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The Season – Southeast Division

In At the Games Baby on September 30, 2010 by geespotting

THE SEASON

SOUTHEAST DIVISION

…It’s a final look at the East Conference, and the Southeast Division. This just might be the weakest division in the league, but, it does boast the most potent offence in the game with the Caps, and all of their firepower. It is safe to say that Washington will once again be close to the top of the overall standings…and safe to say that the rest of the division will be fighting to stay out of the basement. Here’s a peek at how it should shake down:

1. WASHINGTON CAPITALS

FRANCHISE PLAYER: Alexander Ovechkin

…A remarkable regular season for the Caps came to a crashing halt in the post-season with an unlikely first round loss to the Canadiens. Sometimes, a hot goalie happens, and that was the case for Washington. What was most amazing in this series was losing 3 in a row, including 2 at home. It was a long off-season, but, maybe that was welcome relief, especially in the case of Alex Ovechkin. The star sniper struggled at times late in the season, into the post-season, and then at the World Championships for Russia. There may have been a lingering injury that kept Ovie from being the threat he usually is. That being said, a bad season for Alex is still a season where he finished 2nd in goals & points, and was a finalist for the Hart Trophy. I expect Alex to be back on track, as well as an explosive supporting cast that includes Nik Backstrom, Alex Semin, Mike Green and others. Actually, the Caps might even be a bit better this season. Expect big things from rookie defenceman John Carlson, who could contend for the Calder this year. The goaltending situation has Semyon Varlamov in the top spot, but, rookie Michal Neuvirth could pull a Tuukka Rask and snag that top spot away. As for the post-season…they won’t have to worry about Jaroslav Halak, providing they don’t meet the Blues for the Stanley Cup!

PRIME POOL PIX: Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth, Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin, Niklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Thomas Fleischman.

BUYER BEWARE: Tom Poti, Mike Knuble

2. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

FRANCHISE PLAYER: Steven Stamkos

…The new season promises to be promising for Tampa…I promise. As a matter of fact, they could find themselves back into the playoffs this year, at the very least, a runner up spot in the division. Since the departure of Nikolai Khabibulin, goaltending has been a sore spot for the Lightning, but, this year, a pair of tenders will get that shot to compete for number one in Dan Ellis and Mike Smith. Each has showed flashes of brilliance before…but, those flashes usually only last as long as a Chris Neil scoring streak. How they will fare will be one of the big questions in the Eastern Conference this season. Otherwise, Tampa has improved this off season. Pavel Kubina is back, and adds some depth to a blueline that will include a better Victor Hedman, as well as Matthias Ohlund. Up front, that firepower is there with Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, and Steven Stamkos, who lived up to his potential by sharing the Rocket Richard Trophy with Sidney Crosby. A big addition in the Summer was a trade with Philly that brought veteran Simon Gagne to the Sunshine State. If Gagne can stay healthy, he will look good playing with any of the big 3. The team has some added grit with the likes of Ryan Malone and Steve Downie. Tampa is a long way away from their only Cup win, but, in the case of getting back into the post season, expect Lightning to strike!

PRIME POOL PIX: Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Simon Gagne, Ryan Malone.

BUYER BEWARE: Mike Smith, Dan Ellis, Pavel Kubina.

3. CAROLINA HURRICANES

FRANCHISE PLAYER: Cam Ward

…Ok, so, a picture of Eric Staal could also be above this analysis, but, if not for Staal and Ward…this team would be scraping the bottom of the basement. Ward had a dismal 09/10 season as injuries and personal issues came to the forefront of his year. I would imagine a full bounce-back is in the cards for this season. The ‘Canes do have some good depth on the blueline with Joni Pitkanen, Tim Gleason, and Jamie McBain, who has proven that he could be a d-man to watch out for in this new season. Up front however, there are a lot of holes. With the retirement of Rod Brind’Amour, comes the hard fact that Carolina is in re-building mode. Other than Staal, there are questions surrounding Jussi Jokinen, Sergei Samsonov and Erik Cole. Can either of those three stay healthy…and can they retain or regain years that have gone by? Tuomo Ruutu also falls in that category, but, if he plays half a season, then it is usually considered a victory. There are some good young players with the franchise, but, it may be too soon to expect much from Zach Boychuk, Drayson Bowman and others. This Hurricane season won’t be blowing anyone away.

