Thursday, February 27, 2014

You can't spell idiocy without an I, an O and a C!!

As we clean out our folder of items that may or may not have been possible entries for the blog, we have one final thought on the recently completed Olympic games of Sochi.

One item that we've been tossing around in our mind, cobbling snippets of type together and finally found a theme that will work, the IOC and the gulf of common sense between those in charge of the games and the rest of us mere mortals who participate, or in the case of the home viewer, spend the better part of ten days watching.

We speak to the topic of the surprise announcement on Sunday, of the banishment of Nicklas Backstrom from the Gold Medal game. A bizarre situation that still leaves one shaking a head at the logic and machinations of the governing body of the Olympic games the IOC.

Should the Olympic games ever collapse from their own weight of self-righteous excess. A bulk of the responsibility for it will fall on the shoulders of the seemingly unaccountable bureaucrats and pretend princes and princesses of the International Olympic Committee.

A group that seems to make the rules up at times, as they go along. And take no counsel from those that suggest that they may not quite have it all right.

Sweden perhaps offering up the best example of draconian regulation that offers no reason, nor option for appeal when required the most.

While the Swedes no doubt do not need a refresher on events, for the rest of us, the basic thumbnail sketch of the events leading to Backstrom's banishment came from his use of an allergy medicine, something he has been taking for over the last seven years.

The IIHF's medical officer called Backstrom a victim of circumstances, that this wasn't in his opinion a matter of doping and more to the point of concern for the Swedish team, the timing and nature of the notification was questionable.

It's to that theme that the IOC has the most to answer for, no one argues the need to provide for a clean sport. Canadians more than the residents of most countries understand the concept and have been among the most studious when it comes to enforcement and tracking of athletes.

However, an allergy medicine hardly seems the thing of anabolic steroids, if anything, as most of us have noticed when battling our own allergies, it's more of a case of facing the day rather than seeking some kind of jump ahead of the guy or gal next to you.

As for the timing of the testing and the announcement of results, to wait until shortly before puck drop on the most important game of your showcase event to announce a banishment, doesn't do much for you grand finale.

It does play the political game quite nicely as the Swedes observed, sending the final message and setting the stage we imagine for the next four years.

But as far as in fairness to the athletes, the teams involved and the game itself, the whole process was bush league at best.

Considering Backstrom had been with his team through the week, we imagine that the results were available well before the puck was to be dropped in the Gold Medal game. So to remove a player of such high calibre just before the game is to start, is not only wrong, but is disruptive to a team when they need nothing but focus.

As the gold medal game turned out, we suspect that even with Backstrom and every other injured or unavailable Swede added to the lineup, the result would have still be the same.

Such was the focus of Team Canada on Gold Medal Sunday.

However, to have the Swedes tournament end as it did. With a cloud of suspicion that really wasn't as ominous as originally hinted, was wrong and falls squarely on the shoulders of the over bearing bureaucrats of the IOC.

The Swedish team, Backstrom and the fans of both, deserved much better from the IOC, better testing information and a much more respectful timeline of decision.

The NHL has still to announce its intention for the 2018 games, and while most in North American and Europe too we imagine, would like to see the best available players to make the trip to Korea. The mysterious events and procedures such as those of the final few days of Sochi, give the NHL much to consider.

If the NHL decides to take a pass on future Olympic games, it most likely will be for their own particular reasons.

However, when you see the IOC go out of their way to make a mess of a fairly well run tournament, and treat those that participate with arrogance, you have to wonder if the NHL will have to come up with much of an excuse.

National Post-- Nicklas Backstrom suspension a sad way to end Games
National Post-- Sweden irate over IOC's suspension of Nicklas Backstrom
Globe and Mail-- Sweden's Backstrom misses Olympic final due to positive drug test
Reuters-- Ice hockey officials slam IOC over Backstrom doping test
Toropnto Sun-- Sweden furious over Nicklas Backstrom doping ban
NBC Sports-- Swedish coach 'furious' about Backstrom ban, claims IOC 'made things up'
Eurohockey-- Swedes, NHLPA blast IOC over Backstrom ban from gold medal match with Canada
CBC-- Sweden's Nicklas Backstrom tests positive for banned substance
TSN-- Sweden's Backstrom tests positive for banned substance
Sporting News-- Nicklas Backstrom's banned allergy medicine 'destroyed" Sweden
ESPN-- Backstrom victim of drug testing debacle

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Golden domination!

For any Canadian that has ever attended a summer hockey camp, Sunday's Gold Medal victory looked very familiar. With clinical precision, Team Canada provided for a text book case of hockey fundamentals, executed to perfection with speed, determination and focus.

When Canada's men's hockey team accepted their Gold Medals on Sunday in Sochi, they provided the exclamation point on the concept that hockey while finding some current in many reaches of the winter world, still is Canada's game, a sport we have developed, improved upon and understand with a passion not found for many other games.

Through the Olympic tournament, Team Canada did all the little things right, sacrifice was the key word from Game one through to the Gold Medal game.  Star offensive players, understood that the game plan from Mike Babcock and his coaching staff would ask for patience, positional play and the need to back check.

Players who in the NHL relish the flow of an end to end rush, also bought in to the complete game, they picked up their checks, the came back to position, they offered disciplined play that provided for a team that never trailed in one game.  A squad that for the most part never seemed to be in peril and handled every shift with a calm, rational approach to whatever obstacle came in their way.

The acceptance of the team approach was most apparent in the Semi-Final showdown with the USA, the most thrilling of Canada's tournament games. Despite the one goal victory, the Canadian team controlled much of the play on Friday, refining the lesson plan of previous games, ratcheting up their game to match the intensity of their long time rival and besting the Americans at the shared game that they have grown up with.

The momentum continued on into Sunday's Gold Medal game, which for the most part was again a game of control by Canada, which never looked in peril once Jonathan Toews secured the opening goal, his marker serving to deflate an already weary Swedish squad.

Sweden which had a few opportunities early on in the first period, was featured in yet another Sochi goal post of fate for the Canadians. With Gustav Nyqvist's shot clanging off the right post behind Carey Price, yet so in his zone was the Canadian goaltender that he was quick to capture the puck before any further danger arrive.

For the most part, it was the only real threat to the Canadians in the final sixty minutes of their Sochi adventure.  While Sweden would fire off more shots at him, none were from particularly dangerous locations, rebounds when they occurred and they were rare, were quickly gobbled up by the best defensive six that Canada has sent to a hockey tournament in many years.

