OGDB6: WAR

Jason Gregor
February 24 2010 12:04PM

The playoffs are here, and while most of us were hoping to meet Russia for the gold medal, meeting them in the quarter-final won’t lessen the intensity, excitement or nervousness.

I don’t think last night’s victory over Germany will have much of an impact on tonight’s game, except maybe for Rick Nash now that he has finally scored an Olympic goal. These two teams wanted to play each other and tonight we will have the pleasure of watching what could be the game of the tournament.

It starts with Crosby v. Ovechkin

While these two have a healthy respect for one another, they aren’t friends away from the game. I think it’s great that these two are so competitive that they just can’t be friends. It irks me to no end when I see the great players laughing, smiling and joking around with each other prior to a game.

Crosby and Ovechkin didn’t even joke around with each other when they played for the East in the all-star game. So you know that both of them will be ready for tonight, but with so many stars on the ice I don’t see these two dominating the game like they did when Washington and Pittsburgh battled three weeks ago and they combined for five goals.

Both of them will be a factor, but I think it will come down to who has the best supporting cast. Eric Staal looked great last night alongside Crosby , while Ovechkin has Evgeni Malkin. Toss in Jarome Iginla and Alex Semin and the some would say they are equal, but Iginla has five goals in the tourney—granted they came against Norway and Germany —while Semin doesn’t have a goal yet.

The San Jose trio looked decent again last night, but I’m still skeptical that Joe Thornton can elevate his emotion in a big game. His skill set has never been the problem; it is the emotional part of his game that has let him down. Ilya Kovalchuk doesn’t have a point since the first game of the tourney when the Russians crushed Latvia 8-2. In fact you could argue that the KHL forwards, Danis Zaripov, Sergei Zinovyev and Alexei Morozov have been a better supporting cast to date than the Kovalchuk, Datsyuk connection.

The Russians definitely have some scary fire power, but if Kovalchuk and Datsyuk aren’t a factor tonight I don’t see them winning. Canada has a big advantage on the back end. Andrei Markov, Sergei Gonchar, Fedor Tyutin, Anton Volchenkov and Denis Grebeshkov don’t match up to Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, Scott Niedermayer and Dan Boyle. And while the Human Rake has struggled, I’d still take him and Brent Seabrook over the three KHL D-men, Dmitri Kalinin, Ilya Nikulin and Konstantin Korneev.

It is fair to wonder if Roberto Luongo can win the pressure game, but Evgeni Nabokov has only taken the Sharks to the third round of the playoffs once so is he that much more proven?

INTANGIBLES

If this was a seven game series I’d confidently pick Canada in six, but in a one game scenario it is much harder to call. One bad goal, bad penalty, bad pinch, missed open net or a lucky or unlucky break can be the difference. Canada clearly has the crowd advantage and I think that will be the deciding factor. Canada Place will be bedlam tonight, and unless Russia gets off to an early lead I think the crowd can energize Canada throughout the game.

KEYS TO THE GAME

The five things that need to happen for Canada to win:

1. The San Jose trio has to be a factor. Thornton and Patrick Marleau need to be emotionally invested in the game. Use their size to wear down the defence.

2. The energy line of Mike Richards, Brendan Morrow and Jonathon Toews need to by physical early. Be momentum changers with hits and a good cycle down low.

3. Roberto Luongo needs to be steady, not spectacular. Don’t give up a weak goal.

4. Drew Doughty continues to play like he is a ten-year veteran. The kid’s maturity and poise has been unbelievable.

5. If Joannie Rochette gives the pre-game speech. They should show her routine from last night to the players. It was inspirational to see her perform so well, and set a career high in scoring only three days after her mother passed away. If that doesn’t motivate the boys to win, nothing will.