PRIME POOL PIX: Cam Ward, Joni Pitkanen, Jamie McBain, Eric Staal, Jussi Jokinen.

BUYER BEWARE: Erik Cole, Sergei Samsonov, Tuomo Ruutu.

4. FLORIDA PANTHERS

FRANCHISE PLAYER: Tomas Vokoun

…For Panther fans, when Tomas Vokoun is the franchise, there shouldn’t be a whole lot expected. Actually, Vokoun is still a great player, but, this is a team that will only be able to survive if they play like the Panther team that made the Final almost 15 years ago. Bring back the trap, I say, and you might succeed. The blueline corp is still pretty good, with a veteran prescence that includes Dennis Wideman, Bryan McCabe, Bryan Allen, and youngster Dmitri Kulikov. Up front, it’s a mix of has beens, want to be’s, and still theres! Stephen Weiss is one that is still there, and should still lead this team in scoring, despite not having his favorite winger Nathan Horton anymore. Beyond that, there’s Cory Stillman, Radek Dvorak, Steven Reinprecht and others that can still play, but, their best years are long gone. There is some promise with Michal Frolik, and if David Booth can recover from his terrible concussion problems from last year. The Cat’s will also add some decent players from the draft, but, those players aren’t ready just yet. On the positive side, they won’t finish last!

PRIME POOL PIX: Tomas Vokoun, Bryan McCabe, Stephen Weiss, Michal Frolik, David Booth.

BUYER BEWARE: Dennis Wideman, Cory Stillman, Chris Higgins

5. ATLANTA THRASHERS

FRANCHISE PLAYER: Tobias Enstrom

…C’mon…you know Toby Enstrom, he’s a household name….in his own household. No offence to Tobias, but, in his defense, this defenceman is the best of the bunch in Atlanta. The Ilya Kovalchuk era is done, and I don’t know what will draw the people of Atlanta to the rink to watch them lose. Goaltending will be an issue, as Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason are the go to goalies, but, even if they excel, there is too much support on this Thrasher squad. Actually, there are some bright spots, like Enstrom, who will lead the way on the PP, along with Zach Bogosian, who should better entering his third season. After that, your best bet is Johnny Oduya. Up front, Nik Antropov will be counted on for the offence, and a rebound season will be needed from Brian Little, and more over-achieving from Rich Peverley. Atlanta did add some depth from the Hawks with Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager and Dustin Byfuglien, who might actually start the season back on defence. There are some good young players too in Evander Kane and Nik Bergfors, but, I can’t see too much improvement from this club just yet. Cellar dwellars these Thrashers wll be.

PRIME POOL PIX: Ondrej Pavelec, Tobias Enstrom, Nik Antropov, Rich Peverley, Bryan Little, Nik Bergfors.

BUYER BEWARE: Chris Mason, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd.

…Ok, there is a run-down of the Eastern Conference, and each division. Where will each team finish in the conference? I will cover that for you next week, but, up tomorrow, our attention focuses on the West!

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At The Games – Sat. Feb.27th

In At the Games Baby on March 3, 2010 by geespotting

Just 2 days left in the Games…and Canada gaining momentum! Check the deets (as the kids would say):

CHERYL BERNARD

– Just as Canadians expect Gold in hockey, on both the ladies and mens side, the same can be said for curling. For Bernard and her rink, the pressure was on for Gold, and the pressure to upend Sweden’s Annette Norberg. Well, that pressure, sided with Norberg’s Olympic experience lead to the Swedish comeback. Canada had a chance to win, but, a mistake cost them the Gold. In the end, Bernard and her rink will be proud of their accomplishment, but, a tough pill to swallow in such a close game.

CHARLES HAMELIN

– It has been a tough Games for Hamelin, and the Canadian short track team, but, redemption on Hamelin’s best distance. He won the 500m Gold in a tight race where a wipeout in the last turn cost the Koreans a chance for yet another Gold medal. The crash was the fault of Apolo Ohno, who was disqualified, which meant the 4th place finisher would pick up a Bronze. That finisher…a Canadian short track veteran in Francois-Louis Tremblay!

