Canada, Crosby Finally Solve Team USA To Win Olympic Hockey Gold

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Posted on 28th February 2010 by Ben Krasner in Sports Commentary

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Canada Beats USA To Take Hockey Hold Medal

Sidney Crosby scores to clinch the gold medal and send Canada into frenzied celebration.

Sidney Crosby suddenly put a shot on goal and between Ryan Miller’s pads 7:40 into sudden death overtime to win the gold medal match of what was probably the biggest and best tournament the Winter Olympics – and perhaps the world – has ever seen.  The win avenges a 5-3 Team USA victory in their preliminary match where USA secured their appearance in the quarterfinals and in which Canada didn’t play their best hockey, especially goalie Martin Brodeur.

Zach Parise and Team USA had tied the game with just 24 seconds left to force overtime, but Team Canada proved to be the more talented team as they controlled the bulk of the action in the 4-on-4 overtime session and ultimately won the game with the stick of one of the most talented players in the world.  Sidney came off the boards in great offensive position behind his USA defender and quickly sent a wrist shot towards the net in the hopes of catching Miller before he was ready – a decision that proved perfect as he ended up beating Miller 5-hole and sending every Canadian into the frenzy they had all hoped for long before the Olympics had even opened up.

Team USA ends up with the silver medal while Canada takes gold in the sport they wanted to win the most as the host for the tournament in a sport they call their own.  Team USA goalie Ryan Miller won the tournament MVP award for his outstanding play throughout, a possible measure of satisfaction even if he did come up a bit short in the end in the final match.

Both teams should be proud of their efforts as they both proved a lot to the world.  Canada proved that they really were the best and deepest team in the tournament and that they really are top dog, still, when it comes to the overall picture of hockey talent.  Team USA proved to be much better than people were giving them credit for before the tournament, showing plenty of speed, grit and skill while toppling quality competition.

Congratulations to Canada on a great win, and congratulation to Team USA for their silver medal performance in this Olympics.

USA Men’s Hockey Scores To Force Overtime

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Posted on 28th February 2010 by Ben Krasner in Sports Commentary


Parise scores with 24 seconds remaining to tie Canada 2-2 and force overtime in the gold medal match of the 2010 Winter Olympic hockey tournament!

With golatender Ryan Miller pulled for the extra attacker and Team USA in final desperation mode, USA controlled the action pushing the puck towards Canada goaltender Riberto Luongo with a hot he couldn’t control. The puck then was cycled behind Canada’s net, passed back out and was sent back in net – another shot Luongo couldn’t cover. Zach Parise’s effort again pays off as he was in the right place at the right time with the puck rolling right to his stick side in front of Luongo and he slapped it past Luongo’s right pad into the back of the net.

The gold medal match heads to overtime! I can’t wait!

USA Men’s Hockey Destroys Finland With 6-Goal First Period

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Posted on 26th February 2010 by Ben Krasner in Sports Commentary


On To The Gold Medal Match!

With a 6-goal barrage in the first period, the USA hockey team shot past Finland and into the gold medal match where they will meet Canada in a highly anticipated rematch of the preliminary round meeting between the two that USA won 5-3.  Finland goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is known for often being a dominating force in net for his NHL team, the Calgary Flames, but was reduced to pondering and staring at the scoreboard for almost the entire game after he helped get the USA hockey puck rolling by giving away the puck on a very odd-looking passing decision just over two minutes into the contest.  For the Americans, it was all downhill from there.

Patrick Kane lead the scorers with 2 goals, while it was Ryan Malone who got things started with his interception of Kiprusoff’s errant pass and put the puck into the empty net.  Zach Parise, Erik Johnson and Paul Stastny also scored during the opening period – the only period the US would need to apply pressure in on the day.

Kiprusoff was pulled just after the 10-minute mark when he allowed his fourth goal of the period (on just 7 shots) and his day was done.  It was really shocking to see Kiprusoff looking so powerless out there on the ice in such a crucial match.  This was a win-and-your-in-to-the-gold-medal-match game, after all, and Kiprusoff is known more for standing on his head in the crease than allowing soft goals or giving the puck away as he did.

I can’t wait for the rematch with Canada.  I don’t normally like rematches but this one should be excellent… and for the gold!

