Posted on: March 2, 2010 4:32 pm

Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

By Ina Fried

Thinking about the top sports moments of the Vancouver Games, there are many images that stand out, but a few performances that are etched indelibly in my brain. Two of the five are events on my list were ones got to witness firsthand and two others I covered live, albeit watching on a big screen. Over the coming days, I plan to write about my top non-sports moments of the games, as well as some of the not-so-highlights.

1. The gold medal men's hockey game.

Sure, the U.S. didn't bring home the gold, but this was an incredible game that left an entire nation (and some additional millions in the U.S.) on the edge of their seats.

After finding itself in a 2-0 hole, the U.S. crawled back, finally tying the game with 24 seconds left. More than that, there was tons of end-to-end action and an incredible crowd that extended beyond the walls of Canada Hockey Place and to every cathode ray tube and collection of pixels in Canada. Although I had an incredible vantage point from the Molson Hockey House pavilion, I'm told it was just as great outside, downtown in neighborhood pubs and elsewhere. 

A close game and a great tournament could help the NHL and might also help the league commit to working its schedule around the Olympics in the future. I was also glad to see a team win it in the overtime. From where I sit, gold medals shouldn't be decided in a shootout.

2. The "Night Train" winning bobsled gold.

America hadn't won a gold in bobsled in 62 years, until Steven Holcomb and team sped through the track at Whistler. Turning in four dominating performances, USA-1 led from the first run and continued to grow its lead throughout the two days of competition. 

The track, which Holcomb and others called the fastest and one of the trickiest in the world made for a challenging Olympic venue. Six teams crashed at some point on Day 1 of the competition, but every bobsled that started on Day 2 managed to turn in a clean run, making for an exciting conclusion.

To claim the gold, the Night Train had to pass up some steep competition including a strong Canadian team and retiring German star Andre Lange who was hoping to go out with a bang, adding yet another gold in his already prodigious collection.

And the fact that Holcomb is a big computer geek, well, that just made it even better. As one of my friends said on Facebook, Holcomb gives hope to every pudgy guy willing to wear spandex.

3. The U.S. beating Canada in men's hockey.

This game set the stage for what proved to be an exciting and wide-open tournament with many countries not expected to fare all that well offering steep competition for the highest-ranked teams. In addition to being an entertaining game to watch, the U.S.-Canada game served as a wake-up call for the Canadians and showed the Americans to be serious contenders.

Though Canada outshot the U.S. by a wide margin, American goalie Ryan Miller came up huge, allowing the U.S. to win the game, even if it appeared to be outplayed at times.

4. Women's figure skating, especially Joannie Rochette.

Clearly the emotional story of the games was Canadian Joannie Rochette, just days after the sudden death of her mother, turning in great performances in both the short and free skate to claim the bronze medal.

The women's event also saw the dominating performance of Korean Kim Yu-Na as well as very nice routines from the Japanese and American women, though there wasn't enough room on the podium for all those that skated well.

But, unlike the men's side of things, there was a lot less bickering and backstabbing once the event was over.

5. Canada's comeback in the medals race.

When the games started, Canada's goal to "own the podium," or lead the medals race seemed highly ambitious. By midway through the games, even its backers were conceding defeat. Then a remarkable thing happened.

Canada, which had failed to win a gold medal in either of the two Olympics it had previously hosted, went on a tear. In the end, Canada went on to win more gold medals -- 14 -- than not only any other country at this year's games, but more than any country at any Winter Games ever. Sure, Germany and the U.S. had more total medals, but Canada definitely managed to change Own the Podium back into a statement as opposed to a punch line.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog "
Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried


Posted on: February 24, 2010 8:23 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2010 8:27 pm

Weir speaks out over Canadian commentators

By Ina Fried

Figure skater Johnny Weir said on Wednesday that he was "pissed off" by comments made by Canadian commentators who questioned his gender, but stopped short of calling for a public apology or their ouster.

At a press conference, Weir said that he probably wouldn't go on their show, but said he supported free speech, including theirs.

But he said that their comments were offensive. "I want them to think before they speak," Weir said.