Five things that need to happen for Russia to win:

1. Luongo forgets to sharpen his skates and can’t stand up in the crease.

2. It doesn’t matter, because they won’t win.

3. This is our game, in our country and we will end our eight game losing streak v. Russia at the Olympics TONIGHT.

4. It doesn’t matter, because they won’t win.

5. They lace our water bottles with Vodka.

THIS WILL BE ONE HELL OF A GAME

Paint your face, cheer your ASS off and around 8:10 MST you can relax in your chair after Canada scores an empty net goal to cement the victory. I’m calling 5-3 Canada with an empty netter, in what will be an electrifying hockey game. The rollercoaster of emotions will make this game even better. I suspect you will be filled with joy, pain, fear and elation throughout the game.

We will see Sweden on Friday.

BELIEVE IT.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Banger
February 24 2010, 12:11PM
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Amen

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#2 OilFan
February 24 2010, 12:16PM
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X2

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#3 danjo1
February 24 2010, 12:24PM
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The reason I think Canada will win this game in particular: Mike Richards. He has a long history with Ovechkin and I hope he'll get under Ovi's skin enough that he won't have his mind on scoring.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCBxLSg0U9Y

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#4 Nesquik
February 24 2010, 12:25PM
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Is Zinovyev playing? He left against the Czechs. If not they only have 11 forwards. 3-1 Canada!

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#5 SirFozz
February 24 2010, 12:41PM
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danjo1 wrote:

The reason I think Canada will win this game in particular: Mike Richards. He has a long history with Ovechkin and I hope he'll get under Ovi's skin enough that he won't have his mind on scoring.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCBxLSg0U9Y

I didn't think I could get anymore pumped for tonight's game...then I watched this. Awesome. Hurry up day.

GOCANADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#6 Lofty
February 24 2010, 12:43PM
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The Russian D is definetly a liability. If Luongo plays half decent I bet Canada wins by 3...

7-4, Getzlaf with a hatty

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#7 Tracie
February 24 2010, 12:43PM
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GO CANADA!!! GO SWITZERLAND!!!!

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#8 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 24 2010, 12:45PM
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People keep talking about how daunting the game against the Russians is, and asking whether the Canadians can calm their nerves enough to pull out a win...

Nobody's really mentioning the fact that the Russians have to be sh!tting bricks too. How unlucky do you have to be to draw Canada in the quarters? Yikes!

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#9 JRyanMac
February 24 2010, 12:47PM
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Five things that need to happen for Russia to win:

1. Luongo forgets to sharpen his skates and can’t stand up in the crease.

2. It doesn’t matter, because they won’t win.

3. This is our game, in our country and we will end our eight game losing streak v. Russia at the Olympics TONIGHT.

4. It doesn’t matter, because they won’t win.

- This pumped me up so much my head just exploded. LETS DOOOOOOOOOO THISSS!!!!

Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to quote Gregor's article..

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#10 Tracie
February 24 2010, 12:50PM
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@ Ogden Kings 'n' Pretty Things

CTV actually has an article about the Russians.

http://www.ctvolympics.ca/hockey/news/newsid=51024.html#russia+grapples+with+anxiety+before+game

They won't talk to the media at all!

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#11 Banger
February 24 2010, 12:52PM
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Quick does anyone know if the games are on Sirus? I have to head out of town friday after after work right when the semi final game will be starting. And for the reasons why i am planning for the semi final game. See Gregor's article above.

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#12 RossCreekNation
February 24 2010, 12:53PM
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As per DarrenDreger...

Nash with Toews and Richards tonight. Head to head with OV and company.
Morrow will play with Getzlaf and Perry.

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#13 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 24 2010, 12:54PM
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Tracie wrote:

@ Ogden Kings 'n' Pretty Things

CTV actually has an article about the Russians.

http://www.ctvolympics.ca/hockey/news/newsid=51024.html#russia+grapples+with+anxiety+before+game

They won't talk to the media at all!

There we go! I don't blame them for being scared. Canada's going to be playing with desperation to claw their way back in it, and this could end the Russian medal bid. Gregor's exactly right when he says that this could be the best game of the tournament.

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#14 danjo1
February 24 2010, 12:58PM
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@RossCreekNation

err... I'm getting unusually excited about this.