Joannie Rochette Wins Winter Olympic Bronze Medal

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Posted on 25th February 2010 by Ben Krasner in Sports Commentary


Joannie Rochette Wins Bronze MedalJoannie Rochette (click here to visit Joannie Rochette’s website), just days after her mother died from an apparent massive heart attack, completed an amazing Olympic performance by winning the bronze medal in women’s figure skating at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C.  Kim Yu-Na. easily the best performer of all the women competing in the event, won the gold medal while Mao Asada finished second and took the silver medal.

I find this a perfect ending to this Olympic’s women’s figure skating event.  I’ve repeatedly said that I’m not really a figure skating fan – let’s be honest, I rarely even watch unless Natalie has it on TV.  When I do watch it is generally because there are interesting sub-plots or stories that I have picked up on the airwaves and which make it more interesting to me.  As I wrote a few days ago when Joannie Rochette skated her heart out during her short program two days after her mother had died, her story had me on the edge of my seat and struggling to hold back my own emotion and knowing just how to feel or even breathe at times.  After that, I was hooked and needed to watch the remainder of the event to make sure that I caught the conclusion.

Watching the skaters and hearing the backgrounds of the skaters as put forth by NBC announcers, it seemed pretty clear that the top two performers were South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na and Japan’s Mao Asada.  The race behind them (barring unfortunate performances by either of the top two) was for bronze and respectable finishes (though Rochette did beat Asada in the past).  After the short program, Joannie Rochette was sitting in third place and I will admit I sort of wanted that to be the order of finish as well.

What I didn’t want was for Joannie Rochette to get onto the ice and finally fall victim to the emotional mess that was surely inside of her.  I didn’t want her to go out and falter on a jump while on this grand stage and then miss out on a medal as a result.  I thought that a bronze medal for her would be a triumph, actually, and something that would make the whole family – indeed the whole country of Canada – proud.  However, while I didn’t want her to falter I wanted to see her do well.  I wanted to see her go out and be the tough, focused, determined individual that she showed during the short skate.  It was as inspiring an effort as I have witnessed for some time and, selfishly, I wanted to see the encore performance.  I wanted to see her go out and win!

She put on another inspiring performance, even if there were a couple of moments where all of us uneducated figure skating “fans” witnessed something we were sure was a small mistake.  Her performance vaulted her back into 3rd position after some skaters had performed well enough in front of her to get into that position just prior to her turn to hit the ice.  From there she had to hang on as a young American, Mirai Nagasu, took her shot at the podium.  She, too, skated well but would have needed a pretty much flawless performance to reach the bronze medal due to the quality of Rochette’s short and free skate performances.

Rochette’s score did hold up and she finished off the success with another kiss to her mother towards the sky in another touching moment of emotion.  Again, Natalie and I both welled up a bit as she skated off the ice to a massive ovation and a shot of her father appeared on the TV.  I think both of us were thrilled to have seen what unfolded in front of us on the TV – I know I will personally never forget it.  I truly feel as if a new hero was born on Tuesday, during her short skate, and today it was confirmed for the world to see.

During the medal ceremony, the range of emotion on the podium was stunning.  Kim Yu-Na was proud, happy and clearly relieved of all of the pressure that she had placed on her from her country and her sponsors.  Mao Asada looked like she wanted to be happy but was more disappointed and awaited some fateful results of her own pressures of competing with and losing to her South Korean counterpart.  And then Joannie… fighting to stay tough on the podium but realizing the enormity of it all… you could see the sadness, happiness gratitude and fortune all churning through her from the moment she stepped onto the podium throughout the raising of the flags.  I can only imagine what that must have felt like – perhaps the ultimate taste of bittersweet?   I would think so.

Congratulations, Joannie – you earned it and your mother is as proud as she could be for you.  You and your family inspired many of us through your toughness, ability to focus, gracefulness and classiness… and of course your athletic achievement as well.  This will all not soon be forgotten.

LaCha’im (To life!)

USA Men’s Hockey Squeezes Past Switzerland – On To The Semis

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Posted on 24th February 2010 by Ben Krasner in Uncategorized


Jonas Hiller put on an inspired performance and got some help from the goal posts as he stymied the USA Men’s Hockey Team through two periods to give his Switzerland squad a chance at an upset in the first elimination round of the 2010 Olympic Men’s Hockey Tournament, Wednesday.  But Zach Parise scored on a deflection 2 minutes into the third period and added an empty netter just before the end of regulation to beat the Swiss and send USA into the semifinal round.

