Latvia boasts only two NHL Olympians —Sandis Ozolinsh and Karlis Skrastins— and Irbe helped lead the Carolina Hurricanes to the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals.
This is only the Latvians' third appearance in the Olympics.
They finished ninth in the 2002 Games, posting a 2-1-1 record and failing to get out of the preliminary round. They finished ninth in last spring's world championships but reached the quarterfinals in that tournament in 2004.
"That country doesn't roll off your tongue like a lot of other countries in the hockey world," U.S. center Mike Modano said. "But they did play a mistake-free game. They were smart, and Irbe played pretty well."
And because of that, it is a must-win versus Borat’s homeland …
One day into the Olympic hockey tournament and the Americans already face a do-or-die situation.
After a disappointing 3-3 tie with little-regarded Latvia on Wednesday night, in which the U.S. blew a 2-0 lead and had to scramble back to even the game in the third period, it faces a must-win situation against another inferior opponent Thursday in Kazakhstan.
"We need to win a hockey game tomorrow night. When that game's over, we need to win the next one, and hopefully get better as a team and play with more energy than we did tonight," U.S. coach Peter Laviolette said. "Absolutely, we needed to win tonight. With that comes more urgency I guess as the tournament moves on."
Now, the good news is this: Russia lost, the Czechs lost. So, a tie doesn’t kill you, but they do not have a few weeks to cycle up to speed. In fact, the problem is that America has very few “difference makers” on the ice these days. Modano, Weight, Guerin, and those guys are on the wrong side of 35, although Modano still looks like the best player on the team. So, where is the under 30 crowd? Scotty Gomez and Eric Cole look solid, but I don’t see anyone trying to predict their names for the scoring title in the NHL. The fact is, the young Americans have decent defensemen (like Jordan Leopold), but very few kids who can score a goal. That is not the recipe for success.
Mavs in 1st Place! ….By themselves!
The Mavericks got the job done Wednesday night, despite some sloppy moments in the third quarter and a few tense ones in the fourth. And by dispatching the Washington Wizards, 103-97, the Mavericks got a nice byproduct – a 41-11 record and one-game lead in the West on 40-12 San Antonio, which lost to Philadelphia on Wednesday night in the Spurs' final game before the break.
Up by one with just over a minute left, Nowitzki found Erick Dampier wide-open for a dunk, and Jason Terry then scored on a drive to clinch the Mavericks' 15th win in 16 games and their 11th consecutive home win.
Coach Avery Johnson said before the game that nosing in front of the Spurs would be nice, but not necessarily anything for the Mavericks to hang their hat on.
"I don't watch San Antonio in a sense where I'm hoping they lose," Johnson said. "[That] will start at some point. And obviously, you want them to lose. I'm not naïve. They're not cheering for us, either."
In addition, it is no longer early in the season. When the Mavericks resume play Tuesday, there will be 30 games remaining for them and the Spurs.
Barajas has his glove ready ….
When the season begins April 3, Barajas will be working with a rotation that doesn't include a holdover from the group that began the 2005 season. It's entirely possible the 12-man pitching staff may include as few as two refugees (Francisco Cordero and Brian Shouse) from the 2005 opening day roster. Barajas also has a new pitching coach in Mark Connor, which means some tweaking of pitching philosophy.
Today’s TV Schedule for Olympic Hockey:
MSNBC 2006 Torino Games
• Ice Hockey - Men: Finland vs. Italy (LIVE)
• Ice Hockey - Men: Czech Republic vs. Switzerland (LIVE)
• Ice Hockey - Men: Sweden vs. Russia (LIVE)
• Ice Hockey - Men: Slovakia vs. Latvia (LIVE)
• Ice Hockey - Men: Canada vs. Germany (LIVE)
USA Network 2006 Torino Games
• Ice Hockey - Men: The United States faces off against Kazakhstan (LIVE).
And don’t forget all the games are in HD on channel 74 on Directv!
Reggie Miller’s HSO on Miami ….
Critics keep piling on the Heat, with Reggie Miller saying Tuesday he ''wouldn't be surprised'' if Miami is upset in the first round of the playoffs by a team such as Philadelphia or Milwaukee.