Weir also challenge the content of what the broadcasters had to say, saying that that the notions of masculinity and femininity are "old-fashioned" and said that there exists a new generation of youth that is not defined by their gender or sexuality.

Weir credited his parents for raising him and his brother to be whomever they wanted to be, noting that he and his brother ended up being two very different people.

"I hope more kids can grow up the same way that I did and can feel the freedom I feel," Weir said.

But Weir said he didn't feel a need to be more explicit about his sexuality.

Though most of the press conference focused on the broadcasters comments and questions of gender and sexuality, the talk did briefly turn to skating, including the "quad" controversy over who deserved gold in this year's men's competition.

As a skater who doesn't do a quad in his routine, Weir said he was glad that Evan Lysacek was able to do gold without doing one.

"He deserved what he got."

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried
Posted on: February 24, 2010 4:20 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2010 8:28 pm

Olympic notebook: A kid's first hockey game

By Ina Fried

A child's first hockey game is a right of passage in Canada.

And Thomas Challis, 5, of Coquitlam, got an exceptionally good introduction to big time hockey, landing the chance to go with his dad to Tuesday's matchup between Switzerland and Belarus.

Thomas' Dad, Roger, patiently explained some of the games finer points, such as the difference between linemen and referees (referees call penalties, while linesman generally do not) and why regular players have hard shin pads and goalies have big soft pads (goalies don't want to give up big rebounds that can lead to scoring chances).

But, Thomas got things pretty quick. "The boys bump each other," he says, "but that's a part of hockey."

Challis noted that he's not totally new to hockey, frequently playing in the alley in back of his house as well as some stick and puck play with his dad at the local ice rink.

"I grew up playing hockey," the kindergartner told me.

At figure skating, all eyes on hockey

After each figure skater performed on Tuesday, there was a rush to check on the score.

Of course, wanting to know what the judges thought of the skater would be normal. But that wasn't the score that many people were focused on, at least for the first few skaters. Following each performance, many spectators would look around to find a neighbor with a radio or cell phone that had the latest score from the Canada-Germany hockey game, which was taking on at the same place.

Photo Gallery: Figure skating images

As Canada built a solid lead and in the hockey game and the figure skating performances went on, the attention did eventually shift to what was happening within the building.

By far the crowd's highlight the emotional performance from Joannie Rochette, whose mom died of a heart attack just days before the Olympic competition. Rochette kept her emotions in check--at least until the skate was done. Then she, her coach, and many others at Pacific Coliseum broke down in tears.

Rochette is in third place after the short program, trailing also spectacular performances from Korea's Yu-Na Kim, who is in first after an impressive skate to a James Bond medley and Japan's Mao Asada, who skated her way into second.

Hockey fever hits Wall Street

Passion for Olympic hockey isn't limited to those in Canada, of course. Brokerage Credit Suisse issued a memo, published by the Wall Street Journal, letting its New York employees know that the firm has decided to pipe in Wednesdy's U.S.-Switzerland hockey games to its auditorium. However, it warns the room only seats 225 people and standing won't be allowed. Employees, according to the memo, should try and get a manager's approval before heading out to snag a seat.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 21, 2010 7:06 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2010 12:22 pm

Blogging from Vancouver: USA vs. Canada

By Ina Fried

Editor's Note: Ina has been in Vancouver all week covering the Olympics for CBSSports.com and CNET.com, but tonight she takes on the ultimate task of watching the USA vs. Canada men's hockey match live at the Molson Canadian Hockey House. She will send updates throughout the night:

10 p.m. ET --  The U.S. wins as heads shake and burrows frow at Molson Canadian Hockey House. Also staying upbeat was Roundsky. "The game will go on," she said. "It's a cloud with a golden lining." The host tried to put a good spin on things too. "That's why we have beer," he said, adding, "I still believe. It's a long road, but we'll just have to walk a long road."