The USA men will face the winner of Wednesday night’s game between the Czech Republic and Finland for the right to head to the gold medal match.

Links to stories: – Switzerland vs. United States – Zach Parise Powers Team USA Into Olympic Semifinals – Americans Edge Swiss 2-0 To Advance To Semifinal

Joannie Rochette Skates Like A Champion After Her Mother’s Death

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Posted on 24th February 2010 by Ben Krasner in In The News | Sports Commentary


If you were watching the Olympics, last night, I hope you caught the skate of Joannie Rochette’s life (see also CNN’s Rochette article, here) … and if you watched her skate I hope that her effort and her emotion tugged at your heart strings because I know she sure did for me.  I’m not a fan of ice skating so much as I am a fan of athletic achievement and last night’s performances on the ice were pretty special – none, though, were more special that Joannie Rochette’s.

Joannie Rochette Emotional After Her Nearly Flawless Short Program SkateImagine that just two days before the event of your life – in this case her home country staging the Winter Olympics in which she is a participating athlete – your mother of father dies suddenly, at an age far too early and without warning or signs.  Position yourself on a map so that you are far away from home – in this case completely across the country from where she calls home in Quebec.  You have no time to mourn, barely enough time to make plans, and probably no way to even get your parent’s body sent back home (I don’t even know how you would accomplish that task, anyway).  Imagine the swing of emotion from absolute excitement and pressure to being crushed with sadness, loss and depression.  Now… go out and perform like an Olympic champion on the world’s biggest stage and do it all on ice, while balancing, jumping, spinning and dancing on two 1/8″ pieces of steel strapped to the bottom of your feet.  Are you kidding me?  Maybe the fact that I can barely stand upright on skates of any kind is influencing my opinion, here, but I think that’s flat out amazing.

I honestly don’t know what I was feeling the most during her skate.  Was it hoping that she did well because of all the hard work and time she had put into getting to this stage?  Was it simply hoping that she would not fall on any of her jumps or have any problems during her skate because of the seemingly strong likelihood of that happening?  Was it hoping she would do well to honor her mother’s life?  Was it actual excitement for the quality of her skate?  All I know is I was on the edge of my seat … for the first time during Olympic women’s figure skating … and I could not blink.

You could hear the crowd suffering the same fate.  At times they were simply holding their breath.  At times they were likely choked up.  At times they were into the music, clapping, rhythmically into the performance.  At times they were excited, then hopeful, then back to worried.  I know, even without being there, because that’s what I was going through thousands of miles away in my own home.

Somehow she pulled herself together and competed – so well that she earned her personal best score for her efforts.  When she finished she was immediately overtaken with emotion, as anyone should have expected.  By the looks of things she was teetering on that edge just BEFORE she took to the ice so I can only imagine the rush that came over here at the end, after performing so well – a performance her mother would never physically see.  Immediately, I welled up inside and out as if somehow I completely understood what she was going through when there’s just no way that I could.

What a champion.  In a world looking for heroes searching for individual efforts that inspire – here we were provided with a tremendous example in the form of a French speaking Canadian figure skater.  Absolutely one of the most amazing Olympic stories/moments I’ve ever heard of and I will never forget it.

Vancouver Winter Olympics, Georgian Olympic Team, Suffer Tragedy

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Posted on 12th February 2010 by Ben Krasner in Sports Commentary

What a tragedy… A georgian luger lost his life, the result of a practice accident just hours before the opening of the games. I’m not into the Olympics like I am other sports and settings but that is one of the most terrible things I’ve heard of. Here’s a guy that is going to proudly portray his country and give meaning to all the time and resources that he and others have put into this effort to give him a shot at proving that he’s amongst the best in the world at what he does, and he dies following a horrific accident during, of all things – practice. If that isn’t a hell of a twist of fate I don’t know what is. I can’t even imagine what his family is feeling right now. Absolutely unbelievable … I just hope there’s some way his family, coaches, Olympic teammates and anyone else who had a connection with this brave young man can keep their heads about them during a time when they are supposed to be celebrating and exhibiting pride and accomplishment.