Price saluted his defenders post game and they returned the admiration right back and statistically you can understand how important both defence and goal tending was to the Canadian victory. Canada never trailed in the tournament, never gave up more than two goals in a game and in the final two and a half  games of the most importance of the tournament, never gave up a goal in over 160 minutes of hockey.

On Sunday, by the time that Sidney Crosby had secured the insurance marker for Canada, the Canadians were in full control of the day's agenda. The goal a reward of sorts for Crosby, who had chances through the tournament to build on his scoring resume, but was denied sometimes by luck, sometimes by steady goal tending from opposing squads.

Frustration, seemingly never part of the current of team Canada, Crosby points or not, like his team mates stuck to the game plan, a focus on the ultimate goal that served all well as they went past one opponent after another.

To complete the tournament and providing a punctuation mark for those that had concerns over the line up selected for Sochi, Chris Kunitz, a controversial choice for some, found the scoring range with Canada's third and final goal on the day. His marker, one that offered up the final point of capitulation for the Swedes.

The game started with mystery, with one of Sweden's key players Nicklas Backstrom announced as a scratch, originally explained as suffering from a migraine, later for a positive test based on a dose of an allergy medicine of all things.

As bizarre a situation as the IOC could deliver with but minutes to go before the start of a Gold Medal game and one that leaves many questions to consider regarding IOC procedures.

And while obviously providing an obstacle for the Swedish squad, it's doubtful that the result of the game would have been much different had Backstrom, or many of the other Swedes who were missing owing to injury been in the line up or not.

Canada's approach to Sunday, was for the most part the same as it was when the took to the ice against Norway, Austria, Latvia, Finland or the USA. The ebb and flow of the game, regardless of the opponent was under the control of the Canadians.

And while the Latvians and the Finns provided for interesting mornings for Canadians back home, the latter taking Canada to Overtime, the prospect of a Canadian defeat never seemed to be an issue of concern.

There was no panic in Sochi, no abandonment of the approach to the game. Just a patient resolve, shift after shift after short shift, to stay with the plan, cover off the job at hand and claim the reward when the opportunity was provided.

Fundamentals, discipline, sacrifice and passion, they served Canada well in Sochi through February.

There were no passengers on this journey, all played a role over the two weeks of Sochi. Both those on the ice and those, who by the end were relegated to the stand by positions.  All shared in the preparation work, all shared in the pressure and when O Canada was played to bring the curtain down on the Olympic tournament, all shared in the success of their Olympic journey.

Sometime this summer, at one of the many, many hockey camps that take place somewhere in Canada, a young hockey player will hear much from the coaches about learning the fundamentals, understanding his or her position and role on the ice and how each player fits into a team concept.

They'll no doubt soak those words in and think back to an early Sunday morning in February, when Canada played to those very themes, claiming a Gold medal in a place called Sochi.

February 24-- Team Canada has the right team, right strategy for today's hockey
February 24-- From ball hockey to a gold medal: Team Canada built an unbeatable machine
February 24-- Canada's Sidney Crosby delivers dagger with breakaway goal
February 24-- Martin St. Louis gold medal winner: "There's been lots of ups and downs'
February 24-- Repeat gold medal a deserved result for powerhouse club
February 24-- Canada's men hockey team had 100 more scoring chances than its Sochi opponents
February 24-- Crosby, Toews and Getzlaf the difference for Canada at Sochi
February 24-- Golden generation leads Canadian men to Olympic gold, again, in Sochi
February 24-- Olympic dominance gives Carey Price a boost as goalie returns to Canadiens
February 24-- Canada's Carey Price savours his golden Olympic moment
February 24-- It wasn't golden, but Sidney Crosby scored a beaut for Canada
February 24-- National dance of life branches out from its hockey roots
February 24-- Gold medal decision: How Team Canada learned to win on the 'big ice'
February 24-- Canada's Golden Generation not going anywhere
February 23-- Captain Crosby saves his best for last
February 23-- Carey Price shines in his first Olympics
February 23-- Sochi Games show why NHLers should be at the 2018 Olympics
February 23-- Team Canada ruthlessly efficient en route to repeat hockey gold
February 23-- Canada shuts out Sweden to win Olympic gold again
February 23-- Sochi hockey squad one of the greatest Canada has ever iced
February 23-- Olympic hockey analysis from Bruce Garrioch
February 23-- 'Captain Serious' Toews comes through in the clutch

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A stake in the heart of the Americans dreams, gives Canada a stake for a claim for Gold on Sunday...

For a one goal game, Friday's showdown between Canada and the USA was anything but a boring affair.

From the opening face off, the two teams played a very North American style of the game, despite the wider expanse, there would be no lining up of players on the blue line, no traps to stifle offence.

 Instead some frantic play at times, with a pace that went from end to end was featured through much of the game. Though  if one was to be truthful, a good portion of the play, frantic as it was,  would be spent in the American end.

Canada was quick to its fore check, the forwards hemming in the American attack on most attempts. Those few forays into the Canadian end, were limited to one shot, if that and out, rebounds banished for the most part, second chances but a wishful thought for the USA forwards.

As expected, Canada's defensive pairs played a strong game, limiting any dangers in their own end and making their mark when crossing over into the American zone, setting plays, firing rockets at Jonathan Quick.

With quick shifts that saw new players on the ice about every 40 to 50 seconds, the Canadian squad set the pace of the game, a go go go, kind of cadence that seemed at times to leave the Americans on their heels. For those wearing the Maple Leaf  Friday's was as disciplined a performance as a Canadian team has delivered on the International scene in a long time.

Canada again had plenty of scoring opportunities, pucks would skip wide, high or around Quick's nets, but a bounce away from adding to the lead and providing a much desired opportunity for Canadians to take a breath.

Yet, for all of Friday's game, taking that deep breath was not on a Canadian fans agenda. Thanks to Quick's stellar work, the Americans remained in the mix for the full sixty minutes, one shot, one goal, dirty or spectacular away from wrecking the Canadian plans of a Gold medal opportunity.

While not called upon often, Carey Price delivered when the occasion arose, providing some early saves in the first period denying the USA from the opportunity to take the lead and put on any added pressure to the Canadian side.

For the third period he again found a bit of work to do, though most of it simply tracking the puck, as Canadian defenders steered pucks to safety, up and out of the zone.

Through the final frame the Canadian goaltender was called on only once to really have to deliver a game saving stop, a save that left the Americans shaking their heads in ongoing frustration.

