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Canada enjoys a good night at the hockey

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Matthew Pinsent | 05:01 UK time, Thursday, 25 February 2010

The organisers here in Vancouver have seemingly adopted a song to pump up the local fans in all the venues.

So when we set up our tripod in Canada Hockey Place to start gathering material for the quarter-final against Russia, the Black Eyed Peas' "I got a feeling" was pumping out of the speakers.

The fans flooding into the arena are in so many ways very different to a sports crowd in the UK.

Firstly, they come as couples and families; some even bring babes in arms complete with ear defenders and Canada body suits.

And there are more than a smattering of ironic dress codes - the superheroes, the body paint, the ridiculous hockey helmets and the huge horns.

They were praying for their beloved Team Canada to turn up the volume and play something like the sum total of their constituent parts. They had been shocked by the state of their team against the USA in the group stages and thrashing Germany in the first knockout game last night was scant consolation - everyone knew the Russians were coming.

Team Canada celebrate victory over Russia
Team Canada celebrate a stunning victory over Russia. Photo: Getty

But believe they did - "Tonight's going to be a good night."

I've had the privilege of being inside Hockey Place for three games so far but the atmosphere for the Russian game bore no comparison to anything that I had witnessed before. And nor did the Canadian team on the ice.

They demolished the Russians with quick, powerful attacks, putting the Red Machine on the back foot within three minutes with a Ryan Getzlaf goal. But in the opening stages the fans, while celebrating, were still worried that the Russians would bite back and it was only after goals five and six in the second period that the party could begin.

The Russian superstars became invisible and when they did start throwing men forward, the Canadians were able to answer.

With 25 minutes gone the Russians pulled their starting keeper Evgeni Nabakov after he conceded six goals from 23 shots. Meanwhile, at the other end there was a keeping masterclass going on.

When we first arrived in Vancouver all the hockey discussion was over the Canadian goalkeeper position. Martin Brodeur and Marc-Andre Fleury were then considered options, but Roberto Luongo made the position his own tonight.

He was always going to be a local favourite given his club is the Vancouver Canucks but every shot he saved (all 25 of them) was greeted with loud rounds of "Loooooooooo!" from the thousands in the stands.

It didn't matter that the third period provided little in the way of goal entertainment - the crowd could voice their relief that their team has at last displayed the form necessary to win gold.

They've got every right to have that feeling now - they need just two more good nights.

Comments

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  • 1. At 06:39am on 25 Feb 2010, matt302 wrote:

    as a brit in vancouver for almost 2 years i have been unable to not be swept up in Canadas love for the game of hockey, fast paced excitement, stunning skill and massive hits all contribute to what now is my 2nd favorite sport.
    however given the overwhelming support for the home nation tonight i couldnt help but be draw to support the underdog in the russians, and (IMO the greatest current player in the world) Alex Ovechkin. the game sadly ended up reflecting the huge chasm that exists between Canada and the rest of the world in hockey terms.
    Despite Russia being vaunted as the big threat to canada they realistically exsist of 2 NHL level forward lines and 2 Khl lines not to mention their d which is drawing up short after no3. such that it would have taken a huge effort by the goalie to even bring the game close. As witnessed by the 'stand on their head' performances by hiller and miller in the swiss and US games.
    This is not to detract from the canadian game tonight wich finally showed why they were the favorites for gold all along (although have shown they are capable of slipping up (luongo over Brodeur all day))i cannot look past them for gold. And am looking forward to the party when they do.
    hearty congratulations to the beeb for the online coverage of team GB which was almost impossible to see here on terrestrial channels unless playing the Canadians, and as has been said before, wake up funding bodies! the sports you put money into are gonna win (Gratz Amy) you cannot only support those that do well you have to look wider than that (i realise they only have finite funding and cant spread it everywhere but the current method is farcical)
    finally would like to say to anyone who is here enjoy the weather cos you can be sure it wont be lasting much longer!!!

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  • 2. At 06:50am on 25 Feb 2010, Jake wrote:

    Great post, Matthew! Watched the game live, but happy to see the BBC has such great coverage of Canada's sport. Great summary, colour, and context. I'm jealous you have a front row seat to the action! What do you think of our chances for gold? If we continue to play this way, we'll be hard to stop!

    BBC - thank you, and keep this up!

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  • 3. At 07:25am on 25 Feb 2010, TheTomTyke wrote:

    It truly was a spectacular advert for the game of hockey, from the opening face off it was simply a display of beautiful skill - from both sides. The style of play and the sheer class of both sides reminded me of the NHL's annual all-star game and the score reflected that. It's hard not to be impressed by the Canadians and particularly Drew Doherty who was the star of the night for me. Canada will have to be wary of Slovakia who have already upset Russia and reigning Olympic champions Sweden but it's hard to see them losing at all if they play like they did tonight. It was great to see all the games covered in such detail by the BBC, many thanks.

