Saturday, March 1, 2014

So Long Sochi Sports Chowdah Update- Finn-ishing Strong, Sweden Shut Out By Team Canada as Suomi Bests USA for Bronze; Derek Jeter to Call it a Career

WINTER OLYMPICS- The 2014 Winter Olympiad at Sochi has come to an end, and despite the torrid start, Team USA's men's hockey team had no medal to show for it.

The much anticipated USA-Canada hockey game ended with Canada advancing to face Sweden in the gold medal game thanks to a goal from winger Jamie Benn. Despite Jonathan Quick turning aside 36 shots, Team Canada would go on to shut out the USA 1-0. This set up a USA vs Finland matchup in the bronze medal consolation game....which actually went much worse for the USA than the semifinal against Canada.

Tukka Rask turned aside all 27 shots he faced while veteran NHLer and Olympian Teemu Selanne had two goals in what was his final Olympic game as Finland cruised to the bronze medal with a 5-0 shutout of the USA. After beating the Czech Republic and Russia, the USA men's hockey team limped into a disappointing 4th place finish, losing their final two games by a combined 6-0.

Canada, on the other hand, hardly missed a beat and picked up where they left off against Sweden in the gold medal game. Canada got on the board thanks to a Johnathan Toews tally before Sweden netminder Hendrik Lunqvist gave up a one-on-one breakaway shot from Canada's Sidney Crosby to make it a 2-0 game. Team Canada's Chris Kunitz would score in the 3rd to make it a 3-0 game and put things out of reach for the Swedes.

Not only does the win over Sweden give Canada their second consecutive hockey gold medal for the second consecutive Olympiad, Team Canada swept the hockey gold with the women's come-from-behind OT win against Team USA in the gold medal game.

As the game concluded, both the NHL and IOC will deliberate over whether or not the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea will use players for the NHL. Once again, with the Winter Olympiad taking place a hemisphere away, the NHL would need to once again suspend its schedule for several weeks to accommodate players from the league to represent their respective nations in the Olympics. Prior to the Sochi Olympics, there had been talk circulating that this could be the final Olympics to feature professional hockey players.

OTHER OLYMPICS NEWS- South Korean figure skater Kim Yu Na announced that the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics would be the end of her competitive career.

Yu Na, who gained notoriety with a James Bond-inspired routine during the 2010 Vancouver garnered a gold medal for her performance. South Korean Olympic officials were hoping that Yu Na would continue skating and compete in the 2018 Winter Olympiad in Pyeongchang, essentially becoming the face of the host nation- plus she could automatically qualify as a representative of the host country in 2018.

In Sochi, Yu Na finished second to Russian skater Adelina Sotnikova, garnering the silver medal while Italy's Carolina Kostner won the bronze.

OLYMPIC MEDAL COUNT- Host nation Russia won the overall medal count- altho Gateway Pundit helpfully points out that US and South Korean 'ringers' in snowboarding and short track speed skating accounted for five of Russia's thirteen gold medals. The Russians also had 11 silver and nine bronze medals for Sochi. Like the men's hockey team, the USA came in a disappointing 4th place with nine gold medals, seven silver and a dozen bronze medals- finishing behind Norway and Canada.

MLB- After nineteen seasons with the Bronx Bombers, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced that the 2014 season would be his final MLB season. The Yankees captain made the announcement via Facebook on February 12th. In November, Jeter and the Yankees had agreed to a 1-year, $12 million contract. During the 2013 season, Jeter played in less than 20 games and had a batting average of less than .200.

Heading into Spring training of his final season, Jeter has a career .312 batting average with 256 homers and 1,261 runs batted in. In addition to five World Series titles, the Yankees shortstop and thirteen time All Star was also named MVP of the 2000 World Series and awarded five golden gloves. In 2009, Jeter surpassed Lou Gerhig's club record for all-time hits. Two years later, Jeter recorded career hit #3000- a home run off of Tampa Bay starter David Price in July 2011.

Heading into the 2014 season, Jeter is the last remaining Yankee player from the team's glory days of the late 1990s. Catcher Jorge Posada retired after the 2011 season while closer Mariano Rivera called it a career after the 2013 season.

RED SOX- The Red Sox and free agent Chris Capuano have agreed to terms on a one year, $2.25 million contract.

The former Dodger and W. Srpingfield, MA native went 4-7 and had an ERA of 4.26 with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. The signing was made shortly starter Ryan Dempster announced to Red Sox management that he would not be playing during the 2014 season.

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