Rangers Olympic Spotlight - Questions and Predictions
/ New York Rangers
We caught up with a few Rangers prior to the Olympic break and asked them to share their thoughts on the Winter Games ...
MARK MESSIER: Who is going to win the gold? "It's tough to predict who will win. There are some strong teams who have a good shot. I think strong goaltending will be the difference." _________________
ANDREAS JOHANSSON: Other than hockey, what other Olympic sports do you like to watch? "I really like to watch the downhill skiing. It's pretty exciting.
What was it like to play for Sweden at the 1998 Games in Nagano? "It was a thrill for me to represent my country and a great experience to a be part of such an event. It's something that I'm very proud of."
Who will win the gold in Salt lake City? "I think the Czech Republic or the United States. If I had to pick one, I'd go with the Czechs." _________________
PETR NEDVED: Favorite Olympic moments? "Definitely playing for Canada in the 1994 Olympics. We walked away with the silver medal, losing in a shootout to Sweden, but it was a great experience for me."
Who will walk away with the gold medal this time around? "It's tough to say. I would say that there are really three teams to beat - USA, Canada and the Czech Republic. I think the gold medal winner will come from this group." _________________
SYLVAIN LEFEBVRE: What other Olympic sports might we find you watching over the next week? "I've already watched a little bit. I like the speed skating and know a few athletes that are competing for Canada in that event. Downhill skiing and ski jumping are also exciting to watch."
Any favorite Olympic memories that stand out in your mind? "I would have to say the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, watching speedskater Gaetan Boucher win three Olympic medals."
Predictions for the gold medal in hockey? "It's so tough with all the NHL guys in the mix. At least four teams - USA, Canada, Czech Republic and Russia - can come out of the tournament and play for the gold. The Czechs have ruled international hockey over the last few years, so we'll see." _________________
MANNY MALHOTRA: Any other favorite Olympic sports aside from hockey? "Anything that's on, really. I'd say the speedskating, bobsled, luge and ski jumping would be my favorites."
What is your first Olympic memory? "When I was in sixth or seventh grade I did a school projects on the Olympics, so that was really my first time really following the Games. I also remember how big of a deal it was in Canada when the Olympics were held in Calgary in 1988."
Who will win the gold? "I don't know who Canada will be playing, but it will be somebody! It would be great to see a Canada - USA gold medal game." _________________
STEVE McKENNA: Favorite Olympic sports other than hockey? "I'd have to say the biathalon, ski jumping and downhill skiing."
Gold medal game predictions? "As long as Canada wins, that's all that matters!" _________________
DAVE KARPA: Who's your darkhorse to win the gold? "I think Russia. If Khabibulin stays hot, he can take that team far. But I hope Canada wins. A Canada - USA gold medal game would be great for hockey." _________________
MIKE YORK: Other than hockey, what other Olympic sport do you enjoy? "I find the bobsledding really interesting. Just beacause you never see it, really. It looks like a pretty crazy sport." _________________
MIKE RICHTER: Which Olympics do you like better from a fan's perspective, winter or summer? "I like the Winter Olympics far better than the summer. I like the older sports. You know what I'm getting into recently? The baithalon. That is just unbelievable! The other day, a woman missed three targets after skiing 20 kilometers, and you get a minute off for each target you hit as I understand it - and believe me, I don't understand it well. That's one grueling sport. It's also pretty compelling to watch the ski jumping as well. I really like watching the downhill stuff. Oh, and the speedskating I love. And look at the luge. One little mishap and you're done. It's incredible!"