The Montreal Canadiens goaltender solid in  his performance, would by the end of Friday banish the nervous ones to the sidelines.  Leaving behind those who questioned Mike Babcock's decision process to on goaltending and most likely enshrining himself as Team Canada's new go to guy for competitions to come.

And while the US did have chances, at no time did it appear that Canada was going to let the game slip away from it, a quiet confidence arrived on the ice with every shift change. A workmanlike dedication to whatever task had been assigned, sacrificing body and ego to work the game plan.

Outside of some early bursts in the first period, the Americans never really mounted much of a sustained attack, turned aside by tenacious Canadian fore checking and solid blue line play, the Americans could not get into any offensive rhythm, rushes would evaporate by the time they reached the Canadian zone,

Particularly strong for Canada on Friday was captain Sidney Crosby and his line of Chris Kunitz and Patrice Bergeron. A trio which controlled play whenever they were on the ice, from crisp passes, to clearing sweeps, to taking the body through the game. Crosby in particular found an extra gear for speed on Friday and stayed with it through the game, his line mates in lock step with him .

And while the scoring opportunities came and went for the Canadian captain, Quick was on the spot to deny him,  While quiet on the scoring summary, Crosby's presence and role was still key to the Canadian play.

Likewise, Jamie Benn had a strong game, never more than when he converted a furious slap pass from Jay Bouwmeester, as wondrous a deflection as you could see, putting the puck high to the corner of the net behind the USA goaltender.

A pass and deflection that delivered the one goal lead, a marker that would hold until the handshake line at the end of the game.

For those that worried about scoring, the one goal victory offers up another chapter in Canada's lack of points gathering at Sochi. And none of that matters a whit now.

A win, whether by five or six goals or just by one is a win. The larger picture of the Gold Medal game trumping any need to claim title to the tournament scoring leaders list, a summary that will be lost to history following Sunday's gold medal game.

No better indication as to the relative un-importance of the naming of the names of the goal scoring elites, can be found from the American squad. Where for the bulk of this tournament, the Americans appeared to be able to score at will.

Yet, in the key match up of the tournament for them, the scoring well ran dry, stymied by a Canadian team which provided little space and limited time to set up an attack. And in those few instances where they came within range, the were denied by the steady hand of Carey Price.

When faced with a squad that played the complete game, the Americans found that the Canadian squad had all the answers for a semi-final victory.

Still, when it comes to that final summary, from the final game of this Olympic tournament, scoring will still count.

On Sunday, Canada will be looking to have at least one name more than the Swedes recorded in the official record.

One successful shot, a final marker that will secure some gold medals to wear and provide for the right song to sing when the final buzzer sounds.

February 22-- Team Canada reaches gold medal game by developing dominant defence
February 22-- Babcock leads Canada into the men's gold-medal hockey game
February 22-- Canada's hockey brain trust formulated game plan long ago
February 22-- No guarantee Canada's terrible puck luck will change against cagey Sweden
February 22-- Score not indicative of Canada's dominance in semi-final win over U. S.
February 21-- Canadian defence men come through once again
February 21-- Team Canada sets sights on Gold after thrilling victory over U. S.
February 21-- Crosby's game more than the numbers
February 21-- Olympic win over U. S. cements the fact Canada is a hockey factory
February 21-- Carey Price gives Team Canada huge confidence heading into the Olympic gold medal game against Sweden
February 21-- Carey Price and a shutdown defence have been golden for Canada in Sochi
February 21-- Sidney Crosby's line plays with furious precision, leading Canada over the USA
February 21-- Canada reminds Americans that U. S. is still playing Catch-up
February 21-- Americans fire blanks, must settle for shot at hockey bronze
February 21-- Canada edges United States 1-0 in Olympic men's hockey semi-final
February 21-- Americans schooled by Canada in Olympic loss
February 21-- U. S. Men's Hockey was "Terrible in Loss to Canada"
February 21-- Carey Price helps Canada shut out U. S., reach gold-mdeal game
February 21-- Plain and simple: Canada beat USA at its own game
February 21-- Canada was - and always has been - better than the U. S.
February 21-- Team Canada exactly where they needed to be
February 21-- Olympic men's hockey semi-final between Canada and USA featured several key moments
February 21-- Canada-USA Olympic semi-final hockey analysis from Bruce Garrioch
February 21-- Defence first approach fuels Canada
February 21-- Canadian defence suffocating in win over U. S.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Showtime at Sochi

Don Cherry was hoping for a Russia - Canada showdown at Sochi, the host nation however could not find what was required to accommodate that wish.

However, we have a feeling that Grapes will find the consolation prize to his liking.

Friday in Sochi brings the Olympic Men's Semi-Finals and in both games, long time rivals take to the ice to settle the final line up for the Gold Medal game on Sunday.

And while there will be interest in how the Swedes and Finns fare in the early game, the premiere match up of the day, and in the mind of some, of the tournament comes when Canada and the USA take to the ice at the Bolshoy.

A match up that offers all the indications that it could deliver a classic, much like the two nation's women's teams provided on Thursday.

For Canada, the road to the semi finals has been a winding path, a few scares thrown in along the way, (Hello there Finland, likewise Latvia) but in all instances, the final results keeping the Canadians on their mission to claim Gold in Sochi.

For the USA the road has been more of an expressway, with the exception of a nail biter with the Russian squad, the Americans have had little trouble with their opponents at Sochi. The American offence in sync, the shots finding their way to the back of the net, the wins adding to the confidence level of a team that seemed self assured even before its arrival.

The Canadians finding frustration in the goal scoring department thus far, scoring enough to win, but not as frequently as the home folk might like. A situation highlighted by a 57 shot performance in a 2-1 victory against the Latvians, a game that left Latvian goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis exhausted but an instant Olympic legend.

And while an inability to beat a goaltender more than twice on a 57 shot night might alarm Canadians, the Latvian game perhaps provided the best tune up for what is to come with the USA on Friday.

The Latvians played a hard, physical style of hockey, something that the Canadians hadn't really found in their previous outings, the bumping, mucking and hard hits of the quarter final game, should serve Canada in good form as they prepare for the American showdown.

A game that returns to Canada to a grounding of sorts, gone are the traps, and clogging style of previous opponents, ahead a game that is quite familiar to Canadians, a physical, fast paced game, one shared by brothers of the same pond, all be it from different ends of it.

Still, considering the offensive talent on the USA squad, scoring is something that Canada will be looking to improve on, making the best of their chances when presented.

