Kesler has had an interesting 4 years since his 2010 silver medal performance to say the least! He started on a high posting career highs and winning the 2011 Selke trophy before being dogged by injuries 2 years in a row before finally being able to play 100% healthy as this current season began. In the last 4 years, Kesler has accumulated 164 points [84 goals, 86 assists] in 221 games played.

He seems to have rediscovered his determination that he lost when he was overcome with the injury bug.Torts has a lot to do with Kesler finding his game again. When Ryan Kesler in 100% healthy he is almost always a game changer on your roster. He will be an asset to team USA.

Alexander Edler, Henrik and Daniel Sedin will represent Sweden at the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February.

Alexander Edler, Henrik and Daniel Sedin will represent Sweden at the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin will be representing Sweden at the Olympics for the 3rd time when they go Sochi. They come to the team with an incredible amount of experience both in the NHL and on the international stage. In the spring of 2013 they won the GOLD medal at the World Championship. In the last 4 years the Sedins have combined for 508 points [149 goals, 359 assists], back to back Art Ross Trophies, 1 Ted Lindsay award, 1 Hart trophy and mesmerizing the league with their ridiculous chemistry that Canucks fans are lucky to watch every night. The Sedins will be able to utilize their sedinery ways with the assistance of the likes of Zetterberg and Kronwall!

Alexander Edler will also be representing Sweden as he makes his Olympic debut [Edler was also a part of the 2013 GOLD medal World Championship team]. Edler when 100% healthy which he will be prior to the Olympics, is an asset to the blueline from his shot blocking, big hits, defensive play and timely scoring [& oh yes he can score in the shootout!].

All three of these players will be an asset to team Sweden in Sochi as they look to find the formula that made the team successful in Turin.

Yannick Weber will  represent Switzerland at the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February.

Yannick Weber will represent Switzerland at the 2014 SOCHI Winter Games in February.

Yannick Weber perhaps does not have the most NHL experience BUT he will be representing Switzerland for the SECOND time as he debuted with his home country in the 2010 Olympics. Weber has been very solid for the Canucks since being recalled from the farm team [due to the injury bug that hit the defense!]. His shot from the point can be lethal when unleashed.

Olympic dreaming…will soon be reality for Roberto Luongo, Dan Hamhuis, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Alexander Edler and Yannick Weber. The 2014 Sochi Winter Games are drawing near and will draw the attention of the world as we all hold our collective breath waiting for the puck to drop. Every country will be vying for gold BUT only ONE can walk away with coveted prize of hockey gold.

Are you ready?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Daily Prompt: Canucks A to Z

I’m a little late with this post but I liked the idea!

Create a short story, piece of memoir, or epic poem that is 26 sentences long, in which the first sentence begins with “A” and each sentence thereafter begins with the next letter of the alphabet. [not that this post is in any way epic or necessarily poetic but rather facts.]

Alex Burrows began his NHL career playing his way up through the minors, undrafted before he solidified his spot on the top line with the Sedin twins.

Bure known to many as the “Russian Rocket” for his knack  for speed and to score many timely goals will have his jersey #10 retired this upcoming season.

Chris Higgins after signing a 4-year extension will be looking to stay healthy through 82 games this season.

Daniel Sedin matched his brother YET again when his scored his 756th career point also in his 905th career game.

Edler will be forced to sit out the first two games of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games following his suspension from the 2013 World Cup before being eligible to play.

Forever Canucks: Luc Bourdon, Pavol Demitra, and Rick Rypien left this world too soon but they will never be forgotten.

Game 7 between the Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011 was everything fans of the rivalry could hope for going all the way to OT ending only when BURROWS scored and the entire city cheered as the team finally eliminated the hawks.

Harold Snepsts a heart and soul player, he and his moustache were quick to becoming fan favourites during his playing time with the Canucks.

Ice will be taking over outdoors in the NHL this season as there will SIX outdoor [stadium] games kicking off with the Winter Classic in January.

Juice [aka Kevin Bieksa!] scored one of the biggest goals in recent franchise history with his double OT goal May 24, 2011 that sent the team to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

Kurtenbach served as the first official team captain when the Canucks joined the NHL in 1970 and was there in October 2010 to present Henrik Sedin as the current team captain.

Linden though he may be retired was and still is an incredible mentor to past and current Canuck players.

MacLean forever will be remembered by Canuck fans for making “the save” during the first overtime period of game 7 vs. Calgary in 1994.

Naslund, Morrison, and Bertuzzi formed what fans called the “West Coast Express” scoring many very exciting goals as the team’s top offensive line.