9:55 p.m. ET -- And a diving poke into the empty net sticks a knife in the heart of the crowd giving US a 5-3 lead with under 45 seconds left. Ridge, still calm, looks at the bright side. "There's still lots more hockey to be played before the gold medal," Ridge says. With the win, the U.S. will get a bye in the next round but Canada is not out. USA 5, CANADA 3

9:52 p.m. ET -- One of the calmest people is the man behind me, Peter Ridge of North Vancouver. He watches calmly as everyone else screams with every pass. "Lots of time left," he says with 3 mins remaining. "I just enjoy the game." Flurry of chances have everyone other than Ridge screaming, but Miller keeps the puck out of the net.

9:49 p.m. ET -- The Molson crowd gets new life as Canada puts one in, now down 4-3. The CTV camera goes live to Molson House for a second as the crowd goaes wild. USA 4, CANADA 3

9:48 p.m. ET -- Three great chances in a row but no goal results in a whole bunch of words I can't use in this blog.

9:45 p.m. ET -- Whistles and cheers as the U.S. picks up a tripping penalty with just over five minutes remaining and Canada still down by 2.

9:43 p.m. ET -- As the puck gets knocked into the Canada end yet again, the impatience grows. "Come on boys, get it together," I hear from over my left shoulder.

9:41 p.m. ET -- Crowd impatient as power play draws to a close. "Shoot it," implore several fans, but the U.S. Is back at full strength.

9:38 p.m. ET -- During TV time out they're playing "good ol' hockey game" and crowd sings along. Now "We will rock you" as power play starts.

9:37 p.m. ET -- Crowd recovers a bit and starts "Go Canada Go" cheer. And then erupts as Team USA called for a penalty. Big power play coming up for Canada.

9:33 p.m. ET -- And the U.S. scores again, not clear who if anyone tipped Rafalski's shot but it's 4-2. Looks like it was Langenbruner. Canada nearly gets one back, but Miller comes us big and the faces are getting longer at Molson. USA 4, CANADA 2

9:30 p.m. ET -- Huge boos as another penalty called on Canada and the U.S. returns to the power play. Not quite nervous time at Molson, but clearly the U.S. is giving a better showing than the home crowd would like.

9:27 p.m. ET -- Big cheers and whistles as Canada kills of the power play and even bigger cheers as Crosby has a nice chance, but all for naught.

9:24 p.m. ET -- For the third period in a row US starts with the first flurry. And Crosby picks up a penalty at 1:44 of the third.

9:20 p.m. ET -- Stewart leads crowd in cheer of "Go Canada Go" before wrapping up. On to the third period.

9:10 p.m. ET -- "We may be down but we are outshooting them," said Tyler Stewart, the short bald drummer from the Barenaked Ladies, who is in a side band called the Black Aces. "We fight hard."

9:07 p.m. ET -- Staal picks up a holding penalty, the first of the second period as he takes down Rafalski, though the call was unpopular here after the refs had thus far let both teams play. The second period ends, but the power play will carryover into the final period.

9:04 p.m. ET -- After allowing the third goal on just 15 shots, Brodeur stops two U.S. breakaways getting the Molson crowd back into it.

9:03 p.m. ET -- After some bumping with Brodeur. The U.S. scores, giving the U.S. its third lead of the night and again momentarily quieting the Molson crowd. USA 3, CANADA 2

8:53 p.m. ET -- During a media timeout I talked with fan Heather Roundsky of Lindsay, Ontario who said the game is phenomenal, but said she wasn't worried by early U.S. lead. "The boys have it in 'em" she said. "They'll do it and get the job done." Meanwhile, the crowd applause the introduction of a VIP in attendance Michael Peca from the 2002 Team Canada team which won the gold.

8:47 p.m. ET -- The crowd at Molson is taunting U.S. goalie Ryan Miller. We're only a couple blocks from Canada Hockey Place and it's so loud here it's hard to be sure if he can't hear the crowd.

8:44 p.m. ET -- Not that they ever got too quiet, the crowd at Molson is back into it, stomping and cheering during a hockey-themed commercial.

8:40 p.m. ET -- Canada ties it up on a shot by Heatley and the place goes nuts. USA 2, CANADA 2

8:35 p.m. ET -- Back to live action as the second period gets under way and again the U.S. gets the first chance.