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  • 4. At 07:57am on 25 Feb 2010, G_K___ wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 5. At 08:08am on 25 Feb 2010, Museite wrote:

    With Sweden and the Czech Republic out now, it's Canada's Gold to lose. However, never write off the Slovaks and Americans! Dammit, even the Finns too!

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  • 6. At 09:36am on 25 Feb 2010, sb_21 wrote:

    G_K__:

    For a start have you ever watch a game of ice hockey? I think you've confused mass brawl with a fight, and I don't think you've grasped the concept of fighting in ice hockey. If there's a fight there's normally a reason; for example your star player has been hit badly and is injured, so his team mate goes out and fights the guy who did it. In effect the fear of injuring having to fight because you've injured a star player is there to discourage bad hits or other misdemeanors. Its policing the game so to speak and following the code; essentially what happens on the ice stays on the ice.

    Also I've got to question your understanding of genetics too. "Our present understanding of the genome." Can you expand on that? I'd love to see a scientific paper from a journal that links going to an ice hockey match with genetic defects. I think you're trying to be overtly offensive without using the words "mentally retarded" which you should, quite frankly, be ashamed of!

    Currently the entire human genome has been sequenced to a good level of coverage, however the annotation phase (working out what each gene does) is still very much in progress. Further to this there are a whole load of epigenetic interactions that we cannot begin to understand that must play a role in development and therefore disease.

    Individuals who hold the same view as yourself are stuck in the past and will forever cast aspersions on the reputation of this truly fantastic sport. The vast majority of fans will go because quite simply its the fastest, hardest and most skillful sport out there. If you want to watch a mass brawl I think you'd be better off at a football match.

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  • 7. At 09:49am on 25 Feb 2010, MarabouStork wrote:

    Good on you, matt302. Canada swept them away, I loved it. You`re lucky you don`t have to listen to the pair of commentators who embarrass themselves om BBC. I`m Slovakian and I wonder how my plasma TV is still at its place undamaged nor being hurled out of window. I played ice hockey for 22years and in juniors league my opponents were the likes of P Demitra and M Satan and I obviously know the game througout. Now, back to these two morons in commentary box. Last week when the tournament started they described a goalie`s `save` as `a catch`. Penalty killing team were `power-play killers` amongst loads of other tripe filled with useless rubbish in between which jast goes to show they havenot got a clue about the game whatsoever. After the CAN 7-3 RUS game the American one (I think he is) said: "It`s Sweden next for Canada", full three hours before Sweden and Slovakia faced off! And his words after we beat the Swedes? "Sweden showed they can do whatever they want, they just didnot try hard enough today". Because we`re a small country they refer to us as no-hopers so obviously they didn`t do a research before the tournament otherwise they`d know the Slovaks have had some of the best scorers in NHL for past 15odd years, Chara being the Bruins captain, Halak in form of his life, Hossa, Gaborik, Demitra, Visnovsky being stars in their NHL teams and M Satan lifting the Stanley Cup last season with the Penguins and they`d find out we won the world championship 2002 in Sweden disposing of the Swedes! in semis (CAN in QF)and seeing off Russia in the final.
    People should understand the players don`t really care about gold medals as such (there`s no trophy to lift) it`s about winning the international tournament where the best of best gather and this may be the case for the last time. Canada will win it in front of home fans.

    G_K___ , why don`t you try get a life or watch for yourself how players behave when they get penalized 2min for offence, something footballers could copy. My advice to you, just don`t critisize things you know nothing about, leave it alone and jog on.

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  • 8. At 10:20am on 25 Feb 2010, Erin wrote:

    That was hockey at its very best! Just a shame I had to watch it on the computer rather than on television. It is just not right that people with sky/cable/internet have access to the extreme streams than those with freeview (extreme streams have been cut off on freeview unlike the previous winter olympics) given that everyone pays the licence fee.

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  • 9. At 10:54am on 25 Feb 2010, xliam wrote:

    Great blog Matthew - sounds like an incredible atmosphere, and what a stunner for Canada. A rematch of the 2002 gold medal game between Canada and the U.S. indeed looks like a real possibility - though, as MarabouStork says, never underestimate the Slovaks!

    But I didn't get to watch the game (on iPlayer, upon which I rely) as mens curling went on till 1.00am and then there was no more live Olympic coverage. So, my poor tired eyes today, and I styaed up for nothing! Of course curling will take precedence in the UK given the medal hopes, but I was disappointed not to be able to watch the second or third periods of the hockey game.

    BBC will prioritise the semis, we hope?

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  • 10. At 11:07am on 25 Feb 2010, highthief wrote:

    I don't know how I'm going to go back to watching average NHL games after the pace, skill and fury of last nights affair!

