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Everyone who watches men’s figure skating pretty much knows by now that Evgeni Plushenko has said the quadruple jump is the future of men’s figure skating. A few egotistical judges, who self-appointed themselves to be the judge of that, rewarded Evan Lysacek with the Winter Olympics gold. Supposedly, Evan’s his triple jumps and graceful artistry while dressed like a grease ball in a black jump suit with sparkles was superior to the ultimate ice showman’s quads and other skills.

The main defense of Evan’s gold being fair and legit is that this is the new scoring system (see summary below the poll).

OK. Let’s theoretically accept that is correct for a few moments.

If so, then why not tear down the gender barrier and have the ladies compete with the men?

Queen of the Triple Axel, Mao Asada of Japan

20 of the 24 male figure skaters at the Olympics level didn’t do a triple Axel. Rod Black and Tracey Wilson cited on CTV during Olympics exhibition gala broadcast. Meanwhile, Mao Asada of Japan, the Queen of the Triple Axel, can do them like crazy. She did three in her free skate! That gives her a pretty good chance at 4th place right off the get go, She can do other jumps and combinations like the men. And who’s going to tell me her artistry and grace is worse than any of the men?

So if some of the ladies can jump better than most of the men, and they’re more graceful and artistic, what chance would Evan Lysacek have for the gold if he competed against them?

He’d get bronze, at best, with stiff competition from Johnny Weir. Top two spots would be contended by Mao Asada and Yu-Na Kim of South Korea. Mao only got silver… and not because she was a jumper and not artistic, either. She was elegant, skilled and graceful. She was just beaten by a better skater on the night. Both were beautifully artistic and graceful, having great footwork and covering the ice at least as good as the men, and could jump better than many!

So under this new scoring system, if you could get away with winning on triple jumps and rely on footwork and artistic impression to win, then let’s get the women a chance to skate with the men. Let them show Evan what that’s really all about, cause artistic grease balls in black jump suits with sparkles ain’t doing the trick for me to watch the sport.

Get a few girls who can kick some guy butts? Now you’re talking! ;-)

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.4

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The New Figure Skating Scoring System

The International Skating Union introduced a new scoring system that took effect internationally in the 2005 season. It is intended to shift focus away from the judges and onto the skaters.

Judges
The system is designed to allow judges to focus on the quality of each element performed and the five program components. It also eliminates the scoring of skaters in relation to other skaters.

Referee
Oversees the judges to make sure they follow the proper procedure

Technical specialist
Identifies each element as the skater performs it

Technical controller
Supports technical specialist

Assistant technical specialist

Program components

  • Transitions
  • Interpretation
  • Choreography/composition
  • Skating skills
  • Performance/execution of elements

Grade of execution
Awarded on a scale of up to plus or minus three points

Base value
Each technical element has a pre-assigned base value

Program component score
Sum of points awarded for each of five components; points given on a scale from 0.25 to 10

Technical score
Each element performed receives a base value plus a ìgrade of executionî

Total score
Seven of the nine judges are randomly and anonymously selected by computer. Scores of the other two judges are thrown out.

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The ice used to be the home turf for the Russians in the Winter Olympics. For many years, they dominated in figure skating and hockey. Yet, this year, they got kicked off their own turf. For the first time ever, they didn’t win a figure skating gold. Now, they won’t even win a hockey medal. Stunning! I wonder how Russia is going to handle that!

In what should have been the Olympics hockey tournament final, Canada faced off against the Russians in the quarter-finals and put on a monumental performance to beat them 7-3. Canada was out to a 3-0 lead before 13 minutes was over, hitting all over and putting huge pressure on the Russian net. The rest was an exciting victory and scoring fest, well, for half the game anyway. The scoring got shut down in the second half of the game, but that was only after 10 goals had been score in the first 32 minutes. When everything was on the line, national pride came through to beat the Russians emphatically!

Canada now await the winner of the Sweden/Slovakia game later tonight for the semi-finals on Friday. The United States beat a game Swiss team 2-0 earlier today to await either the Finns or Czech in the semi-final Friday.

