Sunday, February 23, 2014

The last hockey game for Team USA in Sochi - the last disappointment!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, yesterday was yet ANOTHER major disappointment for the USA hockey team, when the men got stomped by the Finnish team. We all know that the Olympics has people who win medals, and even more people who do not. I am not one of those arrogant Americans who believe that we should win everything, but the way that the Games ended for our team was a little somber for my liking.

And for me, photographically, it was depressing, as most of my photos are of other teams outperforming ours and other teams celebrating their wins. The men got shut out of their last two games, which means that I have no photos of them celebrating anything. That sucks.

But, with that said, here are the photos from the bronze medal game.

Before the game started, I saw this cute little girl in the stands and took her photo for the team web site.

The game started OK with both teams scoreless, although most of the period was dominated by the Finnish team. This meant that there was very little action on my side of the rink. Again, as a photographer who can not easily move positions around the rink, this is frustrating.

There were scoring chances for the Americans, but Tuukka Rask, the Finn goalie was like a wall in front of the net. Oh, and since everyone is asking for my camera settings, by this last game, I had standardized on ISO 1250, 1/1250, sec, and f/3.5.

Zach Parise working hard in the crease.

I was excited to see that I got the puck going in Rask's glove in this photo. I just wish his face was visible in the shot.

I saw Teemu contesting a call on the ice, and I couldn't figure out what was going on. For the first time ever, I saw a player get a penalty shot for pushing someone's stick (that was on the ice) away from a player.

But as good as Patrick Kane is, Rask was better, and the Americans remained scoreless.

When shooting with the Canon 1DX, at 12 photos per second, it is really funny to see some of the facial expressions we capture.

In the second period, Teemu Selanne score his second goal of the game. As bad as this was for the American team, this is the type of shot that us photographers hope for. I have the shooter in the shot, the puck going into the net, and the goalie watching it all happen.

The Finns had the Americans on their heels for the bulk of the game, spending a lot of time in the USA defensive zone.

As amazing as this is, there were TWO penalty shots for Patrick Kane, and he came up empty on both!

As the game progressed, and I could see it slipping away from my team, I started grabbing any action shots that I could get. These are always good for the team and players to have.

My friend, Joe Pavelski, facing off right in front of me.

And look who I spotted in the stands. This is Polina Edmunds, the U.S. figure skater who lives right by me. I took some photos of her so that I could give them to her family when we get back home.

Someone wrote to me last night and said that they saw me shooting on the glass with a fisheye lens. They asked that I posted a couple of the shots, so that they could the results. Honestly, when we shoot with the fisheye, it is a gamble whether we get a good shot or not. I prefocus for a 3 foot distance, set the camera to f/5.6, and then hope that the players come in close (but not so close that all I get is a back of a jersey). Here are a couple of the better fisheye shots from last night.

I love the way that the distortion of the lens makes the hockey stick so prominent in the photo.

I like the criss-crossing of the sticks in this shot.

And the Finnish team just kept scoring and scoring. It was getting embarrassing for the Americans.

This guy behind me actually caught a puck. There were very few that flew into the crowd, and just like in Vancouver, they are worth a lot of money. I turned around and shot this photo of the man, and I thought, "that is the first positive photo I have taken tonight".

Team USA did their best to point at least one puck in the net, but that was not to be.

And the clock wound down to 0 and the Finnish team celebrated. I was zooming in to get a tight shot of the players, when I saw someone throw at the papers in the air. I quickly zoomed the 70-200mm lens out and grabbed some photos of this. I was happy to get Teemu Selanne  (the team captain) in the middle of this shot.

They were very excited to get another medal for hockey.

Big smiles for the team from Finland.

Not so for the Americans.

After the game, there is an area called the "mixed zone" where the media can interview the players. I saw someone interviewing Zach Parise, and grabbed this shot.

And so ends the US hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Mostly on a low note, but hey, we are at the Olympics....

I am now up in the mountains shooting my last sporting event of this Olympics, the four man bobsled. I am then hoping to jam back down the mountain to catch at least one period of the gold medal hockey game, and then photograph the closing ceremonies.


Anonymous said...

Excellent coverage as usual. And as a Finn the game was a great one to watch. Still I was really suprised as I thought the game would much much closer in results. Great to win bronze and a Finland has a fabulous run in the last Olympics although the brightest medal eludes us. Swedes always the achilles heel for us..

Unknown said...

You have done an incredible job of bringing us to the Olympic Games. You have given us an up close and personalized view of all that went on. We are very lucky to have you share this with us. Tiring for you, but thrilling for us. Thank You!
Chris Ryan

Gonçalo Silva (PT) said...

Hello Jeff! I know you read all the emails and posts and always answer. I've had this experience before when we exchange some words. I want to congratulate you for your great work in Sochi, and thank you for your intense sharing that allowed us to have access to stunning photography and follow the olympic winter games. For everything, thank you.

Greg B. said...


Thanks for taking the time for the updates during the Olympics. I enjoyed reading your blog during the Olympics. I especially liked the details you went into about what you had to go through and how you got the great shots that you did. It made the Olympics more enjoyable for me.

I like the details about how you go the blurred action with the Bobsled runs. You encouraged me to go out and take some myself.

Thanks again
Greg Brennfleck
Anchorage Alaska