The Americans have already knocked off the host squad, starting the derailment of the dreams of Russian success at the rink in their Olympics, a situation aided by the peculiar decision making of the Russians in the games that mattered most.

The momentum that the US has built up through the tournament will make them a formidable opponent, as they have been in the past.

The lure of the opportunity to advance to the Gold Medal game of Sunday perhaps equal in importance as the opportunity to knock off the North American hockey cousins, settling some old scores of four years ago and setting the stage for future battles.

For Canada, the mission remains much as it was when the team was selected and the defence of their Vancouver Gold Medal underway.

One shift at a time, one shot at a time and if the wishes of the fans back home have their way, one goal to grab the win and advance.

As the Olympic games begin their final countdown towards extinguishing the flame, there will be one heated battle ahead from two teams that know each other very well and will hold nothing back to seek their place in the Tournament final.

February 20-- 'Captain America' Zach Parise reminded of Vancouver, not revenge-minded as Canada clash looms
February 20-- U. S. Looking for hockey redemption
February 20-- Team Canada will play a different kind of hockey against Team USA
February 20-- With John Tavares out, Canada's men's hockey team turns to Matt Duchene
February 20-- Canada pumped for NHL style Olympic semifinal against U. S.
February 20-- Canada-US Olympic men's hockey semifinal story lines
February 20--  For U. S., payback just as sweet as gold-medal game
February 20-- Team Canada not fazed by panicked hockey fans
February 20-- Canada worried about a semi final date with U. S.? Not a chance
February 20-- Zach Parise, Team USA seek sweet revenge in Olympic semifinal
February 20-- What to expect when Canada, US renew hostilities in Olympic Hockey Semi Final
February 20-- Canada - U. S. Men's semifinal likely to be highlight of Olympic tourney
February 20-- USA Hockey has a shot ad redemption vs. Canada on world stage
February 20-- Proud rivals known for hard-nosed hockey meet in semi-finals
February 20-- Tough Americans on a roll with dangerous Canadians up next
February 20-- USA , Canada look to add heat to rivalry
February 20-- Confident U. S. Men Will Overcome Rival
February 20-- U. S., Canada back at it
February 20-- High-powered US offence to give Canada a new test in men's hockey tournament

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Canada, USA women show the Olympic bosses just what they may miss...

By any measure of a sporting contest, Thursday's Gold medal battle between Canada and the USA had everything a fan of hockey, or any other sport for that matter, could hope for.

A fast paced and physical match up between two teams that have become so familiar with each other over the last decade, that just asking to pass the salt at the dining room could be the kind of thing to raise emotions and rekindle past grievances.

Thursday in Sochi, both teams put on a clinic of heart, determination, skill, some luck and in the true spirit of the Olympics, officiating that at times veered off the scale of weirdness.

The Gold Medal Game for Women's Hockey was a match that lived up to and excelled beyond any pre-game hype that had been allocated to it, sixty minutes of regular time and a nail biting spell of OT, that covered as much emotional territory as a hockey game could.

While the first two periods had their own thrills, with the American squad finding the scoring range and playing with confidence with every shift, it was the third period that provided for the drama with momentum shifts seemingly with every line change, or rush up the ice.

A Canadian comeback that started with less than four minutes remaining in the period, Brianne Jenner's goal gave the Canadians some hope, a feeling that was nearly dashed shortly after as the Americans fired off a shot that bounced off the goal post of an empty Canadian net.

A shot, which had it registered as a goal would have provided for one of the great controversies for the Olympic ages, a linesman having stumbled into a Canadian at the blue line, almost a perfect pick play for the USA which allowed for the oh, that was so close, shot to bounce off the post and providing instant celebrity for Canada Post through twitter.

Having dodged what surely would have been a finishing touch for the USA, Canada was back on the attack, taking the play to the US end of the rink, where Marie-Phillip Poulin's marker in the last minute of play, gave Canadians the chance to scream in delight at their Television sets from coast to coast to coast.

The game tied at 2-2 suddenly shifting again, the ice seeming faster for the Canadians, the Americans showing the strain of sixty minutes of hockey and a lost lead, leaving for the Overtime.

Again officiating would offer up some bizarre moments in the extra frame, with both Canada and the USA being assessed calls that left their respective benches gritting their teeth and hoping that the penalty kill could find success for just one more shift.

The final penalty call, a mysterious cross checking penalty on Hilary Knight set the scene for the final moments, though for most, the correct call should perhaps have been a penalty shot award.

Regardless, for Canada having the extra player advantage in a pivotal moment of the game had its benefits, the Canadians set up in the US end and in a flurry of action the history making goal again belonged to Mademoiselle Phillip-Poulin, her gold medal winning marker escaping the reach of the USA's Jessie Vetter, delivering Canada a 3-2 victory and the defence of their Vancouver Olympic medal victory.

The images of the post game indicative of the pressure and importance of the game to both teams, a
jubilant Canadian squad receiving their gold medals with joy and maybe a bit of relief. The Americans accepting their slivers, though by their eyes you understand that you never really win silver in hockey, you miss out on the gold.

Regardless of the colour of the medal, both teams should be hailed for their play, making the wrap up to the Women's Medal round yet another moment of these Olympics, that will be talked about long after the Russians clear out the Sochi sporting sites.

Through the Olympic tournament, the whispers have grown a little louder that the IOC was still giving thought to banish the Women's tournament owing to the domination of the sport by the North Americans.

A curious suggestion from an International body dedicated to growing sport, particularly one which is slowly but surely showing some strides on the European side of the ocean and while yes, the difference between Bronze and the top two finishers may still be rather wide, tarnishing that Bronze medal earned by a Swiss team that battled for their own victory with talk of eliminating the sport serves no purpose.

By comparison, the Netherlands regularly steam roll almost all competitors in speed skating, yet every four years the remainder of the world that celebrates these winter games arrives with skates in hand ready to offer the challenge.

Same with skiing competitions, the domain of the Alpine nations, yet the dream to knock those teams off that gold medal platform continues, no one asks that the sport be eliminated.

The simple fact is, that competition drives the will to succeed, losses become lessons, the standard of success the goal that all the teams at Sochi strive to find.

In 2014, the Canadians and Americans set the standard in Women's hockey, in four years time with a determined focus on improvement and development of the game in Europe and elsewhere, challengers will come and the Tournament will grow even stronger.

Thursday's dramatic finish and burst of emotion that fuelled the third period and overtime is the kind of thing that the Olympics should provide, the best in their field leaving everything they had in the arena.