Given how the Canadians have played this tournament, and the awesome line-up of the Russians, I don’t think many thought it was going to be lop-sided, if the Canadians were going to win at all (unless it was out of pride). After losing to the United States on Super Sunday in the round robin, victims of an unearthly performance by US goalie, Ryan Miller, Canada had to play Germany on Tuesday in a qualifying game to get a chance in the quarter-finals against the Russians Wednesday. While the Germans were not expected to be a challenge, it was effort for Canada while the Russians rested. However, the game gave Canada a few much needed tune-ups for this game that they put to good use.

  • Canada got a chance to work on their grinding game, which they applied well to pound the Russians with many a hard body checks tonight right from the get go.
  • Canada got a chance to pocket a few goals and get their scoring touch back.

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First Period

It’s not that they improved their scoring skills in that game, but it’s just nice to be able to score freely in a game environment and get the mentality back. It showed tonight

Canada came out hitting with a crusher by Shea Weber on Ilya Kovalchuk, followed by quick scoring from Ryan Getzlaf just 2:21 into the game. Ryan scored on Russian starting goalie Evgeni Nabokov after a pass by Dan Boyle who had gained the zone. Chris Pronger drew the other assist.
Canada led 1-0

That pressure from the start was kept up throughout the game, though, as the Canadians were constantly buzzing around the Russian net, outshooting them 21-12 in the first period and 42-28 overall. The 21 shots were the most by a Canadian team in a period in the Olympics.

The first penalty came to Canada, on a figure skating worthy spinning dive by Captain Alexei Morozov after being touched by Brent Seabrook. It called by American referee Denis Leroux from way out in the neutral zone. The Canadians killed it off easily enough, with a bonus cruncher on Alexander Ovechkin by Drew Doughty, to avoid losing momentum. However, when Russia’s Anton Volchenkov got a holding penalty next, Dan Boyle scored on the power play at 12:09 on a beautiful passing play from San Jose Sharks teammates Danny Heatley and Patrick Marleau.
Canada led 2-0

Just 46 seconds later, at 12:55, the Russians turned the puck over as Canada came out on a two on one rush. Fed by Mike Richards, Jonathan Toews had the puck and fed Rick Nash, who put it past Nabokov. The crowd, already in a frenzy, went absolutely crazy, prompting Russian coach Vyacheslav Bykov to call a time out.
Canada led 3-0

Smart move, because not long after came the first Russian goal. Dmitri Kalinin scored the first Russian goal by a defencemen of the tournament on a screened shot from Anton Volchenkov. Kalinin shot it past Canadian goalie Robert Luongo’s high glove side at 14:39. Sergei Federov got the other assist.
Canada led 3-1

Canada never lost the momentum, though, as they got back at putting pressure on the Russians right away. It didn’t even take four minutes to pay off as Brendan Morrow walked out from behind the Russian net to jam a back hand through Nabokov at 18:18. Russian centre Sergei Zinovyev, who has a bad knee slightly exaggerated a few days back to be potentially 6 months to heal, had not being able to keep up with Morrow on the play. Dan Boyle got his third point of the period to assist on the goal, while Duncan Keith also got an assist.
Canada led 4-1

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Second Period

The Russians did not choose to replace Evgeni Nabokov to start the second period despite his four goals allowed on 21 shots in the first period. That was the fatal error to blow the game for the Russians as Canada quickly potted a few more goals on him early in the second period.

Cory Perry scored on Canada’s first shot in the second period at 3:10. Ryan Getzlaf’s shot deflected to him and he caught Nabokov still reacting to the deflected shot. Duncan Keith also assisted on his second consecutive goal.
Canada led 5-1

Less than a minute later, at 4:07,  Shea Weber blasted one past Nabokov from the above the right face-off circle. It was assisted by Jonathan Teows and Jarome Iginla.
Canada led 6-1

That chased Nabokov for back-up Ilya Bryzgalov, who didn’t end up faring much better. However, the goalie change gave the Russians an immediate spark. On a couple of passes from Ilya Kovalchuk and Denis Grebeshkov, Maxim Afinogenov burst past Duncan Keith just half a minute later, and scored on Luongo at 4:46.
Canada led 6-2