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#15 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
February 24 2010, 01:02PM
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Couple lineup changes.

Nash to play with Toews and Richards. Morrow with Getzlaf and Perry.

Story seems to be about Crosby vs. Ovechkin, but how about the Sharks line vs. Nabokov?

Should be a dandy, hopefully we take the early lead and we don't have to fight our way back.

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#16 HottScarrison
February 24 2010, 01:03PM
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I got butterflies already....in a good way. Truly epic battle on our way. Time will stand still is this country @ 530mst. Hate to say it but we need Luongo to have a coming out party of sorts.

On a side note....is anyone else cheering for the swiss against...i know I am.

ps. Ashleigh Macivor is HOT!!! she snuck in under the radar.

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#17 Archaeologuy
February 24 2010, 01:05PM
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DRAGOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

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#18 RossCreekNation
February 24 2010, 01:05PM
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THIS game will tell us every thing we need to know about Joe Thornton. As a long-time follower of both the Bruins & Sharks, I have loved & hated Thornton at times. I have some big-time questions when it comes to Joe, but every time I get upset with him, he does an awesome interview that just makes you forget everything that makes you mad at him. He really seems like a great guy. I'm pulling for Joe BIGG TIME tonight. Make me a believer Joe! DAMN YOU! MAKE ME A BELIEVER!!

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#19 rubbertrout
February 24 2010, 01:08PM
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I wouldn't have expected this but I just got the chills reading that article. I'm so pumped for tonight I can hardly stand it. It is sad that one of these two teams will be out of contention and will go home with nothing.

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#20 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
February 24 2010, 01:09PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

THIS game will tell us every thing we need to know about Joe Thornton. As a long-time follower of both the Bruins & Sharks, I have loved & hated Thornton at times. I have some big-time questions when it comes to Joe, but every time I get upset with him, he does an awesome interview that just makes you forget everything that makes you mad at him. He really seems like a great guy. I'm pulling for Joe BIGG TIME tonight. Make me a believer Joe! DAMN YOU! MAKE ME A BELIEVER!!

What is it really going to tell us? He isn't even close to being the go to guy on this team. Be nice to see him step up in an important game, but I think it's different not being relied upon as much at the Olympics as he is for San Jose.

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#21 rubbertrout
February 24 2010, 01:10PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

DRAGOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I'm trying to picture Ovie standing face to face with Crosby saying "I must break you"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRtN7ZqD0bU

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#22 Tracie
February 24 2010, 01:18PM
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MAN!!! I'm so nervous and excited!!! I can't believe I have to listen to the first part of the game on Fan960 b/c no Edmonton stations are carrying the game!

I think this is as good a reason as any to leave work early!

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#24 RossCreekNation
February 24 2010, 01:19PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

It's going to tell us if he can elevate his game in the biggest game of his life. It doesn't mattter how much they rely upon him. Step up! Fernando Pisani did it for the Oil many moons ago. Do you think the Oil were relying on that to happen? No, he stepped up. Anyone on this team has a chance to be a hero tonight. As long as they win, I don't care who it is. But if Joe can't show up for this game (seriously, has a played in a bigger game?), then I quit Thornton.

Like I said, I like Joe and I think he can do it. But I've thought that before and was wrong. Of course, if he isn't the hero it won't reflect bad upon him. BUT, if he is invisible & heartless tonight, I will never, EEEEEEEEVER forgive him. And I don't think Hockey Canada will either (although I guess he'll be 34 next time around).

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#26 RossCreekNation
February 24 2010, 01:23PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

And one question for all those cheering for the Swiss? Why? It will be way better to kick USA's ass in the Gold medal game. That would be better than having them lose to the Swiss.

Beating the Fins of Czechs in the final won't be as satisfying as kicking the hell out of those inbred Americans...

xINFINTY

And besides, wouldn't everyone like to see TLP get some 'comeuppance' at OUR hands?

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#27 HottScarrison
February 24 2010, 01:26PM
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@Jason Gregor

I must have missed her. When she walked out at the medal ceremony I stopped dead in my tracks. The old lady wasn't too impressed.

