Find me online!

twittergoogle plusemail

February 19, 2010

Olympic Hockey - Day 2 (Russia-Slovakia)

Thursday night was our second Olympic hockey game to attend, again at 9:00, and again with Russia!  It was the Russia-Slovakia game, and we were greatly looking forward to it.  As cool as it was how much fight Latvia put up, they were just outmatched against the Russians on Tuesday night (my take on that night can be found here).  This would be a much better game, and even more so by the end of it.  But that's for later (who am I kidding? You probably already know the result, but let's pretend).

This night would not be quite as long as Tuesday night was, as we didn't have 4 hours to kill.  I actually got to go home after work and veg out for a bit (and finish up my Tuesday night post with the pictures).  Around 6:15, I headed out to meet the wife after an appointment she had.  I was just meandering down the streets of Downtown Vancouver, taking in the sights (and momentarily not realizing that, while Robson Street was closed off, the *intersections* of Robson and other streets are not!  Whoops!)  I wish more of my pictures had turned out, but I'm not the steadiest hand with the iPhone.

The crowds can be massive at many venues.  Japa-Dog, world-famous for its specialty hot dogs with green shit that's not relish on them (I'm paraphrasing), continues to be swamped:

(Note: You can click on each image to make it larger)

All right, I kind of insulted them above, so I'll link to their web site. It's super-popular, with write-ups in national publications like Maclean's magazine and the National Post.  Maybe I'm just weird, but I don't like seaweed on my hot dog!  Your mileage may vary.

*Ahem* Anyway, I wandered down Burrard street, took a few pictures at the Art Gallery when I went down Georgia to Hornby. When I passed the Vancouver Hotel lobby, there was a lot of security, a bunch of media with TV cameras, and what looked like a couple or three guys in front of some mics.  Any idea what was going on, those of you from Vancouver?

This sculpture has been outside the Art Gallery for a long time now, counting down the days to the Olympics.  It's probably been up for at least two years.  One side counted down to the Olympics themselves, and the other one (this one) counts down to the Paralympics, which start a few days after the regular Olympics are over.

Here's the Art Gallery all decorated.  The guy walked right in front of me as my camera app was getting the right resolution and everything.

A sign on Georgia Street.  They need one of these around for the regular tourists, not just the Olympic ones!

I got to where my wife's appointment was a little bit early, so I sat outside and played around on my phone. (Again, I have to wonder how anybody didn't get bored while waiting before these things were developed).  Met up with the wife and we started heading toward the game.  We had to figure out some place to eat with not a lot of time. Since the entrance to Fortress Canada Hockey Place is down below the viaducts and underneath the skytrain tracks, we decided to head to Tinseltown and check out their food court.  On our way, we passed a coffee shop where they had the TV on and saw the Canada-Switzerland game had gone to a shootout, so we stopped and watched the last couple of shooters.  Canada wins!  The crowd goes wild!  We knew it would be loud on the streets very soon now, so we kept going.

We got to Tinseltown and discovered the Food Court was pretty empty, and we had our choice of ethnic places (all Asian except for Taco Time, which seemed really out of place).  We decided to stop at China Garden and get some chicken and vegetables.  Fans from the game were trickling in, and then it became a flood.  The poor Japanese restaurant got slammed (I guess Canada fans weren't interested in Thai or Vietnamese food?).  I guess I shouldn't say "poor," because I'm sure they raked in the dough.

We got high-fived by a bunch of screaming fans as we were walking in, which was kind of funny.  But we had a nice little dinner, and then headed off to the game.  As I mentioned in my Tuesday post, we decided to get to the game around 8:00 instead of 7:00, because that's when the gates open.  Sure, the security line-up might be longer, but once you're through, you can go into the game rather than milling around like cattle (MOOOOOO!).  We got there and were standing in the line-up when one of the Official Olympic Volunteers (Smurfs!) motioned us and a few others over to the security tent for accredited individuals.  Way cool! We didn't have to wait.  Because we were so quick, no pictures of that, unfortunately.

We got through right at 8:00, but the gates hadn't quite opened yet, so we were still milling about.  But at least we were at the back instead of the middle of the crush.  I spent the time taking a couple of skyline pictures.

That's the building towering over us just across the street (and barrier).

And a couple buildings further back.

This is the trailer right next to our herding area where the hockey players do their post-game stationary bike riding and stuff.  Wasn't close enough to actually *see* in the windows, but it's surprisingly close.  That seems to be a bad place to put it, but whatever.