    I was 12 or 13 in 1981 when I got tickets through my Dad to see Canada face off against the old USSR at the Montreal forum in the finals of the Canada Cup (the de facto World Championships back then). Despite the amazingly skilled players we had (like Lafleur, Gretzky, Dionne, etc.), the Soviets whipped us 8-1 and I might have even cried afterwards.

    Last night was sweet, sweet revenge for that and for all the critics who seemed to think Russia was going to be the better team coming into these games!

    I am wary of the Slovaks - I've been saying they are the dark horses all along in this tournament with a better goaltender and top defensive pairing than the Russians. However, if we put in another performance anywhere close to last night's, I'll feel pretty good about our chances!

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  • 11. At 12:19pm on 25 Feb 2010, Russell wrote:

    I'm from Vancouver and been in London for 10 years...

    Folks, if you're into hockey then you simply can't watch the BBC coverage as their commentators are embarassing! Unfortunately, Brent Cole is Canadian but has NO (or little) experience of commentating at this level. He wouldn't get to call a junior game in Canada!! He knows the game but isn't experienced enough at the skill of colour commentary to guide or steer the play-by-play commentator Bob Ballard. Ballard is simply a joke. Doesn't know the lingo or context to be able to call a game and 'inform' those who might not understand why certain things happen on the ice. I suppose that's because he doesn't himself! [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    And Matt (from the first post on this blog) - if you've been in your adopted country for 2 years and fallen in love wih the game because of Canadians, how could you possibly have supported Russia???? And now you want Canada to win Gold so that you can join the party?? Well, you're not invited!! You clearly couldn't have been that swept up in Canadian hockey or else you would have known how sacreligious your act was!!!

    What was witnessed last night was almost the perfect game of hockey. However, at this level - especially in a one game situation - all of the big nations can beat each other. Canada, on paper, is the best team (and last night laid down a marker for all countries to live up to) but I wouldn't underestimate anyone. The Slovaks are a proud hockey playing nation and won't lie down for Canada or anyone else. They have a couple of fabulous players. If we get past them then either the US of the Finns will present an equally challenging opponent. These teams all have the chance of winning it will just come down to who shows up on the day and gels like a team. If we play like we did last night, though, I don't see anybody touching us...

    Go Canada Go!!

    Btw - Matthew, enjoyed your blogs from Van!!

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  • 12. At 12:21pm on 25 Feb 2010, Estesark wrote:

    Canada, the USA and Finland have all seen their ice hockey teams reach the semifinals in both the men's and women's events. As a foreigner living in Finland, I thought that such a small nation would be proud of such a feat, but that is not the case at all. Only the men's gold medal will do. If they can beat the USA tomorrow then I fancy them to win it.

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  • 13. At 2:18pm on 25 Feb 2010, Pasinho wrote:

    Go FINLAND! MarabouStork, I'm watching the games in Brazil and can tell you for sure that the commentators here know even less than the ones on BBC (I've also watched hockey on TV in the UK, Canada, USA and Finland). However, it has not spoiled my appreciation of the games at all. One of them, Geraldo Cardoso, is actually Brazil's first professional hockey player so he does know the game pretty well. The other doesn't even know most of the rules, but it's amazing how well he can still commentate on the action (I could never commentate on Rugby or some other sport that I know next to nothing about). The Brazilian commentators are so enthusiastic that it's actually kind of entertaining to listen to them. Gooooooooool! Espectacular!! Finlandia!!! Sensacional!! Goooooooool!

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  • 14. At 2:21pm on 25 Feb 2010, Mutley lacks Gravitas wrote:

    Support the russians so was gutted with the result but the canadians thoroughly deserved the win. As usual when it comes to the crunch they seem to come up big.
    Not really sure what you're talking about matt302 - there is no great chasm between mens canadian hockey and everyone else. Canada just played well and the russians poorly. Canada and Russia probably have the deepest pools of talent but any big 7 team can beat any other on a given day (as the US showed Canada and Slovakia showed Russia). Also regarding the KHL your comment doesnt really stand up on the back of russia knocking off canada in 06 and beating them in the world final in 08 and 09 - all times when canadas roster was NHL talent laden.

    Good luck to to all the teams still in though - Hockey is by far the best sport in the winter olympics and being in Canada has made it fabulous to watch (albeit in the middle of the night!) - hopefully the NHLers can make it to Sochi!

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  • 15. At 2:38pm on 25 Feb 2010, Sim Brow wrote:

    Hey Matt302,

    Let me rephrase the first part of your otherwise excellent comments to help you understand why a Canadian would find them slightly odd :)

    "As a Canadian in England for almost 2 years I have been unable to not be swept up the British love for the game of football, fast paced excitement, stunning skill and dramatic twists and turns all contribute to what is now my second favorite sport. However, given the overwhelming support for the home nation tonight in the quarter finals of the Euro's, I couldn't help but be drawn to support the underdog Germans."







