Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Posts about 2010 Winter Games

Saturday at the Olympics

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: February 13, 2010 - 9:54 PM

-The Canada women's hockey team just beat Slovakia 18-0. At some point, when your opponent is that overmatched, shouldn't you tell your players to control the puck but not shoot so much? Slovakia has about 12 female hockey players in the country. It's one thing to knock your opponent down - it's another to punch them in the head a dozen times just for fun.

When you're up 18-0, you should really bring in Jedd Fisch to run your offense to keep from running up the score.

-I watched Chad Hedrick finish 11th and Shani Davis 12th in the 5000 meter speedskating. Hedrick won the gold in this event in Turin, but was never in contention here. He complained of sticky ice, but Sven Kramer of the Netherlands broke the Olympic record while winning gold.

Davis and Hedrick were both affable and diplomatic, quite a departure from Turin, when they tore into each other publicly. Davis is a sprinter, so finishing 12th was no disgrace.

Kramer, who has dominated the event for the past three years, sprinted to the stands, climbed up, hugged his parents and then almost knocked over his girlfriend in his jubilation. He's also favored to win the 10,000 and his team is favored to win the Team Pursuit.

The Dutch love their speedskating. They pack the oval wearing goofy costumes, including huge orange top hats, and cheer for just about everyone.

-Rachel Blount wrote three stories for the Sunday paper, and Michael Russo spent the day at Whistler covering Tony Benshoof and luge. I wrote a column on the problematic start of the Olympics for Canada, despite the country and Vancouver's obvious efforts to make this a first-class event.

They're succeeding as far as I'm concerned. Great city, great food, good beer, and I'll take rain over freezing cold anytime.

I walked down Granville Ave. tonight to see how much damage the protesters caused, and the department store that got damaged, Hudson Bay, was already putting in new windows, and the line outside their building to buy Olympic gear was a block long.

-Apolo Anton Ono just took silver in the 1500 short-track speedskating, giving him six medals, the most of any male American speedskater ever. Eric Heiden won five in one Olympics. Ono is now tied with Bonnie Blaire for most medals by any American speedskater.

-Things will start picking up when Lindsey Vonn actually gets to compete and the men's hockey starts.

Tomorrow morning, I should be able to co-host Sunday Sports talk with Brad Lane on am-1500, from 10-noon. We hope to have on John Randle, Rick Anderson and Strib Gophers basketball writer Myron Medcalf. You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.

 

Greetings from Vancouver

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: February 12, 2010 - 6:30 PM

-It's raining here again today. I feel like an extra in Blade Runner.

I'm not complaining. There is something relaxing and atmospheric about beautiful, rainy cities, and the streets are filled in Vancouver despite the iffy weather.

My colleagues Rachel Blount and Mike Russo will cover the Opening Ceremonies tonight; I'm going to head to Irish House and see just why a country with no chance of Olympic medals was the first to open its ``House,'' and why the neighbors have been complaining. (Tough assignment for an irish guy who likes Guiness.)

-Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died Friday after a crash so horrific that I couldn't watch televised replays.

His death is sad, and tragic. It is not, however, surprising.

I'm surprised more winter athletes aren't victimized by their sports. I'm surprised more athletes in general don't succumb to the dangers to which they subject themselves.

What is most disturbing about Kumaritashvili's death is that the Canadians, in their intense effort to lead the medal count at these Olympics, restricted practice time allowed to other nations at their venues. The danger of this luge run, combined with the lack of time athletes could spend familiarizing themselves with it, could have cost Kumaritashvili his life.

-Along with three current colleagues, we're joined in Vancouver by former Strib intern Rachel Bachman, the sports enterprise reporter for the Portland Oregonian. Rachel was recently named the Oregon sportswriter of the year, the first woman in the 50-year history of the award to be so honored.

