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SOME OF THE BEST OFFERINGS FROM THE WINTER GAMES

Readers ask us

Which NHL team lost the most players to the Olympic?

The NHL sent 147 players to the Games, it says. The Red Wings and Blackhawks are tied for the most with 10 each. Each of the 30 NHL teams sent at least two players. All 12 teams in the tournament have at least one NHL player.

NBC uses Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir as figure skating commentators on the live A.M. broadcast but uses other commentators on the evening show (Sandra Bezic and Scott Hamilton). The morning comments are refreshing and honest. Why does NBC feel the need to change?

Bezic, a former skater and current choreographer, and Hamilton, the 1984 men's gold medalist, are NBC's longtime analysts. Lipinski, the 1998 women's gold medalist, and Weir, a three-time national champion and two-time Olympian, are making their Olympic debuts. Lipinski has worked as an NBC analyst for the past several years. Weir went into broadcasting after he retired from skating in October. NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus told si.com, "We feel that we have the two best figure skating teams in the world. ... It is good to have depth and succession."

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A Russian soap opera

It was the biggest demonstration so far concerning the Olympics, and it had nothing to do with gay rights, environmental damage, corruption or how much the Games cost. Dozens of Russians gathered Monday at the Moscow State Agroengineering University, some brandishing hockey sticks, to protest Russia's disallowed goal in its 3-2 shootout loss to the United States on Saturday. A crowd of mainly students, organized by the youth wing of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, erected a large banner reading, "Turn the referee into soap!" (above). That's a common Russian chant at sports events, implying the referee is fit only to have his bones and body fat boiled down for soap. The object of their good-natured ire was Brad Meier, the U.S. referee who overturned the score late in the third period because the goal had been dislodged from its moorings. Under international rules, the dislodging means the goal must be disallowed.

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NBC ups and downs

- Bob Costas returned to host NBC's prime-time coverage Monday, after spending six days in his hotel room waiting for his eye infection to improve. "Welcome to NBC's prime-time coverage on this Monday. I'm Bob Costas, sitting in tonight for Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira," he said in his reintroduction to America, noting the two NBC stalwarts who substituted for him.

- There was an angry online backlash to the Sunday NBC interview of U.S. skier Bode Miller by Christin Cooper after his bronze-winning super-G race. Cooper repeatedly asked Miller about his brother, who died last year, as the skier collapsed in tears. Miller said Monday he wasn't angry at Cooper, a former skier he has known for years. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell defended Cooper, saying "you'd be irresponsible not to tell that part of the story."

- NBC rebounded from its lowest-rated night so far to get 21.3 million viewers Sunday, a night that featured Miller and U.S. teammate Andrew Weibrecht getting medals, and ice dancing with American favorites. Though below the 23.3 million who watched the comparable night in Vancouver four years ago (with live coverage), it beat the 19.2 million who watched taped coverage in 2006 from Torino, Italy.

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Quote of the day

"For one I got fired. That opened up a world of opportunities."

Former NHL player and coach Kevin Dineen, asked how he ended up coaching the Canadian women's hockey team after its coach resigned in late December. The Panthers fired Dineen in November.

Compiled from Times staff, wires, nhl.com, si.com, Rogers Sportsnet.

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