SHORT TRACK RELAY

– A disappointing Games for the short track team turned to jubilation in a few short hours after the 4 x 5,000 relay warranted Canada another Gold! A dream for the Hamelin brothers came true as both Charles and Francois will stand on the same podium, along with Francois-Louis Tremblay (his 2nd medal in that short span) and Louis Jean. It was even more fitting for the Canadian foursome to win, as they knocked off the powerful Korean team to win Gold!

MEN’S HOCKEY

– The semi-finals line up the Canada / U.S. re-match.

GAME ONE – UNITED STATES 6, FINLAND 1.

– A shocking result as the Yanks had a 6-0 first period lead with 7 minutes to go. The Finns had absolutely nothing, and didn’t change Kiprusoff in goal until it was 4-0, and 4 goals to late. The rest of the game the U.S. put it on cruise and rolled to the Gold Medal spot.

STARS 1. Patrick Kane, U.S. (2 goals)

2. Ryan Malone, U.S. (goal and assist)

3. Zach Parise, U.S. (goal and assist)

GAME TWO – CANADA 3, SLOVAKIA 2.

– The Canadians started strong, but, began to fade as the game carried on. The Slovaks kept battling, and battling, and almost tied the game when Pavol Demitra was robbed with seconds to go by his Canucks team-mate Roberto Luongo!

STARS 1. Ryan Getzlaf, CAN. (goal and assist)

2. Jaroslav Halak, SLO. (25 saves)

3. Chris Pronger, CAN. (2 assists)

FRONTRUNNERS

– The U.S. continues to dominate the medal standings, rolling up to 32 now, compared to the 26 for Germany.

THE CANADA METER

Medal expectations so far: 25

Medals: 21

– All in all, expected medals for Canada in curling and short-track, but, Tremblay’s Bronze in the 500m short-track was the suprise.

…The weekend here…and 2 days to go. More from Geespotting at the Games!

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At The Games – Fri. Feb.26th

In At the Games Baby on March 1, 2010 by geespotting

Closing in on the final few days of the Games. Here is the Thursday wrap:

CURLING

– As expected, both the men & women have secured spots in the finals with victories on Thursday. On the ladies side, it’s Sweden and Canada in the final, and the same Swedish team that won Gold 4 years ago. Many thought that the Chinese may get that shot against Canada, but, the Swedes trounced that possibility with a 9-4 semis win. On the men’s side, Kevin Martin’s much aniticipated show-down with Great Britian will not happen after the Brits failed to make the semi’s. Canada will now battle Norway, and their colourful pants.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY

– Canada is once again atop the hockey world…on the ladies side after blanking the Americans 2-0. In an odd Canadian tradition, it was a rookie goalie who led the way, and got the goose-egg too.

JOANNIE ROCHETTE

– She is Canada’s Golden Girl…and not because of a certain coloured medal. Joannie received the bronze, like she was predicted to do, but, it was her courage that makes her Golden. Her free skate wasn’t as perfect as her short program, but, only a couple of mistakes were not enough to keep her off the podium. It was pretty much a given that Kim Yu-Na would win Gold, and Mao Asada would be Silver, but, for the week that Joannie had, and to be able to conquer a medal…remarkable! A proud Olympic moment for the history books.

FRONTRUNNERS

– Not sure of their count at this point…but, still top spot for Yankee Doodle Dandy.

THE CANADA METER

Medal expectations so far: 22

Medals: 17

– 2 for 2 for Canada with the women’s hockey team and Joannie Rochette picking up medals.

…Go to go…semi final hockey showdowns to come…that’s Geespotting at the Games…!!!!

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At The Games – Thu. Feb.25th

In At the Games Baby on February 28, 2010 by geespotting

Thirteen games now through the chute…and the final few days upon us. Here is a run-down of the Wednesday:

CLARA HUGHES

– Like Cindy Klassen before her, Hughes was supposed to be at these Games to provide some experience and support for our other long-track skaters. Despite the fact that she is a former medallist, many were predicting some of the younger guard to pick up some of the hardware, but, in the ladies 5,000, it was Hughes who surprised all, and was able to snag a bronze. Her accomplishments leave her as the only Olympian to ever medal TWICE in both the Summer and Winter Games. One of the great Canadians of all time? Scratch that. One of the great Olympians of all time!