As before, Canada picked up the intensity immediately, refusing to let the Russian gather any momentum. After five minutes of intense play, Russian centre Zinovyev made a terrible turn over at centre ice. Eric Staal capitalized it to feed Ryan Getzlaf, who then fed Corey Perry to blast a zinger on Bryzgalov at 9:51.
Canada led 7-2

A too many men on the ice penalty at 11:27 gave the Russians an opportunity to stop the flood, and that they promptly did. Sergei Gonchar, on a pass from Evgeni Malkin, put a shot past a screened Luongo at 11:40. However, they could not get anything more.
Canada led 7-3

Despite the four goal lead, a critical hooking penalty by Duncan Keith ended a period on a somewhat uncomfortable note for the Canadians. Four goals isn’t necessarily a safe lead given the star fire power on that Russian line-up. However, the Russians were not able to get anything.

Shots were 10-8 for Canada, leaving it 30-20 after two periods.

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Third Period

The Russians started the third period on the power play, but nothing became of it except a little frustration. Not long after the penalty expired, Volchenko knocked Eric Staal hard into the boards as Eric went to get the puck behind the Canadian goal line. Staal was not touching the puck at the time, but neither interference nor boarding was called. Staal was down for several minutes, but was able to get off the ice on his own.

Sticking up for Canadian pride, Canadian style, Ryan Getzlaf didn’t take long to lay out Volchenkov on a clean hit just minutes later.

Russia then got a too many men on the ice penalty, but Canada was not able to capitalize on it. The pressure Canada put on the Russians up to this point was still present to a reasonable amount, but things got relatively quiet after this. Well, anything is relatively quiet after 10 goals in the first 32 minutes!

To credit, the Russians did play through the third period, but Roberto Luongo stepped up as well. So despite the effort, Russia did worse on the scoreboard in the third period than the others.
Canada wins 7-3

Shots were 12-8 for Canada in the third, leaving the final 42-28 for Canada.

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Alexander Who?

Drew Doughty shadowed Alexander Ovechkin all night, and shut him down just he like on Jan 2 when he played Ovechkin in the NHL. They each played 26:47 that night, where Drew was a +1 and Ovechkin was a -1 without points. Drew made Alexander the Great into Alexander the Late, cause OV never arrived in the game. His only statistical contribution was serving a 2 minute penalty for too many men on the ice at 5:11 of the third period… and a -2 in the game. OV did get hit in the hand oddly by a wrist shot in the 12th minute of the third period, though, but that only limited him for 7 of the 60 minutes.

To be fair, Sidney Crosby was also “absent”. But you know, Sid wouldn’t care, being the team guy that he is.

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Scoring Summary

First Period Scoring
CAN — Ryan Getzlaf (Dan Boyle, Chris Pronger) — 2:21
CAN — Dan Boyle (Danny Heatley, Patrick Marleau) — 12:09 (PP)
CAN — Rick Nash (Jonathan Toews,  Mike Richards) — 12:55
RUS — Dmitri Kalinin (Anton Volchenkov, Sergei Federov) — 14:39
CAN — Brendan Morrow (Dan Boyle, Duncan Keith) — 18:18

Second Period Scoring
CAN — Corey Perry (Ryan Getzlaf, Duncan Keith) — 3:10
CAN — Shea Weber (Jonathan Toews, Jarome Iginla) — 4:07
RUS — Maxim Afinogenov (Ilya Kovalchuk, Denis Grebeshkov) — 4:46
CAN — Corey Perry (Ryan Getzlaf, Eric Staal) — 9:51
RUS — Sergei Gonchar (Evgeni Malkin) — 11:40

Third Period Scoring
None (what happened to all the scoring???)

