Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Neil Davidson of the CP at Yahoo,
Perched high in the Bolshoy Ice Dome, music director Ray Castoldi is constantly taking the temperature of the fans below.
If they are already on their feet or chanting, he leaves them alone. If the atmosphere needs a jolt, he turns to his organ or sends White Zombie's "Kernkraft 400" or Darude's "Sandstorm" pumping through the PA to get the party started.
It's a skill that has taken the 51-year-old Castoldi from the Super Bowl to the Sochi Olympics.
His day job is music director at Madison Square Garden, where he plays the organ and DJs at Rangers, Knicks and Liberty games. But he has travelled the world with his keyboard and laptop.
from Bill Plaschke of the LA Times,
When American T.J. Oshie scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the U.S. a 3-2 victory over Russia in a first-round Olympic hockey game Saturday night, it was a devastating ending for the several dozen fans crowding into the So Leone sports bar in downtown Sochi.
But the group of mostly middle-aged men did not immediately leave. They picked their chins out of their chests, stood slowly from their couches and chairs, and lined up in front of the two Americans sitting meekly in the middle of the room.
Then, one by one, they shook our hands.
Far from the carefully painted faces and organized cheers at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the Russian sporting soul was on display in a dark, wood-lined room with two giant televisions, one small dart board, and a lifetime of angst.
The So Leone sports bar was 35 minutes up the Black Sea coast from the game between Russia and the U.S., but it pounded with a cramped and honest pulse of a nation on edge.
"This is our sport, this is our life," said patron Denis Puzyrez, standing at the bar in a rumpled T-shirt and hopeful stare. "Even if we fail in everything else in Olympics, if we win hockey, we win the Olympics."
Some guys get all pursy around the mouth when you suggest this, but figure skating is infinitely harder than ice hockey. Every four years at the Winter Olympics, figure skating fans have to listen to a lot of nonsense about how their sport lacks legitimacy. The puckheads don’t understand that the people in Lycra doing curlicues are actually the better skaters, with the stronger legs, and the superior athletes in a more pressure-packed pursuit.
-Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post where you can continue reading...
In 1987, travelling with the Canadian national team for an event in Moscow called the Izvestia tournament, during the darkest days of Soviet Russia, where you couldn’t even find a restaurant, let alone get a decent restaurant meal, centre Marc Habscheid made a fabulous point: These sorts of experiences were good for professional athletes because once they went back to their regular lives, maybe it wouldn’t be such a tragedy if their restaurant steak came out medium instead of medium-rare.
That’s the challenge they’ll face here, too. It isn’t going to meet the standards they’re used to – and that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Maik in Sochi. Read more from Duhatschek.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
My Winter Olympic experiences have gone from telegrams to Twitter, from a small, isolated village in New York's Adirondack Mountains that produced a sports miracle few people knew about as it unfolded to an international resort on Russia's Black Sea where the world can keep up with every development almost immediately by consulting mobile devices that didn't exist even a few years ago.
The Sochi Games will be my 10th straight Winter Olympics and 14th Games, including Summer Olympics. My first was Lake Placid, and we drove up from Long Island, where I worked for Newsday. My boss, the late Dick Sandler, told me I'd cover figure skating and some hockey. When the underdog American hockey team was eliminated, he said, we would ignore it.
Dick was a wonderful sports editor, but he was slightly off on that prediction.
Chatting last week with Bob Suter, a defenseman on the 1980 U.S. "Miracle on Ice" hockey team, reminded me of how much the Winter Olympics have grown and the massive changes that have taken place over a relatively short period.
Gretzky and O'Brien go way back and recall Greatzky's 1989 appearance on Saturday Night Live.
I watched the full interview with Richard Sherman today and he handled the situation very well.
And he brought up hockey too..
from Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times,
Thousands of miles wide, Canada is girded by a narrow belt of population stretched thin across its vast landscape. Hockey is the common experience shared in every large city and small town along the way.
Bryan Trottier grew up playing hockey in one of those towns, Val Marie, Saskatchewan. He went on to win six Stanley Cups, but on Thursday night he was in another small Canadian town, stepping to a microphone with a guitar.
“It’s great fun to be part of a super evening of great music, super songwriters and terrific performers, and you folks add to our enjoyment,” Trottier told the audience of about 600 at the community theater here.
Then he started strumming, the band joined in, and the whole audience clapped along to Buck Owens’s “Act Naturally.”
Trottier was in Lloydminster, an oil-patch town of 27,000 straddling the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, as a hockey player and a country singer, participating in Hockey Day in Canada festivities.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
The little hardware store in Sainte-Justine, Que., had sticks on sale for 69 cents (today, a Bauer Nexus 1000 composite retails for $299) and his parents told him he had to earn the money if he was going to buy one.
“The priest paid me 10 cents a mass to serve,” the former national librarian of Canada says with a chuckle. Seven masses later, he had his new stick.
But it was something else he received that winter that would forever change (Roch) Carrier, forever link him with the national game, and it was something he absolutely despised: a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater – when he had asked for, prayed for, a Montreal Canadiens sweater like all the other children on the outdoor rink at Sainte-Justine were wearing.
A mix-up in the Eaton’s shipping department led to the best-known, most-honoured short story this country has known.
And it all came about by accident, out of sheer desperation.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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