The idea of the IOC banishing a sport that shows such promise, and offers up such a finish to a tournament, surely seemed a rather folly thought as Friday arrived in Sochi.

Reviews of the Gold Medal Game can be found below:

February 20-- Poulin, Wickenheiser and Johnston lead Canada's gold medal scoring chance charge
February 20-- Canada, U. S. take women's hockey rivalry to new heights
February 20-- Team Canada's Edmonton-area relatives elated about gold medal win
February 20-- Canada's golden generation in women's hockey pulls it off one more time
February 20-- Canada's gold medal in women's hockey bittersweet for coach that resigned in December
February 20-- Canadian women's team pulls off most sensational Olympic hockey victory ever for this country
February 20-- Canadian women's hockey team wins Olympic gold with stunning comeback
February 20-- Canada's golden day hard to beat
February 20-- Canada beats USA in overtime for Olympic women's hockey gold in game for the ages
February 20-- Olympic celebration breaks out on Bob Elliot's flight to Vancouver
February 20-- Canadian women's hockey coach Kevin Dineen wins gold medal after taking job in November
February 20-- Canada completes stunning gold-medal comeback

February 20-- Marie-Philip Polin's power play goal in OT gives gold to Canada
February 20-- Team Canada tops Team USA 3-2 in overtime for Olympic women's hockey medal
February 20-- Canada women snatch gold from USA with big rally
February 20-- Hilary Knight: OT penalty in U. S. Olympic Hockey Loss a "Bogus call"
February 20-- Canada Stuns United States 3-2 in overtime for fourth straight gold medal
February 20-- "We didn't finish the job": American women suffer agonizing hockey loss
February 20-- U. S. Women fall in OT to Canada in Olympic hockey gold-medal heartbreaker
February 20-- Canada women beat US 3-2 in OT for Olympic Gold
February 20-- U. S. Women's Olympic Hockey Team Can't Grab Gold in Heartbreaking loss

Ted Nolan's most excellent Sochi Adventure!

For Ted Nolan, no matter where the NHL season in Buffalo may go (and indications are it won't be a pretty finish) his highlight reel for the season comes from Sochi, February 2014.

Wednesday, Nolan's Latvian squad, rose to the occasion against the power house Canadian team of these Sochi Olympics and as he's done many times in the past, he made believers out of a band of players probably best known to the Riga telephone operators and not many more, turning the Latvian collective into a near Giant Killer.

The fingerprints of Nolan were all over this Latvian team, the hard physical play, the sacrifice of the body to block shots, a high compete level, the ability to get into the heads of the Canadians just a little bit.

All of it on Wednesday, aided in great measure from his young goal tender Kristers Gudlevskis, who had a game for the ages and brought his team along for the ride.

Nolan's portion of that ride, at the head of his Latvian squad is the kind of story that gives you a good feeling about the game. A reminder that every once and a while, the hockey Gods reward all those with patience.

And no one will argue that Ted Nolan has been very patient awaiting his reward.

The mystery of his banishment from the NHL for as long as he was in exile is the kind of thing that raises an eyebrow about the clubby world of coaching and managing in the league, a collection of back scratching and hand shakes that we imagine leaves many a good would be coach on the sidelines.

For Nolan, time served as part of the Latvian Olympic program was the bridge back to the NHL from his exile from North American hockey.  His work through his time with the Eastern European team some pretty clear evidence, that the guy can still coach and we suspect always could.

Motivation and honest effort have always been his strengths, his players accountable to themselves and their coach, a combination that brings teams together and gives players cause to leave everything on the ice.

During the post game press conference with Team Canada's Mike Babcock, we received a sample of his quiet confidence in the players he coaches, what he askes for and what he receives, all things that his teams build on and in the case of Latvia have embraced.

For Canadian hockey fans, while no doubt relieved that Team Canada finally persevered to push back the near dance with disaster, the full sixty minute press of Nolan's Latvian squad should gain nothing but respect for a coach who clearly had the attention of his team and was able to get his lessons and messages across.

The Latvian quest for a medal at Sochi, perhaps was a quixotic ambition at best. A remarkable run that now is over. Nolan's imprint on the team however, is something that Latvian hockey can build on moving on into the future.

The coach will leave behind his adopted players, with a return to Buffalo and the rest of the NHL season on his itinerary.

A situation that will offer up a little less in the Great moments categories for 2014, but provide for much in the way of challenges, something that Nolan seems quite adept at working with.

Buffalo, has yet to take away that interim title from his head coaching position, which seems rather puzzling considering what it is that Ted Nolan seems to be able to achieve.

If the Sabres really want to put his knowledge and motivational skills to work, maybe they should start rebuilding the talent base that he has to work with and give him the time to do what needs to be done to turn around what once was a pretty impressive franchise.

We've seen what he was able to craft in a Latvian squad that was a curiosity going into Sochi and may very well have become one of the main story lines  of the Olympic Games.

Hopefully, Buffalo's management and ownership took notes and will address his tenure in Northern New York in a very short time frame.

If not, somewhere in a 30 team NHL we imagine there are more than a few owners that suddenly realize, that leaving Ted Nolan on the NHL sidelines for as long as  he was, in the end was a very foolish move.

Globe and Mail-- Ted Nolan has Latvian players believing in themselves
Toronto Star-- Coach Ted Nolan has Latvia's hockey team dreaming big How Ted Nolan's Latvians took Canada to the brink Nolan regains love for coaching with Latvia Ted Nolan, Latvia shock the world at Sochi Olympics
ESPN-- Ted Nolan Made Latvia believe in Upset

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Canada won the game, Gudlevskis won the hearts!

When Shea Weber finally delivered Canadians from their seventh circle of hockey hell on Wednesday, the gasp of relief no doubt was hear roaring across the polar ice caps through the mountain ranges and over the Bolshoy ice rink.

Canada, with Weber's goal (all be it with a few extra minutes of short breathing exercises to come before the game's end) finally solved the Gudlevskis conundrum.

A 57 shot exhibition of Canadian might, that for all but two goals was turned aside by Kristers Gudlevskis, in one of the most amazing of goal tending performances seen in a long time.

The Latvians, played like a team with nothing to lose, not content with just being the team happy to be there, they played Canada hard. With flying body checks, shot blocks, clogging zones and mucking the puck.  And yet even with all of that, the Canadians still exercised most of the control of the game, except where it counts the most, on the scoreboard for close to 52 minutes.

