Thursday, 20 February 2014

Hockey Wesnesday in Russia!

And it really was the Russian version of Hockey night in Canada as I was seating just 50 m away from Don Cherry and Ron McLean for the Canada game!
On Monday, I tried to buy tickets for the Finland-Russia but it was obviously sold-out. I still gave it a try as I wanted a single ticket and they are always easier to get. Unfortunately not this time. As the first game of the day was featuring Sweden, aka Tre Kronor, home country of several Canucks players, it was an easy decision to pick up a ticket for that game instead!
Sweden has easily gone through their group and earned a direct spot to the 1/4 finals (along with the USA, Canada and Finland).
They were playing against surprise Slovenia who had gone through the exploit of eliminating (Los Angeles Kings Anze Kopitar's) Slovakia!!
I was seating twenty rows from the ice where Latvia shot twice. Translation of that hockey lingo was that I had good seats to see King Henrik do what he's the best at!
The first period was even and Slovenia was giving Tre Kronor a run for their money. Sweden dominated and went on winning 5-0.
The game quickly went back to reality in the second I was seating twenty rows from the ice where Latvia shot twice.
Canucks Daniel Sedin scored a goal (his first of 2014!!) and New York Rangers Carl Hagelin scored two.
Sitting close by to me was a Canadian. Poor lad missed the second goal and came back asking who scored. Always happy to help I answered "Daniel Sedin" which was met by a "ahahah the Sedins sisters!" Gggggrrr. Only took a split second to answer him back "we are so not going to be friends". Upon more questioning, he appeared to be from Calgary. It all made sense!!
Anyway, I did not stopped there and went on asking him how many Flames were playing in the Olympics. I knew the answer but just wanted to remind him that his NHL team SUCKS! Ahah! His answer "nobody but almost" yes, almost like you almost never make the playoffs!!!
Anyway, we both agreed we would be on the same side in the evening!
After the game, I met with Luke and we went to see the Russia Fans House were there was a display of all sports and Russian athletes and a talk with former soviet gymnasts. It was interesting and the highlight was finally finding a ticket holder for my Olympics tickets! Hihi!
I then headed to the medal plaza to watch the end of Finland-Russia which was already 3-1 in favour of the Finns. With 8 min left there was nothing Russia was able to do to come back. What a desolating spectacle the medal plaza was.
How did Russia get eliminated with so much talent? Malkin, Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk and co? With it we were getting deprived of a much anticipated Canada-Russia final 😞
Since I had a couple of hours to kill before the game, I decided to stay for the medal ceremony. Which did not start at 19h has announced but at 20h14!!! In the meantime I had to put with some kind of Russian Idol singer (Mitya Formin I believe). Well let's just say that I might not be his biggest fan!!!
The torch fountains were then lit up with a sound show. Quite pretty for the part I saw. People in the crowds had no respect for each other and it was very hard to see anything, let alone move....
Time came for the first ceremony, and with luck it was for the Slalom Giant Women I attended on Tuesday!!
I'm not liking this day after medal ceremony. It takes all the momentum and emotions away and the true fans who went to events don't get to witness the medal ceremony... This just scream money making so people will buy tickets to the ceremony.
I then headed for the big deal of the day, Team Canada 1/4 final. For this one I was up in the nosebleeds, but nosebleeds at the Bolchoy Dome are about first rows at Rogers Arena (for the connoisseurs!). Latvia was on the plan after surprisingly defeating Switzerland the day before in the qualification game.
I was sitting next to a Canadian from Newfoundland, and I knew they had a strong accent there, but nothing prepared me for this! I had to ask him to repeat everything - never had a clue what he was saying!
He was the surprised one when he did not know who 22 was and I had to tell him it was Jamie Benn, of the Dallas Stars. He greeted me with a "oh- you know your hockey!" Ahah, coming from a Canadian I took it as a compliment!
The game itself was much different from an NHL paced game I am used to, as the ice is bigger and the luck kept rolling. Latvia was on, and their goaltender put on a master lass stopping 53 of the 55 pucks directed at him.
Sharp opened the score in the first period but the joy was short lived as Latvia scored shortly after. The second period went scoreless and palpitations and sweat were starting to be seen in the arena in the third. Could there be a second upset that day?
Thankfully, the Canadian powerplay and a bomb by (BC born) Shea Weber released the pressure with 7 min left.
Around 3 min left, my Newfie neighbour was screaming victory, but I, the Canucks fan, told him that nothing is done until it's over! I still have nightmares of Toews scoring on the Canucks Game 7 with 20 sec left in the game!
Speaking of Mr Toews, he is the player that I noticed the most in the game. He's just a defensive monster!
I was soooo happy to be able to attend the Canada game, just made me realise even more how much I miss watching live hockey! Fingers crossed for the rest of the tournament!

Couple more pics:
Don Cherry's wonderful jacket (as usual)

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