BOBSLED DOUBLE

– It was the two woman event, and it was the 2 medal event for Canadians. What a performance as Kallie Humphries & Heather Moyse were the quickest through 4 heats and delivered a Golden finish for Canada. Many thought that the threat for Canada would be from German and American sleds…but, it was another Canadian tandem that had that shot. For Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown, an expected podium finish in the form of Silver!

THE SHORT-TRACK GALS

– For Canada’s short-track relay team, a Silver lining to up and down week or so. For the most part, these Games were disappointing for Kalyna Roberge, who was supposed to snag a medal at some point individually, but, that did not happen. On the flip side, a surprise medal for Marianne St. Gelais, a member of the team who many figured wouldn’t be a factor for another 4 years and the Russian Games. To place second, and pick up Silver, was a nice end for these ladies, especially considering that it would take a miracle to knock off the South Koreans. The miracle here was that the Chinese were disqualified for an early bump, and that bumped up Canada from Bronze to Silver!

MEN’S HOCKEY

– The quarter final round, like qualifying the day before, provided a couple of surprises. Let’s review:

GAME ONE – UNITED STATES 2, SWITZERLAND 0.

– This game was an odd one for sure. Jonas Hiller once again stood on his head, and a mistake of his nearly cost the Swiss a 1-0 deficit in the last second of the second period. The goal didn’t count, but, then a puck had a mind of it’s own, and turned 90 degrees to give the Yanks a third period lead…and the win.

STARS 1. Zach Parise, U.S. (2 goals)

2. Brian Rafalski, U.S. (1 assist)

3. Jonas Hiller, SWI. (42 saves)

GAME TWO – CANADA 7, RUSSIA 3.

– This was the game everyone was talking about, and afterwards, they were still talking about it. Canada’s pressure on the Russians was relentless from the get-go, and proved to be a lopsided win, and provided a momentary sense of calm and relief across the Nation! As for the Sid the Kid – Alex the Great 8 showdown…it was a non factor as both players were almost invisible.

STARS 1. Dan Boyle, CAN. (goal and 2 assists)

2. Ryan Getzlaf, CAN. (1 goal and 2 assists)

3. Corey Perry, CAN. (2 goals)

GAME THREE – FINLAND 2, CZECHS O.

– Like the U.S./Swiss game, this was one was scoreless and tight, but, obviously a little more evenly played. In the end, the Finns struck with under 10 minutes to go, and bounced the Czechs.

STARS 1. Miikka Kiprusoff, FIN. (31 saves, shutout)

2. Niklas Hagman, FIN. (game winning goal, 7 shots)

3. Tomas Vokoun, CZE. (29 saves)

GAME FOUR – SLOVAKIA 4, SWEDEN 3.

– The stunner of the quarters as the Slovaks discarded the defending Gold medal champions. The shocking part was that Slovakia connected for 4 goals on just 14 shots! Jaroslav Halak proving to be on the stories of the tourny so far in leading Slovakia to their first ever medal chance, and top 4 finish.

STARS 1. Pavol Demitra, SLO. (goal and 2 assists)

2. Henrik Zetterberg, SWE. (1 goal)

3. Jaroslav Halak, SLO. (26 saves)

The semi-final showdowns:

1. United States vs. 4. Finland

6. Canada vs. 7. Slovakia

– Could another Canada / U.S. showdown be on it’s way?

FRONTRUNNERS

– Still a two horse race, as the U.S. is ahead of Germany in the total medal count 28-24.

THE CANADA METER

Medal expectations so far: 20

Medals: 15

– A great day for our athletes, as we picked up bonus, and suprise medals in the ladies 2 woman bobsled, and the Clara Hughes bronze in long track!

…Today, another U.S. Canada battle in ladies hockey, and a Canadian medal guaranteed! That’s Geespotting at the Games!

