How Bostonians Feel About a Boston Olympics

By Iris Moore
BU News Service

Mitt Romney and Robert Kraft are among a few big names making an effort to organize a bid for a Boston Summer Olympics in 2024. Reporter Iris Moore talks to locals and gets their opinions on bringing the Games to Boston.

BU Student Marie-Philip Poulin Strikes Gold for Canada

Video: BU Hockey Coach Reacts

By Andre Khatchaturian
BU News Service

Coming through in the clutch on the biggest international stage is nothing new for Boston University women’s hockey star Marie-Philip Poulin.

On Thursday night in Sochi, Poulin was the hero again. She scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in Canada’s thrilling come-from-behind victory in the gold medal game against the United States to bring the gold back to Canada for the fourth consecutive Olympics.

The Canadians were losing 2-0 with under four minutes to play in regulation when Brianne Jenner of Canada scored a goal to give Canada life. Then, with just 54 seconds left in the third, Poulin cashed in on a pass from behind the net to even up the score and send the Canada bench into a frenzy. Poulin was rushing toward the net when she received the pass, which was deflected by American goaltender Jessie Vetter. She took the puck on her backhand, then quickly switched to her forehand to beat Vetter.

In overtime, Poulin ripped a one-timer from the slot past Vetter just as Canada’s powerplay was expiring to end the game and the United States’ chances of ending a 16-year gold medal drought.

These two goals marked Poulin’s third and fourth goals in her career in gold medal games. In Vancouver when she was only 18, the young phenom scored the only two goals in Canada’s victory over the United States.

Poulin is now a seasoned veteran on the Canadian team who is also a senior at Boston University. She has not played for the women’s team this year because of her Olympic commitment. Last season, she scored 19 goals and 36 assists for the Terriers.

After a scoreless and physical first period, the United States scored two goals in the second period from Meghan Duggan and Alexandra Carpenter to take a 2-0 lead. Then, with a 2-1 lead and with the Canadian goalie pulled from the net for an extra attacker, they hit the post on an empty net opportunity. This could have given the Americans a 3-1 lead and wrapped up the gold medal for the red, white, and blue. But Poulin struck shortly thereafter to send the game into overtime.

Three other former BU hockey players – Jenn Wakefield, Catherine Ward, and Tara Watchorn – were also part of Canada’s team along with Poulin.

Team USA Advances To Quarterfinals Feeling Confident

Team USA fans cheer during the USA-Russia hockey game.

By Andre Khatchaturian
BU News Service

After pounding both Slovakia and Slovenia and edging Russia in a shootout thriller, the United States men’s national hockey team earned the No. 2 seed and will earn a bye round that will take them to the quarterfinals on February 19.

Coming into the Olympics, Team USA’s inexperience and youth was a big reason why they were given the fourth-best odds to win the gold medal. In other words, Vegas didn’t even expect this team to medal. However, three games into the tournament, the world has seen the explosive offense, stellar goaltending, and most importantly, the team’s camaraderie and team-first mentality that has all of a sudden turned them into a gold medal contender.

The Americans have lived up to their expectations offensively. Everyone knew they had a lot of firepower on the wings. Phil Kessel has scored four goals (including a natural hat trick Sunday against Slovenia), and Paul Stastny and David Backes each have two. T.J. Oshie became an overnight sensation because of his breakaway talent on the shootout against Russia, cashing in on four of six attempts. They’ve outscored opponents 15-4 in round robin play.

But the second number in the aforementioned statistic is a testament to solid defensive play and outstanding goaltending by both Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller. Quick is showing shades of 2011, when he led the Los Angeles Kings to a Stanley Cup championship through his shutdown play. Meanwhile, Miller was fantastic against Slovenia, turning away 17 shots in the win.

Finally, Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik are translating the chemistry they have developed as a defensive pairing in Pittsburgh very well in the Olympic games. Team USA’s goaltenders don’t have to face plenty of shots because of the American defense preventing opportunities from the opponent. The back-end of the defense, which was considered a weakness for the Americans coming into the tournament because of its inexperience, has turned into a strength. Ryan McDonagh, John Carlson, and Cam Fowler have all scored goals and played stifling defense.

Most importantly, though, the Americans have turned into gold medal contenders because of their team chemistry. There’s a different hero every night for Team USA, but nobody ever wants to take full credit. They not only play as a unit on the ice, but they are one off it. They are quick to give credit to their other teammates after good moments.