8:32 p.m. ET -- And surprise guest between periods -- Canadian gold medal winning snowboarder Maelle Ricker. They are now playing Ricker's medal ceremony, which naturally provides a good excuse to play Canadian anthem. Crowd sings along as we get ready for the second period of hockey.

8:21 p.m. ET -- Last minute of the first. Canada has a couple more chances and one of their player goes down. All the referees at Molson wanted a penalty, but no call from those on the ice. USA goes to dressing room up 2-1 despite being outshot more than three to one. The host is back out trying to keep the crowd pumped, showing highlights of Canada's gold medal winning efforts at the Games.

8:10 p.m. ET -- Patrick Marleau had a great chance but Ryan Miller stoned him eliciting the expected groans at Molson.

8:07 p.m. ET -- Lots of end-to-end action and some huge hits have this crowd on pins and needles and it's only just over halfway through the first period.

8:02 p.m. ET -- But then just moments later(22 seconds) Team USA responds with a goal of its own, again quieting things as the US goes back on top 2-1. Goal to Rafalski, his second of the game. USA 2, CANADA 1

8:01 p.m. ET -- Several good chances for Team Canada on the power play but none convert. Moments after it expires, Canada scores, prompting enormous cheers. USA 1, CANADA 1

7:56 p.m. ET -- Now, in a much more popular call here, Team Canada is getting its first power play as USA gets called for high sticking. Joe Pavelski did clock Ryan Getzlaf pretty good as the replay shows.

7:54 p.m. ET -- "There's plenty of time," said one Canada fan, Bill Burns. "It was just surprising they would score so early. I didn't expect anyone would score that early."  The first penalty goes against Canada -- Ryan Getzlaf for goalie interference, needless to say an unpopular call here.

7:47 p.m. ET -- And the crowd is even more upset just seconds later as the USA puts the puck in the net taking a 1-0 lead just 41 seconds in. USA 1, CANADA 0

7:46 p.m. ET -- The US gets the first shot, forcing Brodeur to make the first save and momentarily quieting the crowd.

7:45 p.m. ET -- It's just warm-ups and a continuous chant of "Go Canada Go" has begun. As they show team USA, the onstage host says "polite applause, polite applause, that's what we do." The USA is wearing throwback jerseys reminiscent of the ones it wore 30 years ago in its 1980 Miracle On Ice upset of the Soviet Union. Some boos start. "Don't boo the Americans, pity them," the white suit wearing host says. Now the puck drop.

7:35 p.m. ET -- No hockey yet. Still watching speed skating. Final speedskating pair in the women's 1500m. An American, who draws boos and a Canadian. A proxy for the game? Canada ends up with a Silver I think, but can't hear over this crowd. Yep. Kristina Groves takes silver. Now on to the main event. Feet stomp as we go to hockey. Puck drop at 7:40 p.m. ET, we're told. Live feed not on yet.

7:28 p.m. ET -- We're watching Canadian Kristina Groves in the ladies 1500m speedskating final. It may not be hockey, but the Canadian woman is getting some loud cheers as she takes off. She's narrowly in the lead at the first split time. Huge cheers. The lead is bigger still with two laps to go. I can only imagine what the sound will be when game gets going. Deafening roar as she leads in final lap. "Go go go go," cheers the crowd. She slows a bit at the end, moving into second place with one pair to go, still getting cheers.

7:20 p.m. ET -- Look back there, there's one man in a USA jersey," the onstage host says. "Booooooo," roars the crowd "Slay him my minions," the host intones. Since this is the peace-loving nation of Canada people just laugh. Were this contest being held in Detroit, there might be a Canadian body by now. Even still, I worry a little for that guy's safety.

6:52 p.m. ET -- "Today is the day the USA stops winning medals," promised the live host, kicking off the hour-long countdown to the big game. On my way past Canada Hockey Place, site of the game itself, I ran into Matt Antosik of San Francisco, who was hoping against hope to land a ticket to the big game. "Just looking for one," he told passersby. "Not a scalper just a fan." The same technique landed him a free ticket to see Canada take on Norway, but he said he knows the odds are longer this time around. "This game is nearly impossible," he said. Then again, he said, Everyone was making fun of me last time and then it worked."