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  • 16. At 2:44pm on 25 Feb 2010, Keith wrote:

    I’m amazed that Slovakia got by Russia and Sweden. Way to go Slovakia. However, I’m quite confident that your Cinderella run will come to end on Friday against Canada.

    Prior to the opening ceremony of these games, the highest rated TV show in Canadian history was the men’s hockey gold medal game at the 2002 Salt Lake City, Utah Winter Olympics. If there is a rematch of this game on Sunday, it will surely break the record again for the most watched show in Canadian TV history. It will be an insane way to end the Olympics.

    Canada is easily the best team on paper and if they play the way they did against the Russians, not even miraculous gold tending will save the Americans this time. Though Finland more than Slovakia may have something to say about that match-up.

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  • 17. At 2:56pm on 25 Feb 2010, Russell wrote:

    Hey Sim Brow - thanks for putting into words what I was trying to say!! While I'm sure there was no intent of malice on his part, you must question just 'how' much into the game he's become?? Wow, what a comment...Cheers

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  • 18. At 3:09pm on 25 Feb 2010, Domesticated Dad wrote:

    As a Canadian living in England, I can assure you of two things. The English will never understand our passion for hockey. It is more than the English obsession with football. For Canadians this is the one, and only sport we feel we own. The NHL is made up of 60% Canadian born players, and on an International Junior level we consistently excel. However, traditionally the Olympics have not been kind to us, so when the professionals entered the frame a decade ago, Canadian thought world domination would follow.

    Sadly this is not the case...

    The second thing I can assure you is that the loss to America though painful to watch, was never considered the death of hockey in Canada. Losing a group game is not the end of the world, nor is the goaltending display that Brodeur put on. In 2002, Canada had a very similar game against Sweden (I believe) and after a goaltending change (we brough in Brodeur then) we went on to win the gold.

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  • 19. At 3:31pm on 25 Feb 2010, good03 wrote:

    I really wish you hadn't removed G_K___'s post but understand why you did. It was non-sensical, sophomoric and just plain ignorant in all aspects.
    My rebuttal would have been simple. Tell all of the young men AND women college hockey players at McGill, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth, Smith, Amherst, Colgate and Notre Dame (there are more great educational institutions) that they lack brains and mental capabilities to their face. The amount of educated, well spoken and successful hockey players would clearly put English football players to shame.
    Would suggest G_K___ goes back to his real sports of snooker and darts. That's where the real cerebral athletes are. Or at least one's he can compete with in life.

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  • 20. At 3:33pm on 25 Feb 2010, good03 wrote:

    oh yeah, great game. canadians are clearly the favorite again after last night. no questions asked.
    How hot can Ryan Miller to prevent them from winning? Not hot enough as the Americans don't generate enough offense to support him against the juggernaut that just woke up.

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  • 21. At 3:48pm on 25 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Canada has been a frontliner from the start. Anything other than the final would be disappointing to the Canadians. That is a lot of pressure to put on a team. But it is the good kind of pressure- how often is the Olympics in your country?

    Many wrote off the USA from the start. They stated that we were great players, but that Canada and Russia were the two most likely for the final. Fast forward to today. USA beat Canada once. Canada took Russia out. Now it's Canada and Slovakia, USA and Finland.

    Anything can still happen amongst the top teams. So if both Canada and USA make it...well, it's gonna be quite a showdown!!! The kind of excitement in a game that money can't buy. A game that belongs to the fans of your country.

    The Canadians beat us in Salt Lake and the USA is looking to return the favor! Nothing would be sweeter revenge than beating the Canadians in their homeland. This will be a grudge match...at stake...the claims to call yourself the best hockey country in the world...

    Go USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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  • 22. At 4:29pm on 25 Feb 2010, Russell wrote:

    To good03:

    Great comment!! Very true. It's like comparing listening to the very well spoken rugby players as opposed to the gutter English spouting from the footballer's mouths. Even continental European footballer's are WAY more intelligent than the Brits and often have thought provoking comments regarding footballing issues. There is no way anybody over here could possible have any clue as to the number of fantastic athletes coming through the NCAA programs. My brother played hockey for Dartmouth back in the '80's when Kerry Wilson (former Calgary Flame) was there and you are spot on with your points. It is not even a contest. NA's vast depth of well educated athletic talent puts the British footballer's to shame...and these athletes aren't coming from a privileged upper middle class background that ends up being the only breeding ground for a sport like rugby (and I say this as someone who admires and loves the game and its brave athletes)...and the UK wonders why it can't develop multi sport talent?? There isn't enough access in this country to aggregated multi sport facilities, coupled with (outside of football) any kind of multi sport playing opportunities for youth for the UK to ever truly develop athletes as opposed to 'players'. English footballer's may be good (and in some cases great) players but they're not great athletes. And the UK wonders why the continent, with all of France and Spain and Italy and the Germans multi sport playing public caught up to the Brits footballer's and then overtook them in footballing ability. Why? Because they're better athletes and when it comes to the later rounds of big tournaments when games are on the line, the better athletes combined with a better handle of the intangibles are what makes winners...

