Patrik Elias took a hard hit to the ribs in the Czech Olympic team’s opener, and sat out last night’s game versus Switzerland. We should have surmised something was up when Patty didn’t get a shot off after the first period of the opener, and at first I attributed his omissions from the game stat sheet as a lack of data from my new work diversion.
The cover of the latest USA Hockey magazine (free subscription with any USA Hockey registration) has some of the USA team members seated at a table that is about as Italian as Billy Joel. Here’s an idea – take Gio, Patty, and Ralphie, seat’em at that table for real, and fill them up with some serious Mama Leone. They could all use a little meat on the ribs. At least that’s the Jewish mother’s cure for a few days of rough hockey.
Just how cool is Angela Ruggiero? Talk about picking a good time to score a goal in the Olympics. What she did today — picking up the puck at the goal line, skating coast to coast, finding a seam in the defense and snapping a shot to put the US ahead of Finland, 4-3, was the kind of leadership about which books are written. She kept her head up and just executed. If you didn’t know there were a handful of Finns in front, desperate to not play Canada in their next game, you’d have sworn you were watching a practice drill courtesy of the smoothness with which she ran the play.
Reminds me of….Scott Stevens. Number 4. Blueliner. Leader. Big goal when needed most. And a regular person — before the Olympics I emailed Angela, and got back a prompt (but short) reply.
If anyone on the Canadian women’s team was smiling as the US went down 3-1, they should be equally terrified at the way our team fought back. Maybe this is worthy of making the Hockey News list of power players. In the words of a famous rabbi, if not now, when?
The locomotive cheer is one of the oldest college cheers. dervied from a pre-Civil War Army cheer. It’s forever ingrained in my Princeton experience, not just from four years on campus but through countless reunions and sporting events, in which a locomotive signals a job well done, a sign of respect, and conveys a thank-you for the phrase coined by Woodrow Wilson, “Princeton in the Nation’s Service.”
Here’s a big locomotive for Michelle Kwan, who withdrew from the Olympics today. She proved that you don’t need a gold medal to be a champion. She demonstrated that you can participate in a sport you love and respect without it being the sole thing that defines you, and without the media’s insistence that you further define the sport. She was eloquent in her speech but more elegant in her deeds.
Having suffered through a torn groin I can vouch that it is excruciatingly painful. Walking hurts. Stairs are torture. I can’t imagine skating or jumping. Muscle tears are accidents, they’re emotionally painful, and they have ended more than a few hockey players’ careers. This likely ends Michelle Kwan’s Olympic career, and she’ll depart without a gold medal.
But go to your local rink early on a Sunday morning, and watch the young skaters, and ask them about their idols and heroines. You’ll hear Michelle Kwan’s name emerge as a cheer. The Olympics are about pagaentry, and human drama, and tradition. Today the human element rose above the others – but the tradition, once started, lives far longer than the memory of medals and podiums.
You read it here first, people.
Michelle Kwan might punt on the Olympics. After she arrived Torino. After she marched in the opening ceremony and got way too much TV attention (hello, NBC, how about the women’s ice hockey team?)
Here’s a suggestion for Michelle: Set an example for all of the young skaters who worship you and hang up the skates before you get hurt (physically or mentally) on national TV. You’ve won Olympic medals – is the possibility of adding a gold medal enough to tarnish your career?
I’m pumped for the Winter Olympics. 1980’s “Miracle on Ice” stimulated my late-blooming rebellion into a hockey player, and getting to see some of our favorite NHL players don the national jerseys for two weeks in February is more fun than the traditional All-Star break.
Here’s a prediction: Watch the Czech team. With Patrik Elias replacing the slightly broken Petr Prucha, and Tomas Vokoun in net, the Czech team will be stingy on defense and lightning fast on offense. Sure, I’m cheering for the United States, and will be watching the Canadians with one eye, but this promises to be a fun competition to watch. The US could use Jamie Langenbrunner up front, as he’s faster and a better shot than some of the guys wearing the stars and stripes, but Jamie has only turned up the scoring heat in the last few weeks.
Jamie’s omission doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the inclusion of Michelle Kwan on the women’s figure skating slate. Kwan didn’t compete at nationals to earn her spot, precluding one of our up and coming skaters from getting Olympic experience. Sorry, but I think Michelle is injury-prone and not nearly as exciting to watch as some of the skaters who gave their all in St. Louis. Take a page from Steve Yzerman’s book and excuse yourself in the best interests of representing your country. Hollywood loves to portray hockey players as being tempered by figure skaters (Cutting Edge and Ice Castles leap to mind), but the puckheads have put the logo in front ahead of the name on the back this year.
I spend approximately 70 nights a year away from home. Part of my travel koan is to eat a good breakfast, because lunch often reduces to Altoids mints and a Starbucks coffee. I have become a self-proclaimed connoisseur of french toast, a veritable gourmand du pain frite, which is appropriate no matter how bad your Francophone accent.
So based on nothing more than my personal recollection of taste, texture and desire to eat several hectares worth of the stuff, here are my Global Toast ratings:
Cinnamon Bun French Toast, Ko’Sin restaurant, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass hotel, Phoenix, Arizona. It’s so good I woke up at 5:30 am to enjoy it even though I knew there was a free breakfast coming up the same day. It is precisely what it sounds like, topped with prickly pear butter. In terms of caloric content, cholesterol and other bad stuff, it’s the french toast equivalent of uranium. But worth it.
Vanilla Bean French Toast, Black Bear restaurant, Lake Placid, New York. Yes, it’s worth the four hour drive from New York City. Well, maybe not in the snow, but if you do venture up there before the annual melt (in April) buy a dozen or so servings to go in case you get stuck on the way home. Or not. It’s that good. Supposedly the vanilla bean and cinnamon bread used as the base comes from a local bakery that has some unique intellectual property in the bakery biz. You can enjoy your breakfast, walk across the street and see where Miracle took place. (NB: The Black Bear has since closed, and is now part of the Chair Six chain, I think the original chef is at Michael’s restuarant in the hotel just down the street from the Golden Arrow –HS 28 Jan 2010)
Thick-sliced French Toast, Ritz Diner, Livingston, New Jersey. I’m slightly biased, because the Ritz has the home field advantage. They make an amazing challah bread, enhanced even more after being egged on and fried to give it that uniquely Jersey diner look & feel. Yes, it’s the blue/green diner where parts of the Sopranos fifth season were filmed. Start your day with high-density carbs and a “How you doin?”.
French Toast, House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada. The best-kept secret for hangover-less breakfast in Sin City. And it hasn’t been touched by that guy who just handled $65 in nickels at the slot machine before getting in the buffet line.