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Top 10 Americans To Watch in 2011-2012: Rocco Grimaldi

Rocco Grimaldi, University of North Dakota

Position: Forward
Height: 5-6
Weight: 165
Hometown: Rossmoor, Calif.

Last season: Scored 73 points (39 goals, 34 assists) in 58 games for the U.S. National U18 Team.

Over the summer: Selected in the second round (33rd overall) by the Florida Panthers in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

What’s the lowdown? Already dubbed WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year in both the media and coaches polls, all eyes will be on Rocco Grimaldi as he enters his freshman year at the University of North Dakota.

The Best Games Ever

In a couple of hours, every Canadian will wait with baited breath for Jacques Rogge to say the words that mean so much to every Olympic host country.

They will gather inside BC Place, at home in front of their television sets or near movie screens set up in locations around the city, eager for the IOC president to declare the 2010 Winter Games to be the best Olympics of all time.

Squaring The Social Circles

The other night I had my first and probably only brush with greatness on the streets of Vancouver. No disrespect to the U.S. Men’s and Women’s hockey teams, which have been great in their own right.

I was getting off the train line, weaving my way through the crowd while dodging raindrops, when I almost walked right into Vince Vaughn. 

Mixed Nuts

I used to work with a guy at a newspaper who would grimace every time the news editor would ask him to write a headline that involved squeezing big blocked letters into very small spaces.

He would shout across the newsroom to the editor who designed the page, "When you die and go to hell, and trust me you will go to hell, I hope you have to write these ridiculous headlines all day long."

I feel the same way about the genius who dreamt up the concept of the Olympic mixed zone, where mosh pit meets the media.

Enjoying The Journey

To borrow a phrase from Al Bundy, the Olympics are no time for regrets. That’s what anniversaries are for.

(Apologies, of course, to my beautiful wife.)

“Citius, Altius, Fortius” is the Olympic motto for Faster, Stronger, Higher. In this era of instant gratification and intense media scrutiny, some skeptics would have you believe a better Olympic motto would be “woulda, coulda, shoulda.”

And that’s too bad because they’re missing a good game.

Monday Malaise

Monday was a beautiful day in downtown Vancouver. The birds were singing, the sun was shining and the temperatures were hovering in the mid-50s.

Still, there was a dark cloud hanging over the city, and all of Canada for that matter.

Those pesky Americans, the team that has flown under the radar for most of the tournament, had its coming out party in a 5-3 shocker over the mighty Canadians.

Smitten With Mittens

What is three blocks long, has 10,000 eyes and more dollars than sense?

It’s the line that snakes up, down and around Seymour Street, home of the Hudson Bay Company and the Olympic Super Store.

From Dead Head To Pinhead

I managed to pull off what I’m calling the biggest trade this great city has seen since Brian Burke managed to get both of the Sedin twins in the 1999 NHL Draft.

Shaun White can have his Olympic gold medal. I made my own score of top-of-the-podium proportions yesterday.

I traded a USA Hockey Olympic pin for, get this, a Grateful Dead pin produced by the San Francisco Fire Department’s Haight Street division.

Media Malaise

One quirky little fact of life for an Olympic journalist is that if it’s news, it’s usually news to those closest to the action.

Seriously, you’re so busy dealing with the here and now, you often have no clue of what’s going on just down the street. Whether it’s some bozo tossing a trashcan through a storefront window in protest or a whole lot of people having a great time at Robson Square, there are always two sides to every Olympic story.

The Eyes Of Canada Are Upon Us

It was hailed as the most anticipated hockey practice in the history of the sport.

The Pope could have been spotted partying at Robson Square and it would not have been the top story on many local broadcasts.

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