Getting up those stairs to get to our gate was a lot more organized this time than last time.  They had Official Olympic Volunteers directing traffic, shouting out where people should go based on their gate.  We had no trouble getting in and everybody was pretty civilized.  I got our soda while the wife was using the bathroom and then I used it when she came back.

Took a picture of the Canucks Wall of Fame while I was waiting.  Nice to see *some* Canucks stuff left out during the Olympics.  Maybe they're the "Official NHL Hockey Team of the Olympics?"  After all of that was done, we got to our seats.

Arriving at 7:00, we got to our seats around 8:15 after doing everything.

Arriving at 8:00, we got to our seats around 8:25 after doing everything.

I think we're going to get there at 8:00 from now on.

We weren't on an aisle this time, but actually in the middle of the pack in the last row.  This was actually good for a number of reasons:

1) We only had to get up for 2 people when they had to leave, instead of getting up for everybody.

2) We were able to lean forward to see without getting in the way of anybody behind us.

Thankfully, there were no cowboy hats in front of us (i.e. no ignorant Calgary Flames fans) so we could see pretty much everything.  Here's a shot from our vantage point.

I took this video from my iPhone, more to get the sound than the video, though it's surprisingly good for the video too. Not so good you can see what's going on, but at least you can see that they're human! Watch it just to soak in the sounds of the game (and ummm, my voice a couple of times...damn, that mic picks things up well).

The kid with the noisemaker was getting *really* irritating, but he gave us a respite during the 2nd period and a large part of the 3rd. And you get to hear the cowbell we bought!

The game itself was awesome to see. The Russians are favoured to win the Gold, but Slovakia played a really gutsy game. Having more NHL players on their roster definitely helps. There were times it looked like Russia was dominating, especially in the 2nd period, but overall it was very even. Slovakia scored with 10 minutes left in the third to tie it 1-1.

Here are a couple of action shots:

Wow, that's far away. LOL  But not bad for an iPhone camera.


We were sitting in a section with lots of Slovakian fans, including a few (seemingly local, since they were talking about Vancouver nightclubs and stuff) who were getting drunker and drunker as the game went on.  There was a lot of swearing when a Slovakian player made a bad play, or if they thought the ref missed a call. They were kind of obnoxious, but not enough to complain about.

The game went into a shootout, and it lasted 7 rounds as both teams could only manage one goal a piece.  Then Pavol Demitra came up for Slovakia to try and win it....and HE DID!  The crowd went nuts!  Except for the Russian fans...sorry about that.

I don't know about the wife, but I was rooting for Slovakia (sorry, Lena) because Demitra is on the Vancouver Canucks, so he's local to us.  He had a great game, assisting on the tying goal and then scoring the shootout winner.  It was quite the upset, and the first major one of the Olympics.


Afterward, the teams shook hands.

And saluted the fans.  I really like that touch.

Getting out was a bit harder than Tuesday night, as there were many more people around, and they had stayed until the end of the game.  We just joined the crowd and moved at a snail's pace out the door and through the security fence.  Again, many people headed to Skytrain, but we had more people walking with us than we did on Tuesday.  Still, it was a beautiful night for a walk.  We walked across Granville for a block to see the revelers and get some pictures.


That's the entrance to the Lantern Forest I mentioned in my last post.

It was jam-packed, and Robson was the same (this is the intersection of Granville & Robson).  People were hooting and hollering.  It was unreal.

The crowd waiting to cross Howe on Robson.

Got home around 12:30 and finally got to bed around 1:00.  If this is incoherent, that's why.  But it was a blast, highlighted by not being quite so worn out before the game, as well as actually having a really fun game to watch!

Next game is Saturday night at 9:00, Belarus and Germany.  That should be fun too, especially because I don't have to get up the next morning.


  1. I'm no conservative, but I do like to keep my seaweed firmly separated from my hot dogs! I could be missing something great, but I'll just have to live with that possibility.

    Love the pix and the write-up! Not at all incoherent!

  2. I quite agree! Seeing some of those hot dogs just makes me shudder.

    But the place is booming, even when the Olympics aren't here. Though obviously nowhere near the same, they still always have a few people there.

    Glad you're liking these! Sorry there won't be anymore. I do have a write-up for last night's game, but we were boring and didn't do anything else, so there won't be any pictures or anything like that.

    I will have a "week-in-review" as part of the post, though.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.