Single-Digit Soccer: Making our own “Miracle”

In the new ESPN “30 for 30” documentary Of Miracles and Men, we see footage of Anatoli Tarasov, the man given the unlikely job of starting Soviet ice hockey from scratch. In a 1992 interview, he says he was told he would have little to see of other countries’ games and would need to “work on his own hockey.” “They were right!” he exclaims. More footage from his coaching days shows him imploring players to smile, have fun, and love each other. He borrowed more from ballet than Canadian hockey. His daughter, Tatiana Tarasova, picks up the thread in the present … Continue reading Single-Digit Soccer: Making our own “Miracle”

Sochi recap: Women’s ice hockey, Switzerland-Russia

A classic goaltender’s battle: Russia’s 20-year-old Anna Prugova vs. Switzerland’s Florence Schelling, the two-time Hockey East player of the year at Northeastern University. Prugova was nearly perfect. Schelling was better. Date: 15-Feb Sport: Women’s ice hockey Event: Switzerland vs. Russia Score: Switzerland 2, Russia 0 What happened: A tense scoreless affair for 30 minutes until Switzerland’s Stefanie Marty scored halfway through the second period. Russia couldn’t convert four power plays through two periods. The host country came out hard in the third and peppered Florence Schelling, outshooting the Swiss 19-7. But the Swiss did a nice job of clearing traffic so Schelling could see the … Continue reading Sochi recap: Women’s ice hockey, Switzerland-Russia

Sochi recap: Men’s ice hockey, Finland vs. Norway

In the Scandinavian matchup, Finland is undefeated against Norway. They kept it that way tonight with a blowout. Date: 14-Feb Sport: Men’s hockey Event: Finland vs. Norway Score: Finland 6, Norway 1 What happened: Finland came out firing as they scored two goals in a 1:05 span in the 1st. The Finns dominated play. After another goal with 2:30 left in the period, the Norwegians changed their goalie. In the second the Finns still dominated and scored two more goals on the backup goaltender, Lars Volden. The goals were from Korpikoski and Jokinen three minutes apart. In the third period Norway started off with a … Continue reading Sochi recap: Men’s ice hockey, Finland vs. Norway

Sochi recap: Men’s ice hockey, Canada-Austria

Let’s see — the country in which hockey is a way of life, or the team with only three NHL players on the roster? Who are you picking? Date: 14-Feb Sport: Men’s hockey Event: Canada vs. Austria Score: Canada 6, Austria 0 What happened: Drew Doughty and Shea Weber scored at roughly the 5- and 10-minute marks to stake Canada to a 2-0 lead after one. Canada’s Jeff Carter took a tripping penalty just 29 seconds into the second period, then came out of the box and scored within 10 seconds. Then scored again 90 minutes later. Then again later in … Continue reading Sochi recap: Men’s ice hockey, Canada-Austria

Sochi recap: Men’s ice hockey, Sweden-Switzerland

A stingy Swiss team frustrated high-powered Sweden, but the Swedish veterans managed to get the only goal they needed in the last 10 minutes for the win. Date: 14-Feb Sport: Men’s hockey Event: Sweden vs. Switzerland Score: Sweden 1, Switzerland 0 What happened: For two periods, nothing. Switzerland rotated goalies, benching L.A. Kings goalie Jonas Hiller despite an opening 1-0 shutout over Latvia. Reto Berra, who just made the move to the NHL with Calgary this season, proved to be difficult to solve as well. Sweden, which just lost captain Henrik Zetterberg to a back injury, took a while to … Continue reading Sochi recap: Men’s ice hockey, Sweden-Switzerland

2014 medal projections: Hockey

Once upon a time, the Olympics were the only time the world’s best athletes faced each other in many sports. That’s not true in most sports these days, but it applies to men’s hockey. The men’s World Championship takes place during the NFL playoffs, thereby depriving the tournament of most of the world’s best players. And those tournaments play a big role in the rankings that we need to take with a whole bunch of salt. The women’s competition is a little easier to predict. The best players are all available for international events, and the USA and Canada keep … Continue reading 2014 medal projections: Hockey