Good evening from Vancouver, early morning back in the Cities. Coming to you from the building formerly known as the GM Place, where I just watched the Finns beat Germany 5-0 behind a 24-save effort from Niklas Backstrom.
It was Backstrom's first-ever Olympic appearance. He didn't dress in the 2006 Olympics in Turin. Backstrom's best saves were a suave glove stop on a Manuel Klinge first-period breakaway, a doormouth second-period shot by Sven Felski, a second-period breakaway stop on Marco Sturm and third-period point-blank chances by Kai Hospelt, Jochen Hecht and Thomas Greilinger.
Teemu Selanne, playing his fifth Olympics, got an assist on Kimmo Timonen's second goal and is now the all-time leading Olympic scorer in history (37, passing Vlastimil Bubnik of Czechoslovakia).
No points for Mikko Koivu or Antti Miettinen.
Most productive day I had at the Olympics thus far because I actually did some non-work stuff. Woke up bright and early and took a long walk around Richmond. Dropped off my laundry (although I have no clue when I'll be able to pick it up since I'm in the mountains all day Saturday and at hockey all day Sunday). Went to Zellers to buy new gloves since as usual, I lost one (I'd rather lose two) and then came to the rink and got here by 10:30 for puck.
Reported on, then wrote a column/feature, a last-second notebook on how the heck you pronounce Marek Zidlicky's last name (here's that story), wrote my Sunday advance on USA-Canada game and now I've just completed watching my third hockey game.
It's now 11 p.m.ish local, I've got about an hour's commute back to my hotel, a 4:30 a.m. wakeup call staring me in the face and a 6 a.m. bus up to Whistler, then another 45-minute to hour busride apparently to Whistler Olympic Park, where I'll take in ski jumping and hopefully write a good feature on the two Americans who advanced to the large hill first round.
Zidlicky had three assists tonight against Latvia. He now leads the tournament with four assists in two games. Remember, he led all defensemen in the '06 Olympics with four goals. Marty Havlat, as you can read in the notebook, did not play much as he seemed to take a back seat to Jaromir Jagr (10:10 of ice time for Havlat, and taken off the power play).
His parents, Slava and Hanna, apparently (I didn't see it) were also interviewed on the Jumbotron before the game.
"How, they speak no English?" said Havlat.
Through a translator, of course.
OK, I'm going to skip a day of hockey on Saturday and go up to the mountains again and cover that ski jumping, but I'll be back at the hockey rink for a huge Sunday featuring the last three Olympic finalists -- Sweden vs. Finland, Canada vs. U.S. and Czechs vs. Russia.
Lastly, if you read my story in Saturday's paper (here's the link) on just what type of rabid atmosphere has been at these games, this is a picture Nicklas Olofsson emailed me of he and his friends.
Fiona Alexander, Johan Lindell, Nicklas Olofsson and Jess Lucas