Consider this the open Olympic thread. Want to leave some thoughts about a Canadian
gold silver medal winner? This is the place. Marianne St-Gelais! Short-track speed skating is often really exciting but yesterday's final didn't have much suspense. The Chinese racer took a huge lead after 50 meters and was never challenged the rest of the way. A bit further down the track Marianne St-Gelais managed to hold off the Italian skater (who never once made an attempt to pass) for the silver medal. Further back still was Jessica Gregg (daughter of Randy) who finished a heart-breaking fourth of four in the final. She got off to a slow start and wasn't able to catch up. The Olympics are a funny thing in these sports that don't have a two-person final. Gold is still clearly the priority but second is still something to celebrate with vim. Fourth? Heartbreaking. A finish of second earned St-Gelais an impossibly huge smile and a victory lap with the Canadian flag. If Gregg had managed third she probably would have felt able to join her teammate for the slow skate to tonnes of cheers. But fourth? The cameras gave only one brief look at Gregg after the race - mostly by accident it seemed - but the disappointment on her face was just as clear. Perhaps my attention falls to the Edmontonian in foruth because the race took place on Ash Wednesday and I have suffering and remembrance top of mind. I suggest that we try to remember the only racer who wouldn't come back to the ice for flowers, the only racer who won't be at BC Place today to accept a medal, the only one who will be forgotten. Four racers started on Wednesday night and after 45-seconds one disappeared completely. And so, even as we celebrate with Marianne St-Gelais, we really ought to choose to remember Gregg, thank her for her efforts and her performance. She did us fellow Edmontonians proud.
And now back to hockey! Yesterday was a banner day only for the Germans and Czechs. The Germans didn't win but looked very competitive against a superior Swedish squad. They lost the game 2-0 but were very close in shots (25-21 Sweden) and they likely outshot the Swedes at even strength. The Swedish PP was dominant while the German PP was poor and there were certainly indicators that the Swedes were the better club but the Germans looked much better in defeat than the Swiss, Latvians, Norwegians or Belarussians and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them in the quarterfinals.
And as for those Belarussians, they were just destroyed by the Finns. Through two periods Belarus had one goal on four shots and the Finns led 3-1 despite a dominant performance. The 5-1 final score was closer than it looked as the Belarussians clogged the front of the net at every opportunity hoping the puck would hit something and stay out. It's a nice win for Finland, but they were likely hoping for something a bit better than a +4 differential.
The third game from last night saw Jaromir Jagr make a triumphant return to North American ice. A goal, an assist and plenty of Jagr using his body to control the puck in the offensive zone as he looked for teammates to pass to. The Czechs won the game 3-1 thanks in part to Jagr but also to Tomas Vokoun who only let one goal sneak past the entire game.
The Slovaks face the Russians tonight in the second half of back-to-back games. The only teams in the tournament forced to play on back-to-back nights? The Slovaks, the Germans, the Belarussians and the Latvians. The schedule-maker just wanted to make things extra hard on the teams that can least afford it I suppose. A big win for Russia tonight will keep them within striking distance of first overall, depending of course on what the Canadians do against Switzerland in the afternoon. I'm sure the Canadians would love to put up a big number on the board against the Swiss but in Torino the Canadians lost to the Swiss in the round-robin so I'm just hoping for a regulation win of any stripe tonight. Finally, the Americans will take on Norway this afternoon. The Americans are a very physical team and could end up really taking it to this Norwegian squad. They play the game fast and hard which many of the Norwegians won't be able to handle If the Americans put up a +7 or +8 in this one, a win over Canada in the last game of the Group stage could make them the surprise #1 seed.
United States v. Norway 1:00 p.m MST
Canada v. Switzerland 5:30 p.m. MST
Slovakia v. Russia 10:00 p.m. MST