Olympic glory was more than just a possibility when Vancouver acted as host in 2010 with 7 Canucks participating and 3 returned from their quest with medals [Luongo -GOLD, Kesler-SILVER, and Salo-BRONZE].

President’s men in consecutive years [2011, 2012].

Quinn helped lead this team transitioning from former player to coach from 1991-1994 during which he earned a Jack Adams award [1992] and coached the team on their 1994 run to game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

Ryan Kesler’s Selke play in 2011 reached a level dubbed as #beastmode and fans hope that he will find that level when the calendar flips to October 3rd.

Sedin and Sedin have an insane amount of on ice chemistry constantly creating plays with the puck when it looks impossible and often more very difficult to stop when on their game.

Torts having officially switched places with Vigneault will be looking to leave his mark on the team in a positive way that will hopefully lead to an extended playoff run.

Utica has been named as the new home for the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate which will be named the Comets.

Vintage will become more than the past when the Canucks host the Ottawa Senators in the 2014 Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic at BC Place Stadium March 2, 2014.

Wilkins will forever be remembered by Canucks fans for scoring the FIRST goal in franchise history!

X-factors throughout the line up are must for any team hoping for an extensive playoff run.

You, fans in the stands will all be chanting #LUUUUUUUUUUU when #1 returns to the net this season!

Zack Kassian will hopefully find his scoring groove in the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

There you have it…it may not be epic or poetic BUT it is all Canucks A-Z! Enjoy!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

#10 to the Rafters!

Pavel Bure scoring one of the most iconic goals in Canucks history...Round 1: game 7 vs. Calgary....BURE SCORED & helped the team onto the incredible 1994 playoff run. The Canucks confirmed that Pavel Bure's #10 will be retired in the upcoming season!

Pavel Bure scoring one of the most iconic goals in Canucks history…Round 1: game 7 vs. Calgary….BURE SCORED & helped the team onto the incredible 1994 playoff run. The Canucks confirmed that Pavel Bure’s #10 will be retired in the upcoming 2013-2014 season!

It’s about time! Last year he was formally inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. This year, Pavel Bure’s #10 is officially being retired by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2013-2014 season. His #10 will join Stan Smyl’s #12, Trevor Linden’s #16 and Markus Naslund’s #19 in the rafters at Rogers Arena. You can bet a ticket to the Pavel Bure’s jersey retirement game will be one of the hottest ticket games of the year.

Nicknamed the Russian Rocket, Pavel Bure was one of the most exciting players to ever play the game in a Vancouver Canucks uniform. Bure was electric every time he hit the ice scoring 437 goals and 342 assists [779 points!] in 702 games over the course of 13 seasons. Bure is the only Canuck to score 60 goals in a season not just once but TWICE in a row before the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy even existed [& would go on to WIN the Rocket trophy twice scoring 58 & 59 goals in later seasons]. When Bure’s name is mentioned in the same sentence as the Canucks it is hard to not mention him winning the Calder trophy as top rookie in 1992, his triple deke, and the incredible role he played on the 1994 playoff run, 1998 Nagano Olympics silver medal, and the magic he created on the ice every single shift.

As a Canuck, Pavel Bure played with heart and soul. Bure created plays with the puck and his speed every time he was on the ice whether it was setting up a play or scoring a highlight reel goal.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but how about also getting to watch that goal one more time for good measure? You’re welcome, enjoy!

It is a well deserved honour! Congratulations PAVEL BURE! #buremagic #RussianRocket #10totherafters

In other Canucks news,Mike Gillis met with the season ticket holders at the annual Canucks Summer Summit and addressed a few issues. He stated very emphatically that he is confident in Luongo returning to Vancouver stating “Roberto WILL be OUR starting goalie” and “we made the choice to go to Roberto”. Gillis also attempted to keep fans calm by saying that when the Sedins return from Sweden they will commence talks in regards to their next contract as he wants them to remain with the club long-term.  One last tidbit he shared was introducing Head Coach John Tortorella’s Assistant Coaches: Mike Sullivan and Glen Gulutzan.

It was announced today that the Canucks reached a 1-year deal[$750,000] with Dale Weise.

Congratulations must be given to Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Alex Edler, Roberto Luongo, Dan Hamhuis and Ryan Kesler who have all been invited to their respective Olympic consideration camps! Do you think they will all be named to their Olympic rosters? Can you feel the excitement mounting for the  2014 Sochi games?! Do you think anyone from the Canucks was missed that should have been considered for the training camps? Leave a comment below!

Congratulations once again to Pavel Bure, who will even more so, be forever a part of a Canucks history as his number is retired this year! Thanks for giving Canucks fans some exciting years!  #RussianRocket #foreveracanuck #heartofacanuck

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.