Full statistics (CTV)

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 9.6

, on passes from Sergei Federov and

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New Pittsburgh

New Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Penguins, captained by Nova Scotian Sidney Crosby, broke and made history by winning the 7th game of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals 2-1 over the Red Wings in Detroit. For only the second time in 31 Game 7s of a major pro sports final, the road team won after being 3-2 games down. The other team who pulled off the come back feat the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates. It was also the first time an NHL team has won a Game 7 on the road since 1971 when the Montreal Canadiens won in Chicago against the Blackhawks. Also in a parallel to that year’s playoffs, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma also became only the second rookie coach to join a team mid-season and lead them to the Stanley Cup. The Canadiens’ Al MacNeil did it in 1971. Truly a City of Champions, Pittsburgh, if not the City of Champions given the championship legacies of the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins. The latter two have won championships in 2009. The Pirates are not likely to win a championship this year, but it’s not a bad year by any means with two major sports championships. Furthermore, the Penguins are 5 and 0 in Game 7 road games, stepping up to the moment.

A little less well known is how winning a year the city of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia is having. More specifically, it’s Cole Harbour, and it’s this week that has been monumentous! Just four days ago, New Democratic Party leader, Darrell Dexter, won a decisive victory in the provincial elections, forming the first NDP government in Nova Scotia and east of Ontario. Now it backs it up with local phenom Sidney Crosby and the Stanley Cup. Sid the Kid was sidelined with an injury to the side of his knee at 5:30 of the second period and played only one shift in the final period, but was on the bench to support his teammates in the third period.

“I don’t recommend anyone watching the Stanley Cup final from the bench, it’s a tough situation,” Sidney joked when interviewed after the game. He is the youngest captain ever to hoist the Stanley Cup.

sidney_crosby

Hey, I just saw Gatorade play rather plain “G” commercial with voice over to Sidney Crosby, Stanley Cup Champion. There weren’t all those stars in the usual commercial, but you can bet there’ll be a real one with Sidney in it coming soon!

Evgeni Malkin was named the Conn Smythe trophy winner as most valuable player in the playoffs. He led the playoffs with 36 points, as well as the regular season scoring to become just the fifth player to accomplish the double. Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky 4X, Guy Lafleur 2X and Phil Esposito 2X were the others. However, it was Maxime Talbot who scored both of Pittsburgh’s goals tonight in the second period, at 1:17 and 10:09. Rookie Jonathan Ericsson replied for Detroit with 6:07 left in the third period. Pittsburgh, who trailed 2 games to 0 out the gates, came back to win 4 of the next 5 games, including the only road win of this series tonight to win the Cup. They truly earned it as that feat was not easy to do against a tough team like the Red Wings.

In other story lines, Marian Hossa of the Red Wings had a potential dream of vengeance turned into the ultimate nightmare. Always plagued as not being a playoff performer, he was with Pittsburgh last year when they lost in six the finals (thanks to Brian J. for the correction), losing to Detroit on home ice. During the off season, Marian walked away from a reported 5 year, $7 million annual offer by Pittsburgh, and a rumoured $9 million a year multi-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers. He went for a one year deal in Detroit worth $7.45 million, presumably because he thought the Red Wings had the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup. Hossa could have hoisted the Stanley Cup in the Pittsburgh fans’ face in Game 6, to prove he was right, had he stepped up to help them win. However, he ended up losing on home ice again, in a worse situation being Game 7, to the team he ditched. Turns out, he was right to have walked away from the Penguins. That is a bunch of winners who know how to step up when the pressure is on, and Hossa clearly doesn’t. He turned his back on people like Mario Lemieux in ownership who were willing to believe in him after so many others didn’t. He jumped on the easy bandwagon of the reigning Stanley Cup champions and arguably, took them down without contributing his fair share once more. Talk about knowing how to make your own loser legacy! Serves him right!

On the other extreme of the legacy spectrum is Penguins part-owner, past multiple Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy winners, Hall of Famer, Mario Lemieux. Mario has won a lot of other accolades in the past, showing he could win in pretty much anything to do with hockey. He proved so now as a winning part owner. Mario also took Sidney into his home when Sidney first entered the NHL with the Penguins, when Sid was more truly the “Kid”, to show him “the way”. And look how the Kid turned out! It was great to see Mario hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head again!

Congratulations Pittsburgh, Sidney, Mario and all those associated with the club, from the pros to their families. They’ve all worked hard for it, took risks and so on, and got what they deserved!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.7

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