Thursday, February 14, 2002

Ch-ch-ch-changes: "Dale Earnhardt's death changed many lives this past year," observes's Rupen Fofaria. "It even changed his own." (courtesy of OpinionJournal's Best of the Web)
Where are they now?: Wonder what happened to all those draft picks the Canadiens made over the years? HockeysFuture tracked them down...

Slovak scandal: Team Slovakia has a lot to answer for back home, and so does the IOC. "The group that danced in the streets after the silver medal at the world championships is out for blood and they are looking for a sacrificial lamb."

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Olympic skating mess: The International Skating Union, the international governing body of figure skating, has launched an internal inquiry into the judging of the Olympic pairs event, amid a storm of outrage from fans and Canadian Olympic officials over the awarding of the gold medal to two Russians, while a Canadian pair got the silver.

NBC countered the supposedly flawed rankings with their own flawed quantitative effort - an Internet poll, which elicited more than 165,000 responses. 96 percent of respondents said the Canadians should have won.

But why all the fuss? Most Winter Olympic events are judged and the judging is inevitably subjective. The tabulation of judge's scores gives the process an imprimatur of scientific objectivity, but at the end of the day, the judges are forced to put numbers to their opinions. The result can never leave everyone satisfied.

Unless winning or losing is dependent on objective measurements, such as goals scored (hockey) or speed (speed skating), disputes are inevitable. The ski jump made the move from objective to subjective once distance covered was no longer the only measurement of winning.
Hockey's shame: Well, mostly. Roy MacGregor reports what most hockey people already know: there are only two women's hockey teams in Salt Lake. The rest are not worth mentioning. Why is women's hockey an olympic event, then? Maybe we could just do away with the fiction, and have a best of three tourney between the U.S. and Canada...
IOC conspiracy to deprive Belarus of gold medals?: Belarus has accused Salt Lake organizers of undermining their team's chances by feeding them a forced diet of fast food. Deputy Sports Minister Alexander Grigorov told Reuters, "Our sportsmen are getting sandwiches...and various hamburgers. But they need normal meat, fresh fruit juices, hot soup." (Reuters, Feb. 13)

Well, Alex, it does not seem to have prevented your hockey team from advancing to the final round...
Best description of a women's hockey game: "US Women's Ice Hockey beats Germany 10-0. France Surrenders" (
Choose: watch Olympic coverage or have your toenails removed with a tweezer: "So far, the gold medal for sports interviewing must go to Kristin Cooper, who asked U.S. downhill racer Daaron Rahlves after his event: "What happened?" "

"Three days had passed before someone started using instant replay and a light pen onscreen to shed some light on the nuances of performance. This was done for ski jumping; why can't it be done for every event, to help us better understand what makes an athlete successful?"

"Further, most audiences know almost nothing about how judges judge. The media's experts could break out their light pens and instant replay and tell us how they would judge a performance — and why — so that we'd know better whether to boo or cheer when the numbers come up."

(James Swan on Olympic media coverage)
Oh, the good old days...: Pining for the mythical good-old-days, the Christian Science Monitor talked to 1980 gold medalist Mike Eurzione. "Wouldn't it be great, Eruzione said, if hockey could revert to those years when the athletes lived and played together for a month and, by implication, sacrificed together?"

It would also be great if pigs could fly, just like they used to. Back in the real world, the amateur years were their own kind of farce, with the rules tilted even more so against America and Canada, and teams from the communist bloc being anything but amateur-laden.

The current set-up is a nonsensical exercise in futility. But the past was no better. Time to look for something new.

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Women's hockey: USA beating Germany 6-0. Matthew Felling's comment? "It's like watching a pinball game."
Charles Tupper Jr concedes defeat in our bet on the Slovak Olympic hockey team. Stay tuned for more friendly wagering when the NHL playoffs come around.

Also, when I have a chance, I will add some more links to the side-bar - to webloggers like Charles who have a hockey bent, and to some other useful puck places.

LCS IS BACK: Shout it from the rooftops, my old magazine, LCS Hockey, has returned to life!
Wha-hey, Belarus! Belarus beat the evil French 3-1 last night in an entertaining match-up. They will advance to the final round robin.

The winner of tonight's Latvia-Germany game will advance as well.
Avalanche-Blues trade: love those inter-conference trades. This one is no blockbuster, though. The Colorado Avalanche acquired Mike Keane from the St. Louis Blues on Monday night in exchange for Shjon Podein.

Monday, February 11, 2002

Sorry, Charles: Charles Tupper Jr. owes me a Canadian five-dollar bill. He not only lost our bet, he lost it big time, as the Slovaks won't even make it to the final round robin. They tied Latvia last night 6-6 after losing to Germany on Saturday night. Last night's match kicked ass, entertainment-wise, but there was no defensive play whatsoever.

But in the end, don't blame Tupper for mis-judging this one. Slovakia got slammed because the NHL slammed them. They could not put together a proper roster. But all due respect to Latvia, they played without their best player, goaltender Arturs Irbe, whom Carolina will not release yet. Their backup is a sieve, but was just enough to come out even this time.

Meanwhile, if the NHL were actually running this properly, Peter Bondra would have been on the ice for the Slovaks, and they would have won 12-6... But then again, Arturs Irbe would have been in net, so maybe they would not have even tied...
Another one bites the dust... In the wake of several coaches getting the steel-tipped boot, Tampa Bay General Manager Rick "Do-no-right" Dudley resigned. Tampa Bay will not notice any difference.