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At The Games – Wed. Feb.24th

In At the Games Baby on February 24, 2010 by geespotting

A dozen days now in the past, the Winter Games move into the home stretch. Just as you think you have heard Nikki Yanofsky’s “I Believe” a thousand too many times…you yearn to hear it again with the slow motion depictions of a Canadian celebrating a medal win. Here is how we saw things:

THE CURLING

– The playoff round is next, and between our 2 Canadian rinks, just one loss. Is it possible to win Gold on both counts? Based on how many close games there were, it won’t be easy, but, it is near! Hurry hard!

ASHLEY McIVOR

– First of all…when it comes to the darlings, the sweethearts, the hotties of the games…shut it down! For Lindsey Vonn lovers, please give me Ashley! She is a cross between Rebecca De Mornay, Jewel and a 21 year old Janet Jones. Oh yeah…she can ski cross too! She dominated from qualifying and through all her races, finishing with the Gold Medal. Number 6 too!

KELSEY SERWA

– With Summerland having Kristi Richards and Justin Kripps, and Penticton laying claim to Duncan Keith, Kelsey is from down the road in Kelowna. She performed admirably in ski-cross, and should have been in the final, and standing along Ashley McIvor for a medal. It was just another, in a long line of too close for comfort for finishes…meaning utter discomfort for Canadians everywhere.

JOANNIE ROCHETTE

– After the short program, this is the one time where Canadians won’t care so much about a medal contender winning. In an already emotionally packed coliseum, and in a sport that demands so much of it’s competitors, the tears that followed Joannie’s skate were tears of joy, tears of relief, tears of grief, tears that every Canadian felt. For this young lady to keep it together almost the entire time, and to skate with such grace and maturity, it was a moment for the Games, and not just Canada.

KIM YU-NA

– She is young, and early in what will be a great figure skating career, but, it may be safe to say that she could go on to be the best ever? This girl doesn’t make mistakes, and isn’t fazed by anything. Who is Brian Boitano coaching these days? No Brian Battle this time.

MEN’S HOCKEY

– 4 qualifying games and surprises every game but one. For Canadians, hope that the one game is the start of no more suprises!

GAME ONE – SWITZERLAND 3, BELARUS 2 (SHOOTOUT)

– Actually, despite Belarus losing in a shootout to the favored Swiss, this one played out close, and close to what a lot of people had predicted. Instead of Jonas Hiller stealing the show, it was Andrei Mezin for Belarus.

STARS 1. Andrei Mezin, BEL. (40 saves)

2. Romano Lemm, SWI. (Shootout winner)

3. Jonas Hiller, SWI. (2o saves)

GAME TWO – CANADA 8, GERMANY 2.

– For Canada, a big win, and big because they were able to take hold of the game early, and then focus on gel-ling, coming together, and putting forward some much needed momentum for the Russians, and hopefully, the rest of the tourny!

STARS 1. Eric Staal, CAN. (3 assists)

2. Jarome Iginla, CAN. (2 goals)

3. Mike Richards, CAN. (goal and assist)

GAME THREE – CZECHS 3, LATVIA 2 (OVERTIME)

– The Czechs had the early lead, then lost Jaromir Jagr, and their good buddy ‘mo’. The Latvians hung around and hung around, and scored, and scored again, and almost pulled off another Olympic miracle before David Krejci ended it in OT.

STARS 1. Edgars Masalskis, LAT. (47 saves)

2. David Krejci, CZE. (goal, assist, ot winner, 7 shots)

3. Thomas Fleischman, CZE. (goal and assist)

GAME FOUR – SLOVAKIA 4, NORWAY 3.

– This game started on an ugly note as Slovak Lubo Bartecko was nailed by Norway’s Ole Kristian Tollefson with a vicious elbow. Bartecko fell to the ice, and with his helmet already knocked off, he hit his head on the ice, and was lying in his own pool of blood. It was a game misconduct for Tollefson, and for Bartecko, a probable end to this tourny. On the ensuing 5 minute PP, the Slovaks scored twice, and looked to be on their way to a whitewash. Not the case, as another unheard of goalie almost stole another game. Not to be.