6:35 p.m. ET -- It's an hour until game time and the atmosphere is already beyond electric as the U.S. Is set to take on Canada in men's hockey. Although just a preliminary match, this game has taken on all the importance of a medal game. Some three hours before game time sporadic chants of "Go, Canada, Go" could be heard downtown. It's barely an exaggeration to say all of Canada will be watching. I'm live from the Molson Canadian Hockey House, a hockey themed pavilion adjacent to where the game is being played. Molson has already sold out with more than 2,000 paying just to see the game on the big screen here.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 21, 2010 3:35 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2010 4:23 pm

Olympic Notebook: Canada vs. U.S. on Super Sunday

By Ina Fried

It's not the Super Bowl, or even the gold medal match-up, but it is most definitely Super Sunday in Canada.

That's because three epic ice hockey battles are on tap, topped by the U.S. and Canada, who square off at 4:30 p.m. PST. The match-up has taken on added importance with the host nation having needed a shootout to defeat Switzerland earlier in the week.

All of Canada is ready for Sunday's huge hockey match-up between the host nation and its rival and neighbor to the south.

As if the pot needed any further stirring, the home page on Yahoo Canada quotes Team USA center Ryan Kesler as saying he hates the Canadian team.

I'm sure that quote will make its way to the Canada locker room. Well, there was unlikely to be any love lost anyway.

Meanwhile, in other top-notch action on Sunday, Sweden will take on Finland, and Russia will take on the Czech Republic.

Fun bit of trivia -- all three hockey games today are rematches of last three Olympic gold medal games from 1998, 2002 and 2006

PC Guy' goes for bobsled gold
Not all the action on Sunday is on the ice. U.S. bobsledder Steven Holcomb, whose geeky tendencies I profiled recently , makes his final two runs on Sunday in the two-man bobsled. After the first two runs, Holcomb sits in fourth place, just a few hundredths of a second out of a podium position.

That event was originally slated to start at 4:30 p.m. ET, but has been pushed back more than two hours to keep the competition out of the mid-day sun. Yes, it's still the Spring Olympics.

And still to come later this week, "PC guy" Holcomb will team up with "Mac guy" Steve Mesler as they and two others try to take home the gold in the four-man event.

Lining up to shop
People are queing up for all kinds of things in this town. And while I can understand lining up to hold a gold medal or ride a zip line, the most surprising line to me is the substantial one outside the main Olympic store downtown. Already open 9 a.m. to midnight, the store is now open 24 hours a day on Fridays and Saturdays to accommodate those looking to part with their Toonies.

But those in line on Sunday said it was worth the 45-minute wait.

"We just want to get a hoodie," said Paul Cheng of Langley, B.C. "It's a big event."

Besides, said friend Jerry Lee, the line Sunday morning was far less than the two-and-a-half-hour wait the first time he tried to shop.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog "
Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 19, 2010 5:49 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2010 5:51 pm

Canada's Chan: Lysacek deserved gold

By Ina Fried

When it comes to the controversy of giving the figure skating gold, Canada's Patrick Chan sides with American Evan Lysacek.

The decision to award Lysacek the gold even tough Russian Evgeni Plushenko did a quad jump drew some criticism from some corners, but not from Chan.

"He definitely deserved to have won with two great skates," Chan said, speaking that British Columbia International Media Centre here. "If I had done two greats skates just like he did, I think I would be side by side with him."

Chan said that "anyone can do the quad," insisting the jump gets too much attention and distracts from the true artistry of the sport.

"With the quad, you really have to take out a lot," Chan said, "because you;'ve got to really concentrate on having a good set up."

In the press conference, Chan said he is pleased with his performance, even if it wasn't what he hoped and noted that -- at 19 --he still has a long career ahead of him, including the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

I also asked Chan to talk about the scoring system in general, as well as the role of technology in skating.

"Technology wise we have come so far we have instant replay and we have computers now to put in calculations for all the marks," Chan said. "They used to write on paper, now it's all done on touch screens."

