Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games: Day 6 Recap

Above: Team Canada beat Norway 3-1 in Sochi Olympics hockey debut
Above: Team Canada beat Norway 3-1 in Sochi Olympics hockey debut

Every afternoon, Olympic enthusiast Drew Berner tracks the talking points from the the day’s competitions. Here’s our recap of day six at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Norway Holds Tough Against Team Canada

It wasn’t quite like the scare Switzerland put into Canada’s men’s hockey team at the 2010 Olympics, when the Swiss pushed Canada to a shootout, but nor was it the leisurely warmup some expected. Canada took a 3-1 win over a surprisingly plucky and physical Team Norway in their opening game of the men’s hockey tournament, but it wasn’t easy. Shea Weber, Jamie Benn and Drew Doughty scored for the Canadians, while Patrick Thoresen had the lone goal for the Norwegians. While Norway tried to push the Canadians around, Chris Kunitz was overzealous in his response, hitting Jonas Holos squarely from behind and, somehow, only earning himself a slashing penalty—he “slashed” the player in the back with his shoulder, I guess? Canada’s next game is Friday at noon EST against Austria.

Plushenko Announces Retirement; Chan in Medal Contention

Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko retired from the sport suddenly after withdrawing from competition Thursday with a medical issue. The announcement was met with surprise, but after the injuries the 31-year-old Plushenko has endured—including multiple back surgeries—it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Plushenko’s statement opens the door that much wider for Canada’s Patrick Chan, who sits second behind Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu after the men’s short program and well within reach of a gold medal.

Canadian Favourites Miss Medals

For all the good fortune and strong performances we’ve seen from Canadian athletes, we had to expect some disappointment eventually. That disappointment came Thursday, when Canada’s highly touted short track speed skaters came up short, while its luge relay team missed a medal by just a tenth of a second. Marianne St-Gelais missed the women’s 500m short track speed skating final, which was marred by a crash and a disqualification, while the men’s relay team won’t get to defend their 2010 gold medal after a fall took them out of contention.

The brand new luge relay event brought hopes of a medal—Canada’s team was second overall on the World Cup circuit—but fourth place was the best they could manage, falling behind Russia, Latvia and the dominant Germans. Hopefully this lull won’t last, as Canadian fans have gotten a taste for winning and can’t wait for their next fix.

American Men Sweep Podium in Ski Slopestyle

We all knew the U.S. would finish well in the “slacker” events—ski and snowboard slopestyle and halfpipe—but this level of dominance, and without a contribution from golden boy Shaun White, is a bit shocking. Team USA swept the men’s ski slopestyle medals, bringing their overall total to 12, but eight of those medals have come by way of freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Ski and snowboard cross still remain, as well as ski halfpipe, so expect a few a few more medals for the cool kids of the U.S. team.

Click here for all of our Sochi coverage.

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Drew Berner

Drew Berner is a freelance writer born and raised in Toronto and specializing in entertainment, sports and politics. He occasionally collects vinyl records, enjoys hate-watching the Blue Jays, appreciates good beer and great scotch, and goes to sleep each night with 120 lbs. of Great Dane draped over him (it’s a lot more comfortable than it sounds). Follow him on Twitter @DrewBerner for photos of huge dogs, observational humour and assorted sports rage.

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