STARS 1. Marian Gaborik, SLO. (goal, assist, 9 shots)

2. Pal Grotnes, NOR. (36 saves)

3. Richard Zednik, SLO. (goal, assist)

– Up next the quarters, and these matchups:

1. U.S. vs. 8. Switzerland

2. Sweden vs. 7. Slovakia

3. Russian vs. 6. Canada

4. Finland vs. 5. Czechs.

…there may be a few folks watching, talking, breathing, and living that Canada game. It’s at 4:30 for those just awakening from comas.

FRONTRUNNERS

– Yankee Doodle Dandy still leading the hit parade at 26-23 over the Germans. Another field goal, and we got a horse race!

THE CANADA METER

Medal expectations so far: 18

Medals: 11

– 1 for 2 this day as Canada was expected to nab a pair in ladies ski-cross.

…Time for the Tim Horton’s trip, and then watch a hockey game. Hope my blood pressure can stand it. That’s Geespotting at the Games…c’mon back now!

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At The Games – Tue. Feb.23rd

In At the Games Baby on February 23, 2010 by geespotting

11 down, and here is the latest from the Games, that are on in Vancouver. There is snow in them there hills today too. Here is the rundown:

VIRTUE & MOIR

– Ahh, yes, a sight to see as a pair of young Canadians make Olympic history, and do so at the expense of the U.S. For the first time ever, a North American pair have won Gold at ice dancing. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were virtually flawless as they skated past their buddies from the U.S. to achieve the feat last night. In addition to that little piece of history, they are also the youngest couple to ever win this event. So, without looking too far ahead, it is possible that this team is around to win in 4 years in Russia, and then 4 years after that too!

CANADA VS. U.S.

– No upsets this Olympics in women’s hockey as the showdown for Gold features the 2 bitter rivals. The U.S. were bounced 4 years ago in the semis by the Swedes, but, not this time as they rolled to a 9-1 win. For Canada, the Finns were a stronger opponent, thanks in part to their goaltender, but a 5-0 win vaults them into the Gold medal game Thursday afternoon.

MEGHAN AGOSTA

– In the short history of the women’s hockey event, no other player has scored more often than Canada’s Agosta. That may be a suprise based on some of the lopsided scores from previous games, and some of the stars that have graced the ice from the U.S. and Canada. Agosta has scored an incredible 9 times so far, and I guessing she will be the first to hit double digits when she will score on Thursday, and will score a goal that will be key to a Canadian victory. That’s what I am guessing anyway.

MEN’S HOCKEY

– I don’t expect any suprises in the qualifying games today as the Swiss, Czechs, Slovaks, and Canadians should all advance to the quarters. I don’t expect a close one between Canada and the Germans, but, then these Games haven’t been what we have expected…at least here in Canada. That being said…a Canada-Russia quarter will once again put hockey at the top of the Olympic headlines. The limb I am going out on is rather big…stunning, isn’t it?

FRONTRUNNERS

– For all but one of the days of these Games, the U.S. has led the charge. That hasn’t changed, but, the Germans are marching back. The Yanks now have 25 medals, while Germany sits 4 back.

THE CANADA METER

Medal expectations so far: 16

Medals: 10

– As expected Virtue and Moir medalled for Canada, although, many thought maybe a Silver was coming their way. Ski cross for the ladies should garner another one, and possibly two today!

…Off to watch the hockey…and back tomorrow for geespotting! Oye til then.

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At The Games – Mon. Feb.22nd

In At the Games Baby on February 22, 2010 by geespotting

A full 10 days in the book…here’s the loop da scoop from the Games. I thought I saw Boner at the Cecil…but, then I thought…’why would a washed up former child star be at a strip club?’ It just doesn’t happen anymore…

CHRIS DEL BOSCO

– His story is an odd one indeed. From Vail, Colorado, Del Bosco was a part of the U.S. ski team until he was given the boot off of the team. He loved to party and was found passed out in a ditch with a broken neck after a bender. He tested positive for pot, and that ultimately led to his demise with the Yanks. Marijuana use? Hey…no problem…we will pick him up here in Canada. It didn’t go exactly like that, but, Del Bosco (at the urging of his Sister) hit rehab, and hit the slopes again for Canada. His comeback story is one of the big ones of the Games, and he had a chance for Gold in ski-cross. He started off slowly in the Final, and was sitting in 3rd spot before the 2nd to last jump…but, took a spill, finished 4th, and lost out on a much anticipated medal. That just sounds too familiar these Games for Canada.