-I love the Wild's latest move, essentially trading Kim Johnsson for Blackhawks defenseman Cam Barker. Johnsson is a useful player, but, I'm sorry, I'm never that high on players who are mostly praised for doing ``little things.'' I'd rather have the players who do big things, like score goals, assist on goals and flatten opponents. Barker is better suited to doing those things than Johnsson, and he's younger and cheaper.

Check out Mr. Russo's story and blog for insights on the deal.

I keep saying it: The Vikings, Twins and Wild are remarkably well-run organizations. They're taking all of the fun out of being a writer who likes satire.

Of course, their competence just makes the Timberwolves' recent history and the state of Gophers athletics look that much more pathetic.

Check out the state of the Gophers: Men's hockey, men's basketball, women's basketball and football are all underachieving, or worse. At some point, doesn't the athletic director, Gentleman Joel Maturi, become culpable, when all of his revenue sports are tanking?

-Upcoming: I'll start covering events on Saturday, and Rachel Blount, photographer Brian Peterson and I will take the long bus trip to Whistler to cover Lindsey Vonn's first even on Sunday (weather allowing).

I'll probably be on the bus for part of Sunday Sports Talk, but the Vikings have confirmed that we should be able to speak to John Randle about his Hall of Fame induction, and we have a few other guests lined up, including Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson. I'll be on as much as I can on Sunday, but can't make any promises.

Next week I'll be on KSTP at 8:05 a.m. to provide Olympic updates.

You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.

Russo and I have a video up at startribune.com. We'll do more when we find ourselves in the same place at the same time. Except when we're in a bar. We really don't want that in the public domain, not after a few Canadian beers. (They're stronger than the smell of hockey pads.)

 

SORTing through...

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: February 11, 2010 - 7:27 PM

 

-I've always thought bottled water was a ridiculous idea, and now this: My hotel room offers free Starbucks coffee, but charges $6 for a bottle of water. That makes my head hurt.

Can't complain about the accomodations. I'm at a nice Sheraton. In Turin, I was in a ``dorm room'' that I believe was about to become a ``prison.'' In Beijing, they built media condos that were actually very nice.

-A lynx ran across the Alpine courses and a bear threatened the bobsled run already this week. I wish I had a joke, but I'd be plagiarizing Stephen Colbert, the God Of The Winter Olympics and Bear Attacks.

-Russo, my tour guide for Vancouver, introduced me to a new beer last night. Kokanee. Local brew. Made from glacier water. Very good, very clean-tasting. They have a tiny Sasquatch on the label, but he's not easy to find and they move him around, so it's a beer that doubles as a drunk-driving test.

I didn't see the Sasquatch at first. After a few Kokanees, I saw eight.

-I just attended the U.S. snowboarding team's press conference. It was wonderful to hear all these serious journalists trying to ask deep questions of Hannah Teter about her sport's place in the pantheon. One interviewer used the word ``genuine'' in his question. Teter said, ``Genuine? I don't know what that means. I didn't go to school much.''

I did not hear a snowboarder use the word ``Dude.'' I did hear Shaun White say he's pretty much done with the ``Flying Tomato'' nickname and has moved on to ``Animal'' - like the Muppets' drummer - or, as one of his teammates suggested, ``Red Zeppelin.''

-A first for me: A Canadian TV station showing highlights of minor-league hockey games from across the country.

-The Canadians at the press center keep apologizing for the rain. No need. This is a beautiful city. Reminds me of San Francisco and Seattle, and with Victoria Island looming, it's like Sausalito is swimming distance away.

-My view of Lindsey Vonn's injuries? Yes, she's hurt. Yes, it will hurt to ski. But for her to suggest that she would miss any races was, to me, overly dramatic, and a sign that she wants to dampen some of the expectations surrounding her, after she spent the last four years heightening those expectations.

To me, that's not a promising sign.

-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib. I'll be on KSTP AM-1500 at 6:40 a.m. Friday, then on at 8:05 a.m. weekdays for the rest of the Olympics. I'll try to contribute to my Sunday show, but may be on a bus to Whistler, so Brad Lane will invite a special guest host to keep my mic warm.

 

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