Hockey night in Olympic Canada
By Rick Madonik, Staff Photographer
As the Vancouver Winter Olympics wind down, the focus is squarely on hockey. Lets face it, if Canada doesn't win Gold in hockey, the Games are a failure in the eyes of many.
Own The Podium (or OTP as the athletes refer to it) is the politically driven angle of the Games. Being a host nation who had never garnered Gold, was a problem of optics - and some might say national pride. Therefore, it was mandatory the medal haul was more significant then ever before, and Gold had to be won. Although Canada won't end up winning the most medals, it certaintly has harvested a solid number - with a fistful of Gold. Today alone, FOUR medals were won. Clara Hughes ended her amazing career (beginning back in 1996 in Atlanta) with a Bronze on the Long Trace in Richmond, and stands as one of the finest athletes this country has ever produced.
But hockey remains the ever present thorn-in-the-side. Gold IS the only option. Coming 2nd just doesn't cut it. Bronze would be embarrassing. Out of the medals would have been cataclysmic.
Tonight I shot the USA v Switzerland and Canada v Russia games. Team Canada, to me, finally looked solid. Being ice level (I had shot previous games from above where I could follow the action at both ends of the ice) I had a rather restricted view. But what developed in front of me turned out to be enjoyable. The mood inside the building, the intensity of the play was only baffled by the need to file pictures as quickly as possible between periods.
Here's a look at what I saw through my lens - and some really bad plexiglass.
Canada's Eric Staal gets smashed up by Russia's Ilya Nikulin
A glove save by Canada's Roberto Luongo