KRISTINA GROVES

– Another medal for Groves, a Silver in the ladies 1,500 long track. She has been easily the most consistent of our skaters in any discipline. Here is hoping that she can help our ladies in the team pursuit garner another medal. As for Christine Nesbitt, she started out very well, but, couldn’t hold it for the last lap, and placed 6th.

VIRTUE/MOIR

– The best Canadian story of day ten was the original dance of figure skating. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were in second spot, but, their dance was spot on, and vaulted them into the top position, and a chance for a Gold medal later today! Considering that 2 American pairs are also in the running, it would be a nice change to beat the Yanks!

JOANNIE ROCHETTE

– I had mentioned previously the best Canadian story of the day. This one is easily the worst of the Games for Canada, as Joannie’s Mom passed away upon arriving in Vancouver to watch her daughter compete. Within hours of being in Vancouver, Therese had a massive heart attack that would claim her life. Within hours of that tragedy, Joannie announced that she will compete in ladies figure skating. Just to see Joannie on ice, at the Games, could be the moment for Canada, regardless of how many medals we acquire the rest of the way.

MEN’S HOCKEY

GAME SIXTEEN – RUSSIA 4, CZECHS 2.

– The first of 3 games on a day described as Super Sunday. Each of the matchups would determine top spot in each group, and determine who would get a bye into the quarter-finals. Also interesting that each game represented a re-match of the last 3 Gold Medal Games. In this one, the Russians avenged their 98 loss to the Czechs with the win, and top spot in the group.

STARS 1. Evgeni Malkin, RUS. (2 goals, 1 assist)

2. Pavel Datsyuk, RUS. (1 goal, 1 assist)

3. Tomas Vokoun, CZE. (28 saves)

GAME SEVENTEEN – UNITED STATES 5, CANADA 3.

– The aftermath of this game has been the fact that the Canadians lost at home to the U.S. It was the most watched event ever on Canadian TV, and everyone is in a state of shock after this one. Not so fast folks. We had 45 shots on goal, and still had plenty of room to improve on. Their goalie won them the game, and our goalie made a couple of costly mistakes. It doesn’t matter that Canada will play an extra game, and it doesn’t matter that we may play the Russians in the quarters. At this point of the tourny, any of the teams in the quarters are worthy opponents. That was Canada’s mulligan. If we lose again, then we can start the finger pointing, and the ‘what’s wrong with our game?’ statements. For now…I still like our chances!

STARS 1. Ryan Miller, U.S. (42 saves)

2. Brian Rafalski, U.S. (2 goals, 1 assist)

3. Jonathon Toews, CAN. (2 assists)

GAME EIGHTEEN – SWEDEN 3, FINLAND O.

– This battle for top spot wasn’t really much of a battle. Unlike the first 2 games of the day, this score was flattering for the Fins, who had a great performance from Miikka Kiprusoff to keep them in the game. Despite the loss, the Finns nail down a bye into the quarters by finising 4th. The U.S. gets the number one seed, followed by Sweden, and then the Russians. Canada gets the 6th spot, and a game tomorrow against Germany.

STARS 1. Nicklas Backstrom, SWE. (1 goal, 2 assists)

2. Loui Eriksson, SWE. (2 goals)

3. Henrik Lundqvist, SWE. (20 saves, shutout)

FRONTRUNNERS

– The U.S. continues to lead the way with 24 medals, but, a good day for the Germans have moved them up to 18, and just 6 back.

THE CANADA METER

Medal expectations so far: 15

Medals: 9

– We went 1 for 3 with the Groves Silver yesterday…but, also expected medals from Chris Del Bosco & Christine Nesbitt. A win by Canada’s womens team today will guarantee as a medal for the final, and a medal (hopefully Gold) on track for the figure skating team of Virtue & Moir.

…At the Games in Vancouver, that’s Geespotting. Rick Rock, sheet shot, Faux Rox.