It would be incredible to face and beat the yanks again for the gold but I find it hard to cheer for any team that has that effin Kesler on it. IMHO. The swiss have some jump so far, very good game to watch...could go either way.

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#28 Chaz
February 24 2010, 01:27PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

I'm trying to picture Ovie standing face to face with Crosby saying "I must break you"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRtN7ZqD0bU

I'm imagining Sid the Kid sporting a full beard and sprinting up the side of a mountain in Siberia, while Ovechkin gets a shot full of steroids from a Russian scientist...

The fun fact of this ramble and why it matters?....The fight scene in Rocky IV against Drago was actually filmed in downtown Vancouver.

Advantage....Canada!!

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#29 Ambassador humantorch
February 24 2010, 01:28PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

And one question for all those cheering for the Swiss? Why? It will be way better to kick USA's ass in the Gold medal game. That would be better than having them lose to the Swiss.

Beating the Fins of Czechs in the final won't be as satisfying as kicking the hell out of those inbred Americans...

If we play the US in the final and beat them, someone on the right side of the ocean needs to drive down to whatever backwater Arkansas or wherever town TLP parks his trailer in and ram a fistful of maple leaves down his throat.

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#30 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
February 24 2010, 01:29PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

And one question for all those cheering for the Swiss? Why? It will be way better to kick USA's ass in the Gold medal game. That would be better than having them lose to the Swiss.

Beating the Fins of Czechs in the final won't be as satisfying as kicking the hell out of those inbred Americans...

I sure hope we don't lose to those inbreds.

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#31 Dyckster
February 24 2010, 01:34PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I sure hope we don't lose to those inbreds.

What do Americans do on Halloween.....They Pump Kin!

Get it?

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#32 FS
February 24 2010, 01:35PM
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OMG, I'm so jacked for this game!!! go Canada go!!!

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#33 RossCreekNation
February 24 2010, 01:35PM
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Ambassador humantorch wrote:

If we play the US in the final and beat them, someone on the right side of the ocean needs to drive down to whatever backwater Arkansas or wherever town TLP parks his trailer in and ram a fistful of maple leaves down his throat.

*Boston/Boston area*

I didn't tell you.

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#34 BUCK75
February 24 2010, 01:36PM
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I'm so hoping Grebeshkov tries a few of those fancy passes he has pulled in Edmonton the last few years.

I hope Richards can get into Ovechkin's kitchen as well. We haven't seen a Canadian guy throw a really big hit, well besides Rick Nash I guess.

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#35 rubbertrout
February 24 2010, 01:37PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

And one question for all those cheering for the Swiss? Why? It will be way better to kick USA's ass in the Gold medal game. That would be better than having them lose to the Swiss.

Beating the Fins of Czechs in the final won't be as satisfying as kicking the hell out of those inbred Americans...

X infinity

Even though we were all happy with the end result in 2002 wouldn't it have been nicer to beat Sweden instead of Belarus? It did signal the beginning of the end for Salo which was also depressing from an Oiler standpoint.

If Canada makes it through the Olympics by taking the hard road and thrashing all comers would make an Olympic gold all the more sweet.

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#36 danjo1
February 24 2010, 01:39PM
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@Jason Gregor

Sorry man, but I have to disagree... the sooner they're out, the better. Plus, no medal for them either.

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#37 Tracie
February 24 2010, 01:39PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

And one question for all those cheering for the Swiss? Why? It will be way better to kick USA's ass in the Gold medal game. That would be better than having them lose to the Swiss.

Beating the Fins of Czechs in the final won't be as satisfying as kicking the hell out of those inbred Americans...

Although I would love to see Canada kick USA's butt again in a game that matters, I don't know if I can handle another post by TLP!!! It would be epic if we beat them for Gold, but it would also be just as horrible if we lost and they won gold...I would be excited and nervous just like I am today if we meet them in the final, but I would also be fine if the States were taken care of by someone else and they finished out of the medals in hockey after finishing first in the preliminary!

