Brodeur saves the day
Quick take on Team Canada and you can read plenty of painful analysis online. In both games this team looks incredibly slow (Chris Pronger, would you mind not conserving your energy to play 30 mins and play a little more like a balls-to-the-wall Bobby Orr?).
Being there live at the Swiss game, you notice both Jonathan Toews and Eric Staal trying to beat defensemen on the outside and getting easily manhadled by the Swiss defensemen. It's also well and good to have a big center like Ryan Getzlaf but is he still injured?
To top it off it now looks that despite getting 40+ shots mostly in close on Jonas Hiller this team lacks finish. Where are the guys who can fire laser beams and shoot from anywhere? It also lacks a guy who can actually get his shot through on the powerplay (can you say "Mike Green"?).
Why exactly is Brendan Morrow on this team? I get you need grit but he looks small and easily pushed off the puck...and his skill level seems to be on a par with a Jim Sandlak.
Of course, a win against the USA and all is right with the world until they play a European team with a high level of skill and the flaws maybe will outweigh the Crosby. Plus who doesn't expect Team Canada to give us all fits? They did in 2002. They did even in the 1987 Canada Cup Final (the OT Game 2 when the Gretzky Marios stood on the verge of elimnation). They did in 1984 (thank you, John Tonelli!) and they certainly did in 1972.
In Canada Hockey Place they have stands and the Canuck shop is now all international gear. There are T-shirts of almost every Team Canada player, but choose wisely. You don't want to be stuck with the #44 Bertuzzi like so many were in '06. Prices are high but, if you need that Slovakia cap, get it now or forever be kicking yourself years from now.
Big ScreensWhere are they? Unlike, say, soccer's World Cup Finals where they have this down to a science, it's a challenge to find a viewing area with a big TV screen. Sure they have them in the LiveCities and pricey Molson Hockey House and some of the "Houses," but most involve lining up for awhile. If you're out and about downtown your best bet is the local bars and restaurants or my couch.
Korea HouseLocated on 2F of the Hyatt Hotel on Burrard near Georgia. Brutal. Went there one day right at 5 pm hoping to see the short track speed skating with a bunch of crazy South Korean fans. Uh, not so much. They don't even show the Olympics on their fancy high-tech screens there. A total joke.
The big Korean screen of nothing
The big Korean screen of nothing
Canada LineByron and Deanna report they saw Richard Zednik heading to the Olympic Village so maybe it's worth hanging out at the Olympic Village stop on the Canada Line if you want to do some athlete spotting or autograph hunting.
Also, for all the fuss over using Britannia Rink the anti-Olympic activists raised the impact has been so inobtrusive it's almost unnoticeable. You can still access the community centre and library the same as usual. In fact, if you aren't even looking, you'd miss the security guard at his post off the side lane.
Also, other East Van rinks at Trout Lake and Killarney are being used by the short-track speed skaters and possibly the figure skaters.
Granville Street Art
"That worked out okay. No crowds compared to the zoo downtown. We went tonight before it started to rain. The girls had fun in the circus tent and in the activity centre tent chasing the green lights. You know the whole parking issue is kind of a joke. We parked at Lansdowne Mall where there is always lots of free parking - mall is open until 9:00pm during the Olympics and with lots of restaurants tied into the mall, they have no idea if you are a customer or park-riding. We spent some time in the mall before we took the Canada Line to the O Zone and then the bus back."
Canada Hockey Place Security UpdateOK, figured out the whole Carrall St. deal. This is in reference to the majority who are coming via Skytrain. If your tickets says Gate 7 or 8, you go to the far end security gates of Carrall St. closer to False Creek. Any other gate you go through the first security gate you see on Carrall St. as you come in.
Post-game after either early games, those of you Gate 7 or 8 people can only really get out the same side you came in, but you can walk either way towards Yaletown or Chinatown. You do have to do the up-and-over again across that temporary pedestrian bridge, but they let you on the road the team/VIP buses sit on.
Greyhound bus. After 6 pm anyone (repeat, anyone!) can drive up there. Go up at night and experience the scene and drive back anytime you want as southbound traffic has no restrictions 24/7. If you can't find accommodation, this from Franz, an Austrian tourist I met at the O Zone who just updated me from Whistler, rough it and sleep in the car overnight or stay up all night and party like you're feeling like you're almost 16 again. I'm not saying you should do that, but I've done crazier things and seven layers of comforters can do wonders in a backseat.
Robson SquareYes, there are the yahoos, but overall it's a happy buzz without an overwhelming hordes of idiots.
Zip it good
Zip it good
There is a laser light show mixed with fireworks every night at 9:30 pm and 11 pm.
During the day the mascots put on a skate show at 1, 3 and 6 pm. Take the kids. Guaranteed fun!
Plus the beauty of Robson Square is, you just show up. No need to line up and waste hours doing that.
The Zip Line, though, is well worth the however many hours' wait. A thrill and a half!
The Bay's Olympic SuperstoreHiromi spent an hour in line just to get in only to find what she wanted (a scarf and a jacket) sold out. Hey, some of us shopped there months ago. Anyway, go to any other Bay or Zellers in town and Shoppers Drug Mart has plenty of the mascot goods. Just look around elsewhere, folks, and you'll find stuff. I even saw mascots for sale in Granville Island shop windows.
Also, I found out a way to skip the line entirely and I'm probably revealing too much. Go into the Bay up to any floor. Take the east elevator down to the first floor. Doors open and you're smack dab in the middle of the Superstore. No one was "guarding" the elevator the day we showed up so I have no clue why anyone lined up at all.
Plus on the 5th floor they had a ton of other teams' hockey gear, previous Winter Olympic hoodies and tees as well as a Team Russia meets Sochi 2014 store.
Venue Ticket BoothsAlthough all events are "sold out," veterans of these big events know that's not true. Yet who wants to pay scalper prices and you don't. Go to the venue and wait. Franz, reporting in again, went to the Richmond Oval on a whim. Thirty minutes prior to the start of that day's races, they were told by the person at the box office that no tickets were available but to wait. Five minutes after the scheduled 1:00 pm start, tickets at face value were to be had from the box office.
Cambie St. BridgeAlways open to foot traffic, walk across the east side of the bridge and get a clean shot at the Olympic Vilalge and snap a pic of the Aussie boxing kangaroo banner and the various nation's flags hanging from the room balconies. Walk back along the west side and you have a great shot of the pontoon blockade and police boats guarding False Creek as well as a fantastic panorama of the Pacific Ocean out in front of you. (Why I don't have a pic of this? Uh, the batteries died that day...later on that one, but thought I'd get that info out there now.)