Patrick Sharpe put the first puck behind the Latvian goaltender at 13 minutes of the first period, a marker that many no doubt believed was about to herald the long anticipated avalanche of goals that would move Canada comfortably on to the Semi-Finals.

A reward for the near misses, goal post deflections and frustrations of the previous twelve minutes.

As things turned out, it would be a short lived bit of confidence.

The Latvians clearly astute students of coach Ted Nolan's ways, refused to buckle, taking advantage of a Canadian line change to sneak into the Canadian zone. Lauris Darzins bringing the game back to a 1-1 tie at fifteen minutes of the first, a score that would hold through the remainder of the first and all of the second.

Making for a situation that left Canadian Goaltender Carey Price required to remain in focus, despite a lack of action in his end of the rink. Yet when called upon, Price held up his end of the Canadian pact, keeping the Latvians from scoring a second goal, a job for which Canadian cardiologists will no doubt nominate him for a heart care prevention award.

The real health hazard however could be found in the Latvian end of the rink, where exhaustion was a very real possibility.

Wave after wave of Canadian line combinations, crossing the Latvian blue line, only to be stymied by Gudlevskis, a Tampa Bay prospect who for the moment spends his North American time with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.

His performance became one of the twin story lines of the day in Sochi, a remarkable performance from a relative unkonwn player.   The other story line, the loss of the home side Russian team, a squad that by the end of the day looked as shell shocked as Gudleskis must have felt.  Except at the end of his day the Latvian would be celebrated, the hosts for these Olympics more the subject of puzzlement than anything else.

Gudlevskis's performance once again left Canadian fans shaking their heads in frustration at the state of marksmanship from Canada's forwards. And while the lack of scoring for Canada is of some concern for the fans back home, there's really not much more that Mike Babcock's team could have done. They had chance after chance, running into the worst possible scenario a coach ever has to face, a hot goaltender, who builds his confidence with each wave turned away.

The nature of the Olympic tournament doesn't lend itself to the concept of the stronger team will win, unlike the seven game marathons of the NHL, at the latter stages of the Olympic games it's win or go home.

Canada survived their Latvian scare to move on to a Friday date with the USA, a game that has all the makings of another high tempo, emotional and hard hitting gathering of the North American relations.

Beyond the troubles with finishing touches around the nets, the Canadians face off against an American team that has been building confidence and momentum through the tournament. Add into the mix, an injury to John Tavares, who is now lost to Canada for the remainder of the tournament and longer for his home club the New York Islanders.

Those are the things that Mike Babcock will have to address, though we imagine motivation for the USA game won't be among his concerns. Anticipation is already high that the Friday puck drop will be one of the big moments for these Sochi games, with memories of Vancouver of four years ago setting the stage for what could be another Olympic classic.

For the Latvians, their classic has been played and recorded for the history books, they will return home  without an Olympic medal on this occasion, but what they lack in gold, silver or bronze they have more than made up in with respect.

It was a gutsy performance, from a team that showed little fear. And from a goal tender that had the game of his life and with it the accolades that were much deserved.

The logic of hockey suggests that they never should have been in the game, the reality of it is, that they were every part of it, now part of Olympic lore for the next four years.

They gave Canada another reminder that each and every game provides for a new threat, with history there for the grasping.

On Thursday, for 52 minutes, the Latvians appeared but one goal away from creating a little of their own.

February 19-- Latvian net minder Gudlevskis's remarkable Cinderalla story
February 19-- Maybe the best goaltending performance in Olympic history
February 19-- Latvian goalie makes 55 saves in loss to Canada
February 19-- 10 things to know about Latvian Goalie Kristers Gudlevskis
February 19-- Latvian Goalie Gudlevskis leaves it all on the ice

February 19-- Canada vs. Latvia Analysis from Bruce Garrioch
February 19-- Canada-U. S. Men's semifinal likely to be highlight of Olympic Games
February 19-- Canada's struggling offence in tough against potent U. S. in Olympic men's hockey semi-final
February 19-- Canada obliterates Latvia on scoring chances, if not on scoreboard
February 19-- Latvian goalie makes 55 saves in loss to Canada
February 19-- Price wasn't busy against Latvia, but kept Canada in game
February 19-- Canada struggles against Latvia
February 19-- Tavares to miss rest of Olympics, may have ligament damage
February 19-- Canada survives Latvian Scare to advance to semi-final
February 19-- John Tavares injures knee, out for rest of Olympics
February 19-- Tournament over for Tavares
February 19-- Canada's escape against Latvia shows anything can happen at the Olympics
February 19-- Canada avoids upset against Latvia, but find scoring in Sochi a big problem
February 19-- Hockey win over Latvia more relief than victory
February 19-- Canada survives Latvian scare, advances to men's hockey semifinals
February 19-- Canada's John Tavares out for the tournament after taking a hit in Latvia game

Sunday, February 16, 2014

USA and Russia get their game on!

It took a bit of time, but it's safe to say that when it comes to the Olympic Hockey Tournament at Sochi, it's Game On now, that after Saturday's showdown between Russia and the USA.

The third game for both squads provided the best test yet for two teams anticipated to be among the star attractions of these Sochi games and neither disappointed over 60 minutes of regular time an additional five of overtime and then into the scourge of hockey purists, the shootout.

Much of the play was along the lines of a high tempo NHL game, the Russian's playing the more physical of the two teams in the early going as they sought to create some space for their offensive game plan.

A scoreless first period, only set the scene for the frantic periods to follow, the Americans and Russian's exchanging checks and scoring opportunities, with a healthy dose of shot blocking on the part of the USA that had he been there, would have left Vancouver Canuck's head coach John Tortorella as an ecstatic observer.

Pavel Datsyuk opened the scoring in the second period, his magician like handling of the puck putting one behind Jonathan Quick and pushing the Russians ahead at the mid-way point of period two.

The obviously pro-home country crowd exploded in celebration, with their President looking on, exchanging high fives with all who offered him (no doubt cleared for such things by security), all sharing the common theme we imagine that perhaps more goals might soon follow.

The cheering would die down some six minutes later as Cam Fowler, brought the teams even once again, finding the range on Sergei Bobrovsky and serving notice that the USA wasn't going to mail in the rest of the game.

The two teams headed for the dressing rooms tied at 1 a piece after two, resting up for what would be
wild third, that had just about a little bit of everything and no shortage of drama, or conspiracy depending on which post-game press conference one might attend.

Joe Pavelski would change the mood of the Bolshoy with ten minutes remaining in the third, his go ahead goal stunning the Russian audience and adding even more tension, if possible to the flow of the final period.

