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U.S. men’s semifinal hockey game to air live

Staff And Wire Reports

NBC said that Friday’s Olympic semifinal hockey game between the U.S. and Finland will be broadcast live in all time zones, including Pacific. It will begin at noon Pacific time Friday.

Sunday’s gold medal hockey game is so far scheduled to be tape-delayed in the Pacific time zone at 3 p.m. (The game starts at noon).

As a historical note, the Beijing Olympics gold medal basketball game was also scheduled to be tape-delayed but when the U.S. made the finals, NBC did show the game live. So, all you USA hockey fans who have been e-mailing and asking, there is still hope.

-- Diane Pucin Slovakia forward in stable condition

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Slovakia forward Lubos Bartecko is in stable condition after suffering a head injury as the result of a blatantly dirty hit by Norway’s Ole Kristian Tollefsen during the teams’ playoff qualifying game Tuesday at Canada Hockey Place.

The hit dropped Bartecko to the ice and his helmet popped off. He struck his unprotected head on the ice and bled profusely. Medical personnel quickly came to his aid and took him off the ice on a stretcher.

According to a statement issued through the Olympic News Service, Slovakia team spokesman Peter Dobias said Bartecko was treated on site and later taken to the medical clinic at the Vancouver Athletes Village.

Tollefsen was given a major penalty and a match penalty and won’t be eligible to play in Norway’s next game.

-- Helene Elliott Hello Vlade

Former Lakers center Vlade Divac couldn’t exactly blend in, even though he was wearing a ski jacket and snow pants just like everyone around him.

As president of Serbia’s Olympic Committee, the 7-foot-1 Divac showed up at Whistler on Wednesday to watch two of his country’s skiers compete in the women’s giant slalom.

Divac has taken up skiing since retiring from hoops nearly three years ago. Asked if he liked hitting the slopes better than guarding, say, Shaquille O’Neal, Divac laughed and said, “Skiing is much easier.”

Divac played 16 seasons with the Lakers, Charlotte Hornets and Sacramento Kings.

Cross-Country

Sweden ended a 22-year drought in the men’s 4X10-kilometer cross-country skiing relay. The win was so convincing that Marcus Hellner grabbed a Swedish flag as he circled the final stadium loop headed for the finish line. Norway was second and the Czech Republic was third. The U.S. team of Andy Newell, Garrott Kuzzy, Torin Koos and Simi Hamilton finished 14th.

Speedskating

Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic picked up her third medal of the Games, her second gold, by winning the women’s 5,000 meters. Her other gold came in the 3,000 meters and she also won a bronze in the 1,500 meters. Stephanie Beckert of Germany won the silver and Clara Hughes of Canada got the bronze.

The U.S. was not expected to contend for a medal and it didn’t. Jillianne Rookard finished eighth and Maria Lamb was 15th.

Curling

In a tie-breaker for the final men’s medal-round spot, Sweden defeated Britain, 7-6, and will face top-seeded and unbeaten Canada on Thursday.

-- John Cherwa


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