This team doesn’t have the star power that Finland, Canada, or Russia has. They don’t have a transcendent star like Sidney Crosby of Canada or Alex Ovechkin of Russia. What they do have is an elite head coach in Dan Bylsma, who has taught this team to play as a collective bunch where they play for each other. This has translated extremely well on the ice and the Americans enter the quarterfinals with their heads up high as they await the winner of Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Team USA Pounds Slovakia In Men’s Hockey

Bolshoi Ice Dome is the sight of the men's ice hockey gold medal game.

By Andre Khatchaturian
BU News Service

The Miracle on Ice happened 34 years ago, but it’s been a mini-miracle of some sorts that the United States has yet to capture a gold medal in hockey since that glorious week in Lake Placid despite having the luxury of using NHL players – something no one was allowed to do back in 1980.

The U.S. took its first step to erase their gold medal drought after they trounced on Slovakia with six second period goals en route to a 7-1 victory in Sochi. Paul Stastny, whose father, Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, played extensively for the Czechoslovakian and Slovakian national teams throughout his career and is a actually a member of the European parliament in Slovakia, scored two goals as part of the win.

Team USA only had one tuneup before their first game because of the fact that the entire team is composed of NHL players who had to make the long trip from North America. Perhaps from lack of chemistry or rust, the Americans didn’t get their first goal until 14:27 into the first period when Natick native and current Washington Capital John Carlson ripped a shot past Jaroslav Halak to give the U.S. 1-0 lead.

The Americans had numerous opportunities in the first period, outshooting Slovakia 11-4 but it wasn’t until the second when they broke loose. Tomas Tatar and the Slovakians would answer in the second period to even up the score, but after that it was all Team USA.

Just 58 seconds after Tatar’s goal, Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler received a pass from Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane and ripped it past Halak from the slot. From there, the Americans never looked back. About a minute later, Stastny scored his first goal of the game to give the Americans a 3-1 lead.

Stastny’s second goal helped put the Red, White, and Blue up 5-1 and it came on a beautiful cross-ice pass which Stastny buried behind Halak. Halak’s night ended early as he got pulled from the game following that goal. Phil Kessel, David Backes, and Dustin Brown also notched goals and helped show the world that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with this Olympic year.

After Halak was chased out of the game, Peter Budaj allowed two more goals before settling down with a clean third period. In the American net, Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick stopped 22 shots, including three from Bruins’ defenseman and Slovakian captain Zdeno Chara, and bounced back well after allowing a goal to Tatar.

The size of the victory puts the Americans at the top of Group A because of a superior goal differential over Russia, who also won in Group A play. Team USA returns to action on Saturday against host country Russia in a highly anticipated matchup at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

OPINION: Just Say No to a Boston Olympics

Boston traffic. July 2009. (Photo: Flickr/nvinacco)
Boston traffic. July 2009. (Photo: Flickr/nvinacco)

By Jamie Bologna
BU News Service

As the world turns its gaze to the Sochi Olympic games, some in Massachusetts are already looking to twenty twenty four.

Last year the State Senate appointed a commission to see if Boston should make a bid to host the summer games. And a private group lead by a local construction mogul is also making the push for a Boston Olympics.

Plenty of folks have already lined up to support it — Patriots owner Bob Kraft, Former Boston Police commissioner Ed Davis, and Former Governor Mitt Romney.

Last year, then-Mayor Tom Menino called plans to bring the Olympics to Boston “far- fetched.” Let’s hope current mayor Marty Walsh isn’t quick to jump on the Olympic bandwagon either.

As politicians talk about how great the Olympics can be for a city, let’s consider some of the costs.

According to the Boston Globe’s Shira Springer, the Olympics cost London 15 billion dollars for its 2012 games, more than three times its proposed budget. It took Montreal 30 years to pay off its debt from the 1976 games. The Russian games happening right now have cost an estimated 50 billion—with a b—dollars.

Besides, where would we fit an Olympic stadium? Are we ready to tear down whole sections of our historic city? Will it be right to house Olympic athletes in smelly dorm rooms at BU, Harvard, and Tufts?

According to the British government, almost 700 thousand people visited the London area for their Olympics. That’s 50 thousand more than the population of the whole city of Boston.

Can you imagine the traffic and slowdowns on Storrow Drive, 93, the Mass Pike, and the Red Line?

This is the city infamous for the Big Dig. This is the city that shut down for weeks around the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Look, I love Boston. It is the hub of the region, a center of learning, health care, sports, and innovation.

And I love the idea of Boston being showcased on the world stage. I just think an event of Olympic proportions might shine an equally large spotlight on our fair city, illuminating not just the good but all the blemishes and scars as well.

It’s for all these reasons that I think we should pass the Olympic torch to another American metropolis.