Zach Parise sees benefits of big ice for U.S. men’s hockey

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After one impressive win, The U.S. men’s hockey team looks like it has the potential to be a powerful team. But how do they feel about the bigger ice surface, which is supposed to befuddle North American skaters?

Different United States players seemed to give different answers to Puck Daddy.

On one hand, you have team captain Zach Parise, who believes that the U.S. used its speed especially well over a larger surface.

“We almost used it to our advantage with our speed and taking the puck wide,” Parise said.

Paul Stastny seemed to warn against using that speed too much, however.

“The ice is big,” Statsny said. “We try to transition the game, and try to get good puck possession on the D-zone. You try to play a run-and-gun game and you’re going to be exhausted.”

David Backes was in the middle; he believes that the United States required “a feeling out process” in the first period before playing well in the second.

All of that aside, it’s just one game, and Russia is likely to provide a far more intense tense than Slovakia. Sticking with the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin is a difficult task on rinks in the NHL and overseas.

Besides, as Canadian head coach Mike Babcock notes, it’s not always as simple as the ice being bigger.

“What I learned tonight about the big ice is the big ice isn’t very big,” Babcock said to PHT. “What I mean by that is the offensive zone is way smaller, length-wise. So the D have a harder time getting to the middle to shoot the puck. So our active D got chances, our D sliding got no chances; they can get to you way quicker.”

In the end, that might be the real tantalizing thing. The United States stocked up on young, attacking defensemen. While that raises questions about their readiness for Olympic play, they very well might be able to be one of the most active units in Sochi.

Then again, Russia’s attack might change the tone of such discussions by the time Saturday’s game is over.

Bobby Joe Morrow, triple Olympic sprint champion, dies at 84

Bobby Joe Morrow
AP
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Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.

Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.

Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.

Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.

He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.

“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Johnny Gregorek runs fastest blue jeans mile in history

Johnny Gregorek
Getty Images
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Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.

Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.

Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.

Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.

“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”

MORE: Seb Coe: Track and field needs more U.S. meets

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