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Opinions about the hockey game

A few thoughts on today's United States-Unified Team hockey semifinal:

"They have absolutely no chance. The Russians are too technically good. No. No. No. No. How many ways can I say it?" _ France coach Kjell Larsson.

"It's the Canadian or the Unified Team who will win the tournament. I think the Canadian team is first on paper. They have five of the best players and in (Sean) Burke they have the best goalie in the tournament. But if the Unified Team plays as they did Sunday evening (when it beat Canada) nobody can stop them." _ legendary Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak.

"This is the only chance in my life to play the Russians in the Olympics. You know I'll play." _ U.S. defenseman Greg Brown, who suffered a concussion, a broken nose, two black eyes and a gash on his forehead in the game Monday against Sweden.

"Unified has the best power play, including the 22 teams in the NHL, I've seen this year. The USA team has been guilty of taking bad penalties, and if that happens again, they could wind up a few goals down in a hurry." _ CBS announcer Mike Emrick.

"From a hockey standpoint, a gold medal is a gold medal. Because of the politics, can they make the same impact we did? I wouldn't think so. Maybe if we were playing Iraq it would be a different feeling." _ 1980 U.S. hero Mike Eruzione.

Skater told she can't flip in practice

French figure skater Surya Bonaly, in third place going into today's long program, received a rare warning from the referee of the women's competition.

Ben Wright of the United States told Bonaly's mother Suzanne that Surya would not be permitted to do her back flip, a maneuver that she includes in her exhibition programs although it is illegal in competition.

Suzanne Bonaly was furious, saying she sensed vibrations "of hate, not love" toward her daughter. Surya, 18, did her workout without the back flip.

Some officials suspect Bonaly, a former gymnast, uses the back flip to intimidate other skaters.

It became an issue during practice before Wednesday's original program, when Bonaly flipped and almost landed on Japan's Midori Ito. "I don't say she did it intentionally," said Wright, "but, of course, it's an intimidation whether it was intentional or not."

Tidbits

Austria's Stefan Kreiner won a bronze medal in the Nordic combined team event, then dropped and broke it Thursday while packing to go home. Team officials said Kreiner was given a replacement. Medals for the Albertville Games are made of crystal enclosed in a band of gold, silver or bronze, a first at an Olympics. Scripps Howard News Service reported that George Steinbrenner saw a woman spectator nearly break into tears when a speed skater fell, and he consoled her with a gift of a U.S. Olympic Committee pin. As Steinbrenner left the woman asked: "Is he the Don Juan of America?" Unified Team biathlete Sergei Tarasov has recovered from an infectious ailment and will return to Moscow next week, officials said. In the demonstration sport of curling, Canada will play Switzerland and Norway will play the United States in today's semifinals. On the women's side, Canada meets Norway and Denmark faces Germany.

_ TIMES WIRES

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