Sidney Crosby, Kurt Russell and Elvis Presley Olympic connection?
With apologies to the busted leg of Steven Stamkos, (What a shame!) Canadians still have gold fever over the upcoming Sochi hockey tournament.
This week, Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby scored a gorgeous goal for the Penguins in their 5-1 win over Buffalo. What made it really neat, is that it came against Team USA netminder Ryan Miller - the same guy Sid beat for his "Golden Goal" at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Crosby's latest beauty was just another hor d'oeuvres leading up to Canada's first game in Sochi on Wednesday when they have an easy warm-up against Norway.
But as exciting as it is to watch a "best on best" format featuring all the NHL stars, I have to admit I miss the old days of when coaches such as Dave King led a brigade of true amateurs against the Great Russian Bear and other international hockey powers. I grew up in the Calgary area and still remember our 1980 team living in trailers on the Stampede Grounds while practicing at the old Stampede Corral, the original home of the Calgary Flames. That 1980 squad included future Edmonton Oiler stalwarts Glenn Anderson and Randy Gregg, whose son Jamie Gregg (showing how fast time flies) is a speed skater and a potential medal threat in Sochi.
Unfortunately, the 1980 version of Team Canada was overshadowed by a certain "Miracle on Ice" American side that shocked the world by beating the Russians and striking gold at Lake Placid. It was a mind-blowing triumph that spawned two major motion pictures - a mediocre effort starring the late, great Karl Malden as crusty American coach, the late, great Herb Brooks, and a much more inspired effort featuring Kurt Russell playing the part of Brooks.
Then again, as a huge Elvis guy, I admit to being partial to Russell.
After all, one of his first big breaks occurred in "It Happened at the World's Fair", a 1963 film that featured Elvis paying a kid portrayed by Russell to boot him in the shins so Elvis could visit the bombshell nurse on duty at the fair grounds. Later, in the 1979 TV movie, "Elvis", Russell played the King himself..... to this day, the best Presley portrayal ever captured on film.
Russell, by the way, is a huge hockey fan; a long time season ticket holder at L.A. Kings games and the father of a goalie, Wyatt, who played junior hockey in Ontario a few years back.
So, I guarantee Kurt Russell will be watching the hockey tournament.
Meanwhile, with a strange mind-mix of Kurt and Karl, Crosby and Miller, Dave King and The King, I'll definitely be on the edge of my seat too.