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  • 23. At 5:05pm on 25 Feb 2010, Russell wrote:

    To LucyIllinois:

    Just wanted you to know that your comments are very sportsmanlike, gracious and well intentioned but I need to challenge your statement that what is at stake is the title of best hockey country in the world. This isn't a World Cup and there isn't anything (consistently, anyway) in hockey that could guage that kind of title. I am a huge supporter of the US and have zero beef with you but have to admit to not understanding why you need to put these kinds of monickers on championships?? The World Series?? Last I checked only US teams competed (outside of the Blue Jays) for the title. Super Bowl champs being crowned champs of the world?? Why?? Truly not trying to be antagonistic but it will be a long while before Canada gets knocked off the pedestal of best hockey playing country. We earned this reputation and not by winning Olympic gold's! The winner of this tournament will be the winner of a very short, competitive anything can happen one game knock out tourney. That's it. Lot's of bragging rights, etc, etc of course but best in the world?? Not really. Think of what it means to be best in the world. Most of the players in this tourney have never even played together before. Even if Canada do win (and we have a very tough game coming up) we will be nothing more than Olympic champs and will wake up the next day and support all of our men's and women's programs - from youth to college to major/junior to pro - with same avid and fanatical fervor that we always have. This is why we say the game is ours. The US is good; great even. And you will only get better as the growth of the game in your country accelerates coupled with your population and wonderfully positive and competitive attitude. It's a numbers game. But you need to do more before you will ever be considered the best hockey playing nation in the world. Remember that Canada's hockey rivals have always and will always be Russia. Our rivalry with you is different. Anyway, hopefully this can be received with the intention in which it was sent. Cheers and best of luck...

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  • 24. At 6:32pm on 25 Feb 2010, Matthew Pinsent wrote:



    I'm obviously coming back to the discussion a bit further down the line - on Vancouver time obviously.

    To add a little bit to the comparison between football (soccer) players in the UK - my own experience of the best players in hockey here has been they are thoughtful and usually generous in their time for the media, and whilst it's far from a totally accurate measure of their overall personality it's the only thing we all have to go on.

    The mixed zone here (the area where all the media gather to talk to the players post game) is as busy as any other but almost to a man the players will stop to give interviews. they don't say the same thing over and over either (I listened to about five of Scott Niedermeyer's interviews starting about 60 seconds after he stepped off the ice).

    Footballers in the UK seldom do media first (going to the dressing room) have to know the interviewer to stop for a camera (has Ryan Getzlaf ever met me before - no) and struggle to give incisive or original comments about the game in which they just played.

    doing the job I do - it's another pleasant contrast.

    and Jake in post 2 - in the interest of complete clarity the media seldom, if ever, get front row seats - for the Canadian games the access to the media is ticket only (- additional to the normal accreditation) and then the various filming positions within the arena - at corporate box height but amoungst the seats- are first come first served. The mixed zone is another pass and again sharp elbows required! Canadian television have a fully retractable platform for their own use - very james Bond!

    I'm pretty sure if Canada play at close to the level of the first period last night, no other team can live with them.

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  • 25. At 6:37pm on 25 Feb 2010, DisplacedCanuck wrote:

    While I commend the BBC for giving me all the games live, -- truly, I appreciate it; some of my friends in America are having to watch games on tape delay --I absolutely agree with Russell about the BBC's hockey commentators. They are AWFUL! I am honestly not convinced that they didn't read Hockey for Dummies a week before leaving for Vancouver.

    It was funny for about the first three games, because it was just so absurd, but a lot of times, they just talk for the sake of talking and that gets old quickly. The things that come out of their mouths at times are completely nonsensical. My favourite two have involved comparing Ryan Miller to a mother goose and calling a Russian goal Pavlovian. At one point, I got told that "good things happen when you put the puck in the net." They're not adding anything to my appreciation of the game -- which is partly because half the time they don't know what they're talking about. During yesterday's Switzerland/US game, one of the Swiss players executed a textbook hip check on Bobby Ryan. They replayed this at least six times and at no point did the words "check" or "hip" come into the discussion. (And then, inexplicably, they had the vocabulary for one of the more obscure rules in the book, slew-footing.) And the pair's inexplicable alternating verbal fellation and derision of certain players -- Canada's Jarome Iginla seems to be their favourite, but USA's Rafalski was getting the same treatment yesterday -- is infuriating. But for the fact that I like the noise of it...skates on the ice, puck on stick, crowd, the slamming into the boards, etc., I'd mute them completely.

