At 2 p.m. Eastern today, we'll be doing another one of those live hockey flagellations chat sessions here at the blog, Damien Cox and Paul Hunter joining me, at least in the digital sense. Do drop in, and bring your best. On to the links:
Still on the hockey for a bit, and with that chat in mind, the U.S. men are now 3-0. Repeat: 3-0. Best record in this Olympic men's hockey tournament (not good enough for NBC's main network, mind you). And - they're coached by Ron Wilson (that sound you hear is Leafs Nation doing a Danny Thomas with their morning coffee). More to the point, they're backstopped - and carried - by Ryan Miller. Now what to do with the Canadian goaltending? Roberto Luongo will surely get the assignment Tuesday against Germany (in a qualification game). Beyond that, Michael Farber at SI.com says that's the last we'll see here of Martin Brodeur, with yesterday's 5-3 U.S. win meaning Canada suddenly has a long road ahead - or perhaps it's not going to be long at all:
When -- if? -- Canada plays Russia, Brodeur likely will be the best goalie ever to open and close a bench gate. Coach Mike Babcock was circumspect about the identity of his goalie against Germany. Dipping into football-coach mode, Babcock, the straightest of straight shooters, said he would have to look at the videotape on Sunday night. This probably won't flatter Brodeur, who couldn't look worse in slo-mo than he did in real time against the swift and feral Americans, who beat Canada in the Olympics for the first time since 1960.
And I loved this Reuters report of the game, obviously pitched at readers for whom hockey is a foreign country:
To the uninitiated, ice hockey looks more like ultimate fighting with skates and sticks than a healthy pastime to trim the tummy in winter.
The competitors may have the ability to glide across the frozen surface as gracefully as the cast members from Disney on Ice but they prefer to use their blades for less aesthetic purposes.
They zigzag across the ice sheet from one collision to another, crashing into each other with all the sinister intentions of a wild rhino.
Wild rhinos and ice sheets? That's our game!
If you didn't manage to stay up for it, Cheryl Bernard's Canada rink finally was taken down last night, by the reigning world champion China in the most anticipated meeting of the first round - Bingo for Bingyu, as the China Daily headline reads.
Still on curling, Kevin Martin's unbeaten men's team is into Thursday's semifinals. Martin's team faces the U.S. (noon Eastern) and the Americans have looked to an unlikely curling fan and motivator: Carl Lewis.
After an overnight, speed-skater Denny Morrison took the blame for his post-race comments on Saturday:
There should be no mistake: I put all the blame on my shoulders. What I was doing was looking for answers. The answer was I wasn’t skating well technically. I didn’t skate the race I should have at the end. I just finished my race. I was emotional. ... I guess it came across like I was pointing fingers. But the fact is I didn’t get it done.”
And finally, on a day billed (incessantly) as super Sunday there was genuine tragedy as Joannie Rochette's mother Therese died of a heart attack after arriving here on Saturday. In all this competition in the arena and the bonhommie on the streets, here was a reminder how precious and fleeting these moments are. Rochette will compete in the women's skating starting tomorrow. The Canadian figure skating team, a tight bunch, have rallied around her, starting with the Ice Dance pair of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Virtue-Moir nailed their flamenco routine last night, and go into tonight's free dance final with a commanding lead. Beyond winning and losing, though, and however it works out on the ice, the whole country sends along its sympathy to Ms Rochette.