Wow, Reggie. Simmer down, chief…
Houston 1836 becomes Houston ______ …
Beckham pushes Real past ManU in the revenue game ….
Manchester United should not be written off as a commercial force despite being toppled by Real Madrid from their position as the richest club in the world, according to sports finance experts.
The Deloitte `rich list' shows that in terms of revenue, Real have soared into the lead, earning £186.2million, almost £20million more than United, in 2004-05.
1 (2) Real Madrid 186.2
2 (1) Manchester United 166.4
3 (3) AC Milan 158.0
4 (5) Juventus 154.9
5 (4) Chelsea 149.1
6 (7) Barcelona 140.4
7 (9) Bayern Munich 128.0
8 (10) Liverpool 122.4
9 (8) Inter Milan 119.7
10 (6) Arsenal 115.7
Can Nascar grow and keep its Southern roots? …
Last Thursday, after a Capitol Hill news conference on his sport's efforts toward diversity, NASCAR President Mike Helton told reporters, "We believe strongly that the old Southeastern redneck heritage that we had is no longer in existence."
The comment kicked up a storm from Southern racing fans, some of whom wondered if NASCAR had finally crossed a threshold -- from taking its devotees for granted to publicly being embarrassed by them.
It's a new strain of the old tension between corporate NASCAR and its working-class fan base. And with the 2006 season beginning this week, it's an illustration of the sensitivities the sport still navigates nearly seven years after announcing a significant diversity effort.
Helton also managed the difficult feat of annoying several unintended targets, from Southern fans who don't like the redneck label -- "Please do not stereotype all of us," said James Roland of Florence, S.C. -- to people who wonder if he has been attending many of his sport's events lately. "Maybe out West they tone it down a bit," said Rock Hill's Harry Williams. "But when they're racing in Dixie, the track is slam full of rednecks."
Mostly, though, it was the self-proclaimed rednecks who fired back.
"Believe me, if it weren't for us rednecks, NASCAR would not be where it is today," said Ruth Payne, a race fan for five decades from Greer, S.C. "NASCAR has become too commercialized for this redneck, so I will just keep my redneck butt home."
Meanwhile, Nascar tries to reel in its drivers before the Twin 125’s today …TNT, 1pm…
another 20’s and 30’s speak glossary …perhaps you can be 1930’s reporter guy…
Watch 24 in 24 seconds …Family Guy style…
Former Ticket engineer, Jubal …
George Michael Bluth’s page …
Bloopers alert! Click Here for soccer goalies having problems …
Meet the great Leeroy Jenkins! …
Leeroy was given a substantial boost in notoriety by the publication of an article in the August 2005 issue of PC Gamer UK by author Craig Pearson, entitled "The Ballad of Leeroy Jenkins". Pearson's article claims that the original video was designed as a negative commentary on the kind of "nerd-guilds" that meticulously and statistically plan out raids the way Leeroy's guild was apparently doing. Leeroy is in fact the hero of the piece, acting against the sickening geekiness of his guild.
Those familiar with game play in World of Warcraft have noted that the "plans" his guildmates were making relied on casting spells in a way that would be impossible according to the game's mechanics. Further an overall plan to activate all the enemies and fight them at once would be a rather unlikely occurrence among actual players of the game.
Giving further credence to this assessment and to Pearson's allegation is the fact that the dragon hatchlings in the Rookery are an optional engagement, not a required one. Indeed it's entirely possible to simply skip the eggs in The Rookery. While the Devout Shoulders item mentioned does require this engagement, it is considerably easier to do so a few at a time rather than all at once.
Also lending credence to Pearson's theory is the fact that most of the characters in the video are using 'superior-level' armor and weapons. Some are even wearing equipment that can only be obtained in an area of the dungeon after the Rookery.
A sidebar found in Pearson's article titled "How to Be a Leeroy: Perhaps You Already Are?" cites Urban Dictionary as an indication that Leeroy has become a descriptive noun; "to Leeroy" is even being used as a verb in some circles. The article further encourages the readers to send in their best examples of being a Leeroy to "I'm a Leeroy" at the magazine's address.
Busy or bored p1’s design bloodypantssaysIloveyou.com ….
Why do people dance in front of camcorders? …