Pavel Datsyuk once again saved the moment, tying things up with but eight minutes to go, another highlight reel performance from the Russian captain, who has clearly accepted his role as leader at these Olympics.

Russia appeared to have the Americans on the ropes at this point, the push into the US end providing for many chances and at the 15 minute mark, what appeared to be a go ahead goal as a rocket from Fedor Tuytin sailed into the back of the American net.

However, to add to the storyline of an already amazing game, the goal would be disallowed, as the American net was ever so slightly off it's pin, said by some a situation that was aided by the US goaltender Quick.

International rules apparently provide for a disallowed goal in such situations, though considering the slimmest of centimetres that that net was "off", you could build up a case that perhaps the Russian's indeed had been robbed of their goal.

Though, ancient fans of past International hockey wars will chuckle at the idea that the Russian hockey team would ever be "robbed" on their very own ice.

Still, the goal disallowed, the game would then move on to Overtime, a five minute replay of the tension and speed of the previous sixty, all to no final result.

Leaving things to the dreaded shoot out, in this case a long running exhibition of scoring opportunities that, for the most part turned into the TJ Oshie show, as the American sniper brought an end to the day's proceedings with the final shoot out marker, his fourth of the shootout, to send the Americans on to victory.

With the game but part of the preliminary round, it's hardly a death blow to the wishes of President Putin to see his squad make it to the gold medal round.  And it may actually provide a much needed measuring stick for both teams.

For the Russian squad, it offers up the puzzling nature of Alexander Radulov, the enigmatic former Nashville Predator, who spent most of the game finding ways to put the USA on a power play. Three games in now the Russians will also be getting antsy to find some offence from Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk.

The latter who now plays in the KHL, looked rather slow and out of sync with his high flying team mates from the NHL, finding a way to quickly get him on the same page as his line mates will be a key thing for the Russian squad to try and put in place.

Both the US and Russia raised their game on Saturday to the kind of level that is required to move on in a short tournament.

Sure there will be disappointment from the Russian side as to the outcome, but they had to be pleased with their effort and response, the same goes for the USA, who never seemed to lose faith that they were but a goal away from victory, which as it all turned out was the right way to think of it.

For the moment, the US will hold the bragging rights from the top flight of their pool in the Olympic tournament. A feeling which will last until the next match up, where one bad shift could prove to be the difference between a medal or falling out of the hunt.

Some of the reviews of Saturday's showcase can be found below:

February 15-- Russians riled as goal disallowed in thriller against U. S.
February 15-- It might not have been a Miracle, but the Americans' 3-2 victory over Russia was filled with drama
February 15-- Russia's Voynov suggests U. S. goalie and Kings teammate Quick cheated
February 15-- Russia denied game-winning goal, Oshie scores 4 in shootout
February 15-- U. S. beats Russia in shootout classic Olympic game
February 15-- Oshie shootout master in U. S. win, Ovechkin silent for Russia
February 15-- Russian hockey fans angry at refs after loss to USA
February 15-- T. J. Oshie leads USA to thrilling shootout win over Russia
February 15-- Oshie's heroics give U. S. biggest hockey win since "Miracle"
February 15-- Grudge Match: US Downs Russia in thrilling shoot out
February 15-- T. J. Oshie nets game-winner in shootout as Team USA beats Russia 3-2 in Olympic thriller
February 15-- Detroit Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk looks like regular, superstar self today vs. USA
February 15-- Local players on both teams contribute in USA's 3-2 win over Russia in hockey
February 15-- T. J. Oshie's shootout goals lead U. S. past Russia in thriller
February 15-- Hockey showdown features Russian star power vs. American grit, guile
February 15-- T. J. Oshie's wizardry trumps Pavel Datsyuk's brilliance in wild U. S. win

You can review some of the archive of items on Sochi that we've assembled from our Men's Tournament anchor page.

Scores of the Olympic Hockey tournament can be found here, while notes on the tournament and Canada's travels in it can be found here.

Tune ups done, Canada looks to upgrade the tempo and passion against Finland

The first two games of any International tournament, Olympic or other, usually take on the spectre of the tune up matches.

Normally the two teams are at the opposite end of the tournament rankings and while disaster could strike for a favourite, most times enough is done by the team expected to win to keep the overall plan on track, shake off the jet lag or rust and configure the line ups.

Such it appears was the blue print for Canada's first two matches at Sochi.

The Tournament debut against Norway, provided for all the thrills of a mandatory scrimmage, at least for the Canadian side. Which appeared to use the game to get their Sochi legs, test out a few line combinations and adjust to the larger ice surface and the peculiar dimensions that International and Olympic hockey offer.

For most of the game Canada seemed to not be in sync on the ice, passes weren't particularly crisp, the drive into the offensive zone often unravelling as the Norwegians adopted a rush to the net strategy, where everyone collapses, clogging up lanes and batting away any stray pucks that come their way.

To their credit Norway's defenders showed little in the way of fear, dropping in front of shots from the point with regular frequency. What they didn't gain on the scoreboard, they picked up in respect and dedication to defensive play.

Still, it is the scoreboard where a short tournament is measured and on opening night, Canada prevailed with a 3-1 victory,  not the offensive burst that many had hoped for, or expected, but at least it provided the all important W in the column that counts the most.

The second match up gave Canadian fans what they had been hoping for, stronger offensive display. Featuring lots of goals and a much more consistent approach to the play against the Austrians, a team which in this one at least, gave all the appearance of a squad just happy to be invited to the tournament.

Austria did not put up much of a struggle for Canada, the flow of the play was decidedly in the Austrian zone for most of the game, though when called upon Roberto Luongo made the required saves to snuff out any potential danger, all be it  on occasion assisted by a post or a cross bar.

The one noticeable difference between the two games, was the much more efficient use of the ice by Canada, making the right moves to avoid any trapping that Austria tried to put in place, taking the puck to the net with great frequency and finding reward six times by the time the final horn sounded.

These were two games that help to propel Canada towards the top seed in their Division. Real time action which gave the coaches an indication as to where the line combinations may need a tweak or two and most importantly, allowing Canada to finally find a rhythm to the beat of Sochi and what is yet to come.

Sunday will perhaps provide a better test of Mike Babcock's plan, Finland even as beat us as they appear to be due to injuries, seems to drive their game up a notch when they take on Canada.

That's what the Canadian team could use at this point, a bit of push, a faster pace, a challenge from a lineup that still features enough skilled talent to give Canada something to measure against.