    Last night's game between Finland and the Czech Republic had someone else doing the commentary (because it was at a different venue) and for the life of me, I can't figure out why he hasn't been in the chairs occupied by Ballard and Pope for the duration of the Games. I didn't catch the guy's name, but he was infinitely better. He gave stats that made sense and added to the game, he obviously knew his hockey and most importantly, he didn't fill me with the rage that builds in me every time I hear something utterly ridiculous from the Ballard/Pope combination.

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  • 26. At 7:07pm on 25 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    23. At 5:05pm on 25 Feb 2010, Russell wrote:

    "Remember that Canada's hockey rivals have always and will always be Russia. Our rivalry with you is different."
    __________

    How very true.

    Russia is a proud and great hockey nation. Their team did not play well last night. But then again, the Canadian team hit the ice in the first period so full of fire, you wonder if anything would have stopped them last night. The Russians must have wondered what hit them. It sure wasn't the same disjointed collection of players that lost to the US.

    As a Canadian, to see Russia's national team struggling through a bad patch, even with all that talent, well, you feel for them, for sure. We know what it feels like. You see Tretiak watching the game, and get a lump in your throat. We know him. We know him well, indeed.

    But have no fear, it's only temporary. There will be great Russian teams again in the future.

    It is a special rivalry that has nothing to do with the Olympics.

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  • 27. At 7:15pm on 25 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    11. At 12:19pm on 25 Feb 2010, Russell wrote:

    "Folks, if you're into hockey then you simply can't watch the BBC coverage as their commentators are embarassing!"
    __________

    So was CTV's coverage.

    We should never, ever, under any circumstances, allow CTV to carry any kind of important programming, and certainly nothing involving athletes representing Canada at the international level. How these clowns got the broadcast rights is beyond comprehension.

    It is particularly galling when Canada has, by far, the best hockey television production capability in the world sitting idle through the Olympics. Inexcusable.

    Get rid of these amateurs, and bring in the HNIC guys who know how to do the job properly.

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  • 28. At 7:36pm on 25 Feb 2010, NoGoodSportsInCanada wrote:

    18. At 3:09pm on 25 Feb 2010, Wesley Winegarden wrote:
    "As a Canadian living in England, I can assure you of two things. The English will never understand our passion for hockey. It is more than the English obsession with football."
    Well I come from a different perspective, I've been in Canada for the last 10 years and lived in Britain for before that for 20. There is a passion for hockey in Canada but it is certainly not more than the English obsession with football and I am Scottish not English. One thing that hockey has succeeded in is the more family atmosphere that it has over British football. As much as I would take my kids to see a football match in the u.k, I know that they will be experiencing a more hostile atmosphere with repeated swearing, aggression and occasionally some hooliganism. But there is an adrenaline rush that comes with that and your emotions go haywire depending on the situations. Hockey doesn't peak to the same levels.
    In Canada, hockey is so friendly that even the local Ottawa/Toronto rivalry is a teddy bears picnic compared to say, a Celtic/Rangers match. Hockey is something I could take my kids to if they want to go although personally I hate hockey and you won't catch me jumping in the clap now, cheer louder atmosphere that is promoted, but childish to me. The fights on the ice is the only part you can argue that is not for kids but they see a lot worse on televisions. For me though, even that can't get me though a game. I've tried hard to get into hockey although to be honest I have only been to live gives about 10 times and fell asleep 3 times and there is bars at hockey games too and that doesn't help either. There are just too many stoppages which makes watching it on tv better with a remote at my side.
    Finally to touch on the commentating. It is probably true that the British can't comment on the hockey games as when the Canadians comment on the British games it is horrendous and thank goodness for the mute button.

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  • 29. At 9:03pm on 25 Feb 2010, matt302 wrote:

    Russell,11 and sim brow,15
    apologies if my previous comments came off as anti-canada, they were definitly not meant in that way. I merely mean to convey that the since i started watching hockey (year after the lockout) i was draw to the game by the fans enthusiasm for the sport in canada. since that first season my favorite player has been Ovi (i know its an obvious choice, but that post lockout goal vs the coyotes on his back sealed it for me) as such i was more supporting him than being anti canada. Fingers crossed for a rout of the US in the final!!

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  • 30. At 9:30pm on 25 Feb 2010, Pretty Triangles wrote:

    NoGoodSportsInCanada

    As a Canadian I have to say this quietly, but I tend to agree with you. In my 26 years I have tried, repeately, to like Hockey, but I just can't. I love watching the national team in the Olympics, but once it ends, so will my interest in the sport for another 4 years.

    I am a football (the real kind, not the one played with your hand) fan and have been for about the past 13 years. Somehow I fell in love with Arsenal and it has turned into slightly more than an obsession with me. I cannot imagine I will ever like hockey, or a hockey team, the way I love Arsenal and English Football.

