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02/25/2010

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.

Rm_OLY_CanVRussia0224_06 Crowd gets stoked after 1st goal during Hockey matchup at Canada Hockey Place between Canada and Russia.

Rm_OLY_CanVRussia0224_14 Canada's Sidney Crosby works the corner 

Rm_OLY_CanVRussia0224_11

 Canada's Eric Staal gets smashed up by Russia's Ilya Nikulin 

Rm_OLY_CanVRussia0224_16
Canada's Corey Perry celebrates his goal 

Rm_OLY_CanVRussia0224_21 Canada's Dan Boyle retaliates on Alexander Semin

Rm_OLY_CanVRussia0224_24

A glove save by Canada's Roberto Luongo

Rm_OLY_CanVRussia0224_28 Russia's Sergey Zinovyev, Alexey Morozov and Victor Kozlov hang their heads as they leave the ice

Rm_OLY_USA v Suisse0224_09
 A fan has some thoughts for US goalie Ryan Miller

Rm_OLY_USA v Suisse0224_10
Switzerland's Jonas Hiller can't stop the puckas USA's Zach Parise works in front of the net

Rm_OLY_USA v Suisse0224_04
A man holds up an infant with a flag the half the size of the baby
Rm_OLY_USA v Suisse0224_12
Switzerland's Mathias Seger loses his led courtesy of USA's Ryan Kesler

Rm_OLY_USA v Suisse0224_15
USA's Jamie Langenbrunner and USA's Zach Parise celebrate the 2nd goal to solidify the win over Suisse

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Awesome game for a period and a half, by then it was pretty much over. The only thing that bothered me was the ugly Dan Boyle retaliation on Semin. Semin looked pretty freaked out and really scared. I am not a politically correct hockey pacifist believe me. Just goes to show you how emotions can turn vicious in a hurry, especially when you retaliate with your stick. You could actually see Neidermayer looked a little embarrassed by the situation as he spoke to Semin. I have been able to watch every game and it has been the best Olympic hockey I have ever seen. Now we just need the pesky Finns to knock off the US. Speaking for myself and maybe a few others, it doesn't bother me if we (CANADA) loses to any other team, just don't let it be the USA they are notorious bad losers, Eg. The 98 Nagano incident where the US hockey players heavily damaged the athletic village after losing to Canada. As well as the Jack Johnson blindside to a Canadian player after Canada whipped them at the 2005 Juniors. Even the guy who wrote an article in todays LA times is classless. GO CANADA

Oh, I just love that photo with the baby. So cute! It seems like you are an Olympic fanatic just like me, as I see so many photos on your blog. I love the photos, I think that is the best part of the Olympics. My friend sent me this awesome card, that I was sending all around. It is just great for the Olympics season, you can upload 5 pics and send it to your friends. Here is the link http://spiritclips.com/filmcards/view?aid=3f6a3988ae. Something tells me that you will love it ;-).

cool pics, Canada is gona win today and everyone will see our mighty power. go crosby.

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