Of course, collecting a third win and punching their way towards the medal round is the most important point of the Sunday exercise, the focus of the path to the gold medal still very much a part of the process ahead.

Canada plays Finland at Noon ET, 9 AM Pacific on CBC

You can review some of the archive of items on Sochi that we've assembled from our Men's Tournament anchor page.

Scores of the Olympic Hockey tournament can be found here, while notes on the tournament and Canada's travels in it can be found here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sochi 2014 Women's Hockey Notes

Our archive of notes from the 2014 Sochi Olympic Women's Hockey Tournament

IIHF Notes

February 18-- Dropping Olympic hockey 'will never happen'
February 18-- Women's hockey will 'never be kicked out of Winter Olympics: IIHF President
February 18-- Women's hockey will remain in Olympics: Official
February 9-- IIHF meets with IOC at Sochi Olympics over the future of the women's game

General Observations

February 15-- Experience in women's hockey fuels global jaunt
February 17-- What's wrong with Olympic women's hockey? Not Much
February 8-- Olympic women's tournament starts with familiar theme

Team by Team Notes


February 20-- Canada, USA women show the Olympic bosses just what they may miss...  HN
February 20-- Poulin, Wickenheiser and Johnston lead Canada's gold medal scoring chance charge
February 20-- Canada, U. S. take women's hockey rivalry to new heights
February 20-- Team Canada's Edmonton-area relatives elated about gold medal win
February 20-- Canada's golden generation in women's hockey pulls it off one more time
February 20-- Canada's gold medal in women's hockey bittersweet for coach that resigned in December
February 20-- Canadian women's team pulls off most sensational Olympic hockey victory ever for this country
February 20-- Canadian women's hockey team wins Olympic gold with stunning comeback
February 20-- Canada's golden day hard to beat
February 20-- Canada beats USA in overtime for Olympic women's hockey gold in game for the ages
February 20-- Olympic celebration breaks out on Bob Elliot's flight to Vancouver
February 20-- Canadian women's hockey coach Kevin Dineen wins gold medal after taking job in November
February 20-- Canada completes stunning gold-medal comeback
February 20-- Is this Hayley Wickenheiser's last Olympic hockey game? Maybe, but she isn't saying
February 19-- Canadian women look for 4th straight Olympic Gold against arch-rival U. S.
February 19-- Canada readies for golden women's hockey showdown with U. S.
February 19-- Team Canada brings gold-medal experience to women's final
February 18-- Wickenheiser, Canada set to face U. S. for Olympic gold, again
February 18-- Granato and Ferraro are heads of a divided hockey household
February 17-- Canada, U. S. to meet yet again in Olympic women's hockey final
February 17-- Ex-Dallas Stars captain Mike Modano calls Canada-U. S. Olympic women's hockey rivalry a 'cat fight'
February 17-- Canadian women get by Swiss to reach Olympic final vs. U. S.
February 17-- Canada. U. S. on collision course in women's hockey 
February 17--
February 16-- Canada's goalies battling for starts in women's hockey medal round
February 16-- Canadian women's coach Dineen counting on defensive pair
February 15-- Canadian women to face Switzerland in semi-finals
February 15-- Canadian women could get Haley Iriwn back for semi-finals
February 14-- Hayley Wickenheiser thinks Sochi Olympics have been an outstanding Games
February 14-- Canada's women relaxed ahead of Olympic hockey semifinals
February 12-- Canada's Meghan Agosta-Marciano finds more birthday magic in Olympic hockey win over United States
February 12-- Controversial goal helps Canada's women top U. S. at Olympics
February 12-- Canada beats U. S. 3-2
February 11-- Get set for a barn burner as Canada, U. S. hockey women set to meet in Sochi
February 11-- USA- Canada is the 'Stanley Cup' of women's hockey
February 10-- Canada, U. S. gear up for bonus game in Olympic women's hockey tournament
February 10-- Canada's dominance in women's hockey appears to be fading
February 10-- Dineen leads Canada to 2-0 record in women's hockey
February 8-- Szabados gets her goalie helmet the way she wants for Sochi


February 18-- Finland beats Russia 4-0 in women's ice hockey to claim fifth place
February 15-- Sweden upsets Finland 4-2 in Olympic women's hockey playoffs
February 12-- Finland beats Switzerland 4-3 in overtime to earn first win of Olympic women's hockey


February 13-- Germany beats Japan 4-0 for first win of Olympic women's hockey tournament


February 15-- Switzerland beats Russia 2-0 in women's hockey
February 13-- Russia dumps Sweden 3-1 to stay unbeaten


February 15-- Sweden upsets Finland 4-2 in Olympic women's hockey playoffs
February 9-- Sweden beats Japan 1-0 in Olympic women's hockey


February 15-- Canadian women to face Switzerland in semi-finals
February 15-- Switzerland beats Russia 2-0 in women's hockey


February 20-- Marie-Philip Polin's power play goal in OT gives gold to Canada
February 20-- Team Canada tops Team USA 3-2 in overtime for Olympic women's hockey medal
February 20-- Canada women snatch gold from USA with big rally
February 20-- Hilary Knight: OT penalty in U. S. Olympic Hockey Loss a "Bogus call"
February 20-- Canada Stuns United States 3-2 in overtime for fourth straight gold medal
February 20-- "We didn't finish the job": American women suffer agonizing hockey loss
February 20-- U. S. Women fall in OT to Canada in Olympic hockey gold-medal heartbreaker
February 20-- Canada women beat US 3-2 in OT for Olympic Gold
February 20-- U. S. Women's Olympic Hockey Team Can't Grab Gold in Heartbreaking loss
February 18-- Granato and Ferraro are heads of a divided hockey household
February 17-- Canada, U. S. to meet yet again in Olympic women's hockey final
February 17-- Ex-Dallas Stars captain Mike Modano calls Canada-U. S. Olympic women's hockey rivalry a 'cat fight'
February 17-- USA claims berth in the women's hockey gold medal game
February 17-- Like brother, like sister: Kessel siblings share style, talent
February 17-- Canada. U. S. on collision course in women's hockey
February 15-- 4-time Olympian Julie Chu leaves US hockey practice early, nursing left hand
February 11-- USA- Canada is the 'Stanley Cup' of women's hockey
February 10-- Canada, U. S. gear up for bonus game in Olympic women's hockey tournament
February 10-- Americans rout Swiss 9-0 in Olympic women's hockey
February 8--  American women win early at Olympic hockey