    I find the media obsession with Hockey being "Canada's Game" annoying and childish. You don't see the British going on about Football being 'their' sport, but you can still see the passion. To be honest, Hockey, Beer, and Tim Horton's are the best things to ever happen to the Canadian media and I for one am getting sick of it. And I was born here - what do Canada's millions of immigrants think about the constant barrage they get about being Canadian and loving hockey?

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  • 31. At 10:18pm on 25 Feb 2010, Sim Brow wrote:

    Hey matt302,

    I loved your comments and they are in no way anti-Canadian at all. I was just poking fun at your post, since I found it amusing. Hey, you can support whomever you want: Russia, US, Sweden, Finland. It is all good in my view.

    Like you I would love to see a US/Canada final. It would be a fitting climax in spite of the silliness of the hype.

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  • 32. At 2:37pm on 26 Feb 2010, Russell wrote:

    Matt302 - absoluely no offence taken, mate! Don't think you were being anti-Canada at all. Your post said as much. However, as Sim Brow so aptly wrote, your choice of choosing to support Russia because of 1 player over Canada, whose game you fell for in the first place, would seem highly contradictory to a Canadian. And Sim Brow wrote the perfect example of how that would sound to an Englishman if the scenario were reversed. No offense taken but just making sure you knew what you were saying. Russia is our nemesis!!

    Pretty Triangles - I don't want to tear your post apart completely, but I need to vehemently correct you - the English ABSOLUTELY go on about football being their game!!!!! In fact, knowing that NoGoodSportsInCanada is Scottish I no that he would agree. While I'm stereotyping, most Scottish have a healthy disdain for the English; especially when it comes to football. There is a shop in Aberdeen at the moment doing a roaring trade on ABE (Anyone But the English) t-shirts in prep for the World Cup!! You, my friend, simply couldn't be more wrong. Football is COMPLETELY a social and identity issue for the English. That's part of the problem with fan behaviour. As for your feelings towards hockey, well, I find that a little shocking, too. It's one thing to not like the game; fair enough. But to actively feel strife towards our national pastime is certainly unusual. Similar to football, hockey for Canada is an identity thing and it is equally troublesome in many ways. It says much about our identity (or maybe lack of) and how we choose to support sport. Hockey is the only game to garner the kind of attention that all sports do in the US. Just look at our reaction to the Olympics. But that's us. Rightly or wrongly; rationally or irrationally. That's who we are. I simply can't think that you've spent any time in England visiting or being part of the football culture. It is an all consuming, narcissistic and never ending debate about where England (or English clubs) falls in the world order. Also, you would be surprised to find just how many people over here have no interest in football; similar to your feelings about hockey. I'm sure that Matthew Pinsent could attest to this...

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  • 33. At 2:45pm on 26 Feb 2010, gokingsgo wrote:

    'as when the Canadians comment on the British games it is horrendous and thank goodness for the mute button.'

    That would be nice, if Canadian broadcasts of soccer weren't simply the UK feed with no dubbed-over commentary. The only overdubbed games here are those brought in from ESPN in the United States, which I think is confined to the Champions' League and even that's been phased out this year for the most part. The Saturday and Sunday morning EPL games are always with British commentary.

    The BBC could do well to follow that lead and use either the Canadian - Chris Cuthbert of TSN - or American - the always good 'Doc' Emerick of NBC and the Devils - feeds for the medal games.

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  • 34. At 3:58pm on 26 Feb 2010, NoGoodSportsInCanada wrote:

    gokingsgo wrote:
    "The Saturday and Sunday morning EPL games are always with British commentary."
    You are right about that. I think in the last year or two this happened. In general the amount of football in Canada on television has increased quite significantly compared to what it was when I first arrived. The sport has been getting more attention over here but I think that is due to MLS pumping more money into the sport and the EPL trying to expand itself internationally although I have no facts to back that up.
    This was supposed to be a hockey blog so I'll shut up to try and keep it that way.

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  • 35. At 4:35pm on 26 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    33. At 2:45pm on 26 Feb 2010, gokingsgo wrote:

    "That would be nice, if Canadian broadcasts of soccer weren't simply the UK feed with no dubbed-over commentary. ...

    The BBC could do well to follow that lead and use either the Canadian - Chris Cuthbert of TSN - or American - the always good 'Doc' Emerick of NBC and the Devils - feeds for the medal games."

    __________

    If you watch football in Canada, just as often the commentary is in Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese.

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  • 36. At 8:49pm on 26 Feb 2010, Pretty Triangles wrote:

    Russell

    Wow, you really 'tore' my post apart there, didnt you?! How will I ever recover from that?

    I'm afraid you simply misunderstood . I know very well that England is a football-obsessed nation, as we are hockey-obsessed. But the mere fact that we are hockey-obsessed in NOT the reason for my gripe.

