Mike’d Up: Thrilling Olympic hockey and farewell to The Captain

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Michael Kelley

The battle of North America is set for noon today between the United States and Canada.

Kelley: USA-Canada, today at noon? Should be epic and I know I will not be the only one on campus watching this showdown, especially given the finish of the 2010 Olympic Finals between these two rivals.

Now I refuse to sit here and share made up stories with you all that I am a hardcore hockey fan because it is simply not the case. I watch the Penguins from time to time and I watch Olympic hockey because simply put, it is thrilling. Nothing defines this description more than the USA-Russia shootout that will forever be remembered. It was Olympic Final worthy, but nope, it was only a teaser for us in Group A play.

T.J. Oshie has positioned himself as the face of the Americans for these Olympics Games and as Stuart Scott would say, that man is as cool as the other side of the pillow. That near smile that would creep onto his face as he took in his surroundings before beginning his collision-course path to the Russian goalkeeper… makes you feel as though he is the most trustworthy man in the world. Captain Clutch.

See you at noon.

 

Kowaleski: I’ve never been this addicted to Olympic hockey.

There are always American heroes (and international heroes, for that matter) forged during the Olympics, but I don’t know if anyone compares to recent headline-grabber T.J. Oshie, who followed up a superb shootout performance against Russia with the quote: “Heroes wear camo.”

Extensive Googling reveals a guy with an extremely attractive girlfriend and a penchant for wearing cowboy hats and jean shorts. How America is this guy? Answer: so America.

Meanwhile, I autonomously watched my first non-U.S. hockey game Wednesday when I almost saw Latvia upset the Canadians. While of course I want to see the U.S. take on our neighbors up north for the chance for gold, I would have loved to see a -5000 chalk underdog take out the Red and White. They survived by the skin of their teeth all game, but couldn’t hang on, ultimately conceding a power play goal to lose 2-1.

Of course, that just makes me feel better about our odds going into today’s semifinal at noon. America is riding a high ever since the shootout win against Russia, winning their own quarterfinal matchup against the Czech Republic 5-2.

We have the momentum, but don’t count out Crosby and company just yet. I’m not usually the overly patriotic type, but if you don’t think I’m going to be watching the semifinals between the U.S.A. and Canada, you’re insane.

‘MURICA.

 

Derek Jeter has announced that the 2014 season will be his last.

Kelley: A good friend of mine recently updated his Facebook status regarding the Jeter retirement announcer: “The Derek Jeter stat that should really stand out: Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Scarlett Johansson, Adriana Lima, Minka Kelly, Hannah Davis, Jordana Brewster, Mariah Carey, Vanessa Minillo and Miss Universe Lara Dutta.”

All jokes aside though, Jeter is a class act. Do I necessarily invite the yearlong farewell tour? Not quite. But with Jeter, it is fitting. He has meant so much to the Yankees and to baseball. Jeter has been a nice clean, steady image for the MLB in an era plagued with steroid use and cheating.

My problem and to put this quite frankly: the media will beat the shit out of this storyline. Are we hypocrites for devoting this section of Mike’d UP to the topic? Probably, but who cares? ESPN on February 9 tweeted the most iconic moments of his career. In February…

Outside The Lines dedicated its entire broadcast today to Jeter. All I am saying is that this storyline will get so old… too old. But is it deserved? Absolutely.

Alright Mick, commence your sob-filled rant.

 

Kowaleski: I knew this day would come. I just didn’t know it would be here so soon.

It’s almost impossible for me to write this article objectively, Mike. As a Yankee fan since birth, there hasn’t been a conscious moment in my Bronx Bomber fanhood that hasn’t included El Capitan. From the Flip to the Dive and the five championships in between, my favorite athlete of all time is by far No. 2.

I don’t care how much air time the talking heads spend on Jeter. It’s all deserved.

But let’s just talk about his legacy outside of the game. He is the anti-Tiger Woods, the perfect role model for young men to aspire to be. Quiet, dignified, humble, a gentleman on and off the field with a refined sense of humor, Jeter set the bar for how athletes should behave.

There were no scandals, no outbursts, no whacked-out behavior that made us wonder if we should be admiring this man. There were the parade of models and singers that he dated, but they only lasted until they became high-profile themselves. Jetes has never liked his private life in the spotlight…the most we know about how he conducts himself is that he sends one-night stands home with a gift basket of signed memorabilia. If you ask me, that’s just the classiest thing you could ever do.

I will shed tears, Mike. Proud man-tears.