In Medal Contention…

Photo Credit Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images

Former Portland Winterhawk Brenden Morrow is shown celebrating his eventual game winning goal against the Russians on Wednesday evening at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Morrow and the rest of his Team Canada teammates will take on the surprising Slovaks, led by former Hawks Marian and Marcel Hossa and Richard Zednik.

Marian Hossa had three assists in the Slovaks 4-3 win over the Swedes last night with Zednik setting up the other goal.

Hossa is tied for the Olympic lead in scoring with 2-5-7 in five games as he is tied with two Team Canada players (Dany Heatley and Jonathan Toews) as well as his countryman Pavol Demitra.  Zednik has five points in five games for the Slovaks.

In the other semifinal, the USA squad will take on Finland in what should be a tight checking, low scoring affair.  The US team beat Switzerland, and current Hawk Luca Sbisa, in a close 2-0 game that came down to an empty netter to seal the win.   Sbisa went off in the first period after blocking a shot with his hand (and it looked nasty on TV), but returned to play the final two periods and he showed himself very well.

All in all, the Olympic tournament has been great hockey and it is great to see all the former Hawks (and current Hawk) playing so well.   We know that that there will be at least one playing for Gold on Sunday…can’t wait.

Before Henrik Lundqvist came crashing down to Earth in the second period last night against the Slovaks, he set a new record for consecutive shutout minutes in the Olympics games at just over 170.   Did anyone notice who had the record previously?

It was former Portland Buckaroo goaltender Don Head, who was in Portland and honored at the recent Buckaroo night at the Rose Garden.  Head, who played for Canada, went 164:19 for the Canadians in the 1960 Olympic Games in Squaw Valley, CA, when Canada won the Silver Medal.

It must have been incredibly fulfilling for Head to have his name in the Olympic Record Books for 50 years…

Cam Neely will be dropping the puck at the Hawks game on Sunday night against the Prince George Cougars.  Neely, of course, won the 1983 Memorial Cup with the Hawks and is now a member of the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame.

Also, the Hawks announced their inaugural class for the newly formed Winterhawks Hall of Fame and in addition to the founders, Brian Shaw, Ken Hodge and Innes Mackie, who brought the team to Portland, the Hawks will add Dennis Holland, the Hawks second all-time leading scorer.

Holland is now a scout with the Dallas Stars and he will be at the game on Sunday night as well.  I’ll sit down with him before the game for a radio interview to get his thoughts on the selection and also his thoughts on the Hawks draft eligible players.

That’s it for now…

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