    It is how the Canadian media regurgitate the nonsense of hockey being "Canada's Game" - as if we are the rightful owners of the sport. Indeed, as this Olympics has shown, we are probably the only country that is properly 'obsessed' by it, but that is another matter. My problem is that it is as though the very IDEA of 'Beng Canadian' is tied more to loving Hockey than any other single characteristic this country of ours might possess.

    THAT is not the way in England. Like Hockey, the sport was invented in England, but you do not see the English media repeat the notion that it is "England's Game". Sure there is endless debates, immense media hype, and tremendous excitement, but nothing about 'OWNING' the sport or that to be English means to be Football-obsessed. Will you see beer commercials in England before the World Cup stating "Let's show everyone whose game their playing!" ????? (A line from a Molson Canadian commercial played 100s of times during these olympics)

    Do not patronize me with statements like "I simply can't think that you've spent any time in England visiting or being part of the football culture." You couldn't be further from the truth!

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  • 37. At 03:09am on 27 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    36. At 8:49pm on 26 Feb 2010, Pretty Triangles wrote:

    "England, but you do not see the English media repeat the notion that it is "England's Game". ..."
    __________

    Maybe you've forgotten why England stayed aloof from the World Cup in the beginning?
    __________
    __________

    30. At 9:30pm on 25 Feb 2010, Pretty Triangles wrote:

    As a Canadian I have to say this quietly, but I tend to agree with you. In my 26 years I have tried, repeately, to like Hockey, but I just can't. I love watching the national team in the Olympics, but once it ends, so will my interest in the sport for another 4 years.

    I find the media obsession with Hockey being "Canada's Game" annoying and childish. [[Fair enough - they overdo it, and coat it in maple syrup]]

    "And I was born here - what do Canada's millions of immigrants think about the constant barrage they get about being Canadian and loving hockey?"
    __________

    Hockey isn't for everybody.

    However, having taught or helped teach perhaps 150+ children to skate and to play the game, I can tell you from first-hand experience that immigrants play the game and get just as much fun out of it (perhaps more?) as any other kids.

    And what is the make-up of the league? 1/3 Chinese and Koreans; 1/5 Jewish; Indians and Pakistanis; lots of Iranians, Russians, a few Poles and Balts; some Hispanics; a few Somalis and Ethiopians. White kids who are the children of white parents born in Canada? Hardly any - less than 1/5, for sure. Doesn't make any difference. (10 - 15 % of the players are girls, too). The kids accept each other, play together, and have a great time, no matter where they're from. They (and inevitably their parents, too) make friends, and get a great feeling of belonging.

    And maybe that's the real lesson in it.

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  • 38. At 12:20pm on 01 Mar 2010, highthief wrote:

    Russell wrote:

    "Remember that Canada's hockey rivals have always and will always be Russia. Our rivalry with you (USA) is different."
    _____________________________________________________________________

    I disagree. Russia is a spent force. Canada last contested a major competition final with Russia in 1987 when it was still the USSR! 23 years ago. Since then, we've faced the USA in 3 major finals - World Cup 1996, and Olympics in 2002 and 2010.

    The USA has been a better hockey playing nation than Russia since the Soviet break up. The Swedes too, for that matter.

    Yes, growing up, the Big Red Machine was the real enemy in the 70s and 80s. But they are not much anymore. They may improve again, but given the performance of the US junior team this year along with the senior squad, the USA may be the team to beat in 2014 (if the NHL participates).

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  • 39. At 1:21pm on 01 Mar 2010, sean_oniall wrote:

    36. At 8:49pm on 26 Feb 2010, Pretty Triangles wrote:

    THAT is not the way in England. Like Hockey, the sport was invented in England, but you do not see the English media repeat the notion that it is "England's Game". Sure there is endless debates, immense media hype, and tremendous excitement, but nothing about 'OWNING' the sport or that to be English means to be Football-obsessed. Will you see beer commercials in England before the World Cup stating "Let's show everyone whose game their playing!" ????? (A line from a Molson Canadian commercial played 100s of times during these olympics)

    I'm sorry Pretty Triangles but you are wrong about this. This is exactly how the English media behave. There is plenty from them about owning football. Being English and being football obsessed doesn't necessarily follow, but they do carry on as if football was *their* game and no-one else is or should be any good at it. You will also see similar commercials to what you described with almost identical sentiments. You also get constant references to the only occasion that they won the World Cup in 1966 even in completely unrelated sports. I even heard it last night while watching the Olympic Ice Hockey final!

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  • 40. At 1:33pm on 01 Mar 2010, sean_oniall wrote:

    Everything everybody has said about the woeful BBC commentators is true. (Please note for the future BBC!) I found myself cringing on one than more occasion and wished like others here that I could mute their ill-informed babbling, but leave the sounds from the game on. However, Russell from what you wrote you sound a little familiar. Are you not the Canadian guy who did the NHL pundit bit on Channel 5 up until recently? If you are you really should have declared an interest! :-)

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