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 19, 2010 3:48 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2010 3:59 pm

Gearing up for Sunday's border battle

The United States and Canada are peaceful neighbors, sharing the world's longest undefended border. When it comes to the sport of ice hockey, however, there is no love between the North American rivals. It is flat-out war.

While Canada boasts more championships in its history, the competition between the two nations has become heated in recent years  because of frequent matchups at other levels, such as the World Junior Championship and Women's World Championship.

Sunday marks the first Olympic meeting between the countries since the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Canadians won 3-2 to clinch the gold medal.

CBSSports.com's Erin Brown and Derek Fobe cast aside all objectivity and preview the contest from an unabashedly patriotic standpoint. Be sure to join Erin and Derek Sunday night at 7 p.m. for a live chat during the game.

Why will the United States/Canada win?

Erin Brown: The Americans are going to win because nobody expects us to. Canada came into this tournament with the goal -- no, wait, expectation -- to come away with the gold medal. The Canadians are looking ahead, and showed exactly that during their game against the Swiss. The Americans may not have the deepest talent pool, but we've got a few flashy players, too, and we fill out the rest of the roster with blue collar grinders ready to hit you upside the head with their lunch pails. In Olympic and World Championship play, the Americans have defeated the Canadians just five times. OK, so the numbers don't exactly favor us. But four of those wins were one-goal games. Close battles are usually very ugly, and we've got just the kind of team to get the job done. Oh yeah, and as far as we know, there are no stupid loonies embedded in the ice.

Derek Fobe: The Canadians are going to win going away because Mike Richter is not dressed for this contest, which I assure you is of immense relief to all Canadians. If the U.S. did call on the former Ranger Sunday night, there would be 19,000+ very nervous Canadians jammed inside Canada Hockey Place whispering Richter's name with Ogie Oglethorpe-like reverence. Since Richter, to my knowledge, is not playing, the U.S. will continue to give away odd-man rushes and Ryan Miller will understand very quickly that the Canadian forwards do not play for teams such as Davos or Stavanger. Canada will score early, loud and often and the Americans will wonder if there is a 'Quick' solution they can turn to if and when they play the Canadian Red Machine again in the medal round. Expect the U.S. to look to abandon the running game early in this one as they fall behind by more than a touchdown. Miller Time will come early (and with a baseball cap!) for at least one member of the Miller family.

How the United States/Canada could conceivably pull off the upset?

Erin Brown: For the Canadians to win, they just have to walk the walk. There's no denying the talent they boast. They've got veterans. They've got loads of game-breakers. They've got players who have consistently performed in pressure situations. Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman even found a way to circumvent the lack of chemistry Olympic teams face by building a roster of players already familiar with each other. Even their coaching staff is unbelievable. And as if that weren't enough, they're playing at home, a hockey-mad country that could see its population skyrocket in nine months if they actually win gold. How on Earth do you compete with that? Maybe the reality is that you don't.

Derek Fobe: Canada has assembled an incredible array of tremendously skilled, offensive firepower. Notice I didn't use the word "team" in that sentence. There are no third or fourth liners on this squad. If defensive mastermind Bob Gainey was in his prime, he would not be selected -- ditto for Alex Burrows. This is an All-Star squad through and through and we saw that type of "All-Star team" dysfunction against the meager Swiss squad Thursday night. The best way for the U.S. team to succeed is to play inspired Team USA hockey. Bring a gritty, hard-hitting performance and use their speed mismatches of their forwards to cause windburn sensations past the likes of old vets Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. An outstanding Richter-like goaltending performance will undoubtedly also be necessary. Maybe someday Canadians will speak of Miller in hushed tones as they do of Richter.

Who's the hero?

Erin Brown: When the Americans beat Canada, they'll all be heroes. If I had to pick just one, though, I'm going with Minnesota's own David Backes. Leading up to the Winter Games, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound winger beat up three members of the Canadian team -- Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry and Rick Nash. He's having a great tournament thus far, with a highlight-reel game-winning goal in Team USA's opener versus Switzerland and an assist against the Norwegians. He's a fourth-liner, but has embraced his role more than anyone at this point. He's playing with the kind of passion that embodies the American hockey mentality. Herb Brooks would be proud.