But I agree, Canada vs USA in the final would be EPIC!!!

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#38 cambosmash
February 24 2010, 02:06PM
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@Tracie

All the games have been playing on an FM station called World FM. Peter Maher has been doing the games with John Garret so it's been pretty solid. It's 101.7FM in Edmonton for anyone that can't get to a TV.

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#39 The Towel Boy
February 24 2010, 02:12PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

And one question for all those cheering for the Swiss? Why? It will be way better to kick USA's ass in the Gold medal game. That would be better than having them lose to the Swiss.

Beating the Fins of Czechs in the final won't be as satisfying as kicking the hell out of those inbred Americans...

That would be a glorious match up for the Gold medal game. A helluva way to win. I agree that much.

But the level of suck that we would be subject to if Canada was to lose to the US in the gold medal game would be so much worse.

It'd be like having your team make an improbable cinderella run to the Stanley Cup final and having your team take the series to a 7th and deciding game only to come up short and lose. That kind of suck.

*tearfully remembers 06 cup run*

I just can't stand losing to the USA. Plain and simple. I think my distaste for losing to them outweighs my pleasure in beating them. I'd rather not take that chance.

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#40 Chaz
February 24 2010, 02:27PM
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By the way, what's up with the lack of a hilarious photo with this article? I'm thinking Ovie's head photo-shopped onto Johnny Wier's body, maybe Sid the Kid as Rocky punching out Vladimir Putin, or maybe Stevie Y karate-chopping Siberia in half. Who let the Photo-shop license lapse?.....

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#41 danjo1
February 24 2010, 02:27PM
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@The Towel Boy

agreed

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#42 Tracie
February 24 2010, 02:42PM
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cambosmash wrote:

All the games have been playing on an FM station called World FM. Peter Maher has been doing the games with John Garret so it's been pretty solid. It's 101.7FM in Edmonton for anyone that can't get to a TV.

YOU ARE MY FRICKIN HERO!!!! Thank you so much! it'll be great to listen to the games without static!!! Wow! Thanks so much!

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#43 DoubleJ
February 24 2010, 03:00PM
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They need to trade perry and Heatley. Heatley is a stud and he needs to play with guys who show up. Either that or replace Thornton with Toews. I still don't understand how Perry and Bergeron made this team. St.Louis and Brad Richards spots if you ask me. If they are not going to play Seabrook why have him on the team? Green should be on this team as well. But what ever. Lets hope for the best.

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#44 Tracie
February 24 2010, 03:29PM
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The USA wins 2-0 against the Swiss and plays either Finaldn or the Czech Republic in the Semis...

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#45 Damien
February 24 2010, 03:33PM
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I agree, doesn't matter because they won't win.

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#46 Milli
February 24 2010, 03:59PM
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Oh man, I can't wait for this one to get underway!!!! Lets get er done BOYS!!!!!!

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#47 LBH
February 24 2010, 04:02PM
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any word on the ethical issue yet Gregor?

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#48 Nate Full of Hate
February 24 2010, 04:14PM
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Canada 2-0

No pinching tonight!

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#49 jake
February 24 2010, 04:22PM
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I would rather see the US not make the gold medal game, no higher than 4th please.

Should be a dandy tonite.

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#50 PattQuinn'sChesthair
February 24 2010, 04:59PM
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Here's a laugh from eklund (please, no death theats)

On the Montreal/Edmonton/Dallas...

To Montreal: Cogliano, Brunnstrom, Smid and Dallas #2 2010, #1 2011. To Dallas: Grebeshkov, Horcoff, another prospect player from Edmonton and Montreal's 3 in 2010. To Edmonton: Price. Richards, a Habs Prospect, a Stars #2 next season.

If I'm Tambi, I would stepover my stroking grandma to do this deal (only if the Rehab goes into retirement and his salary is magically erased.) If I'm the owner in Dallas I pay a hit man to end Joe Nieuwendyk's life. And the Hab's come out smelling pretty good.

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