Derek Fobe: When the Canadians win, the hero will be Sidney Crosby. Yeah, I know the obvious choice. But hey, like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Bobby Orr the best players perform on the biggest and loudest stage. There could not have been more pressure on him than on Thursday when he was selected for the shootout a second time, having just missed minutes earlier. Crosby was clutch and buried it. As Don Cherry might say to someone who would NOT pick Crosby to be the hero, "You don't know 'cause you don't know!"

Who's the goat?

Erin Brown: Martin Brodeur. He is arguably the best goaltender to play professional hockey, but how long can the Canadians ride this horse? Brodeur may have been a big-game goaltender earlier in his career, but since winning the Stanley Cup in 2003, he is 14-22 in postseason games and has won just two series. And don't forget that last-minute collapse against Carolina last postseason.

Derek Fobe: USA's gaggle of superstar forwards. They look like at times as if they want to pass the puck into the net. Someone (besides Mr. Backes) has to grab the biscuit and fire it into the net.

What "patriotic" song would you pump up the guys with?

Erin Brown: It isn't part of the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry (yet), but I'm going with Metallica's "Don't Tread on Me ." It is the motto on the Gadsden Flag, originally used by the United States Marine Corps in the late 1700s. The song itself refers to the American Revolutionary War (you know, Canada, when we kicked out the monarchy that still watches over you) and cites Patrick Henry's famous quote, "give me liberty or give me death." The tune bleeds aggression and makes you want to go out and hit someone. Rumor has it many of our soldiers overseas have this tune on their iPod and that it was a popular tune before going on patrol. That's motivational, right?

Derek Fobe: Breaking out the Marines eh?! Well, I'm going to go with Canada's own Guess Who and their rockin' "American Woman." The popular misconception is that it is a chauvinistic tune, but the song actually refers to the Statue of Liberty as an "American Woman ".  It has a decidedly anti-war theme -- "I don't need your war machines." What better time and place to waive "bye-bye" to Team USA and their gold medal dreams of hockey domination than Earth-friendly, peace-loving Vancouver, British Columbia? Maybe our friends in Quebec can add a "Da Na Naaa Naaaa" in front of it for artistic merit. Oh, those crazy Quebecers are clutch like that! (And since Erin broke out the "monarchy" line. Here's some trivia: Who was the last foreign power to occupy the United States capital? Quick hint: it rhymes with Canada.)

Erin Brown: Ahem, the War of 1812 was against Great Britain. Canada wasn't even a country then!

Derek Fobe: Wanna go?

Erin Brown: Yeah.

Remember to drop by Sunday at 7 p.m. for our live chat during the United States-Canada men's hockey game. Gloves and sticks optional.

Posted on: February 19, 2010 3:24 pm

Canada's Brodeur talks hockey, tech

By Ina Fried

Team Canada goalie Martin Brodeur was in Robson Square on Friday ostensibly to talk about health and technology, but naturally the talk quickly turned to hockey and, specifically, the incredible pressure on the host nation's team to win gold.

"I think it's just normal," Brodeur told reporters. "People have been waiting for a lot of years to have these Olympics in Canada .... Expectations are high and we definitely are looking forward to the challenge. It's what we do in Canada -- we play hockey."

Brodeur, for those not keeping track of hockey, was on fire in last night's shootout, stopping everything the Swiss could throw at him as the Canadians pulled out a 3-2 victory.

Asked what it would take to beat the Americans in a key matchup on Sunday, Brodeur quipped "Score more goals than them."

"It's a big rivalry," he said. "It started in 1996 when they beat us in Canada at the World Cup. We played them in 2002 in the finals and we were able to win against them in their country ... It's building up. It's because of the people on each side -- We know each other. We're teammates (on NHL teams). It's definitely an interesting match-up."

I also had a chance to quiz Brodeur about the role of technology in hockey.

"Technology, it's everywhere and definitely hockey it's a big part of it," Brodeur said. "You see a lot more broken sticks than before. That's a technology that's probably good for shooters and tougher for durability and more expensive for parents and that's not a great combination but it makes for better hockey, I guess.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com