Olympic Viewing: Hockey-induced Twitter explosion, Emrick on duty

Highlights from television coverage of the Sochi Olympics:

MORNING THRILL: Hope those "sports fans" who complain online about all the figure skating were up early Saturday. They have no excuse for missing the thrilling hockey game between the United States and Russia, won by the U.S. in an eight-round shootout.

RERUN: NBC moved quickly to schedule a full rerun of the game, on the NBC Sports Network Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET.

TWEET CRAZY: Twitter went nuts when U.S. forward T.J. Oshie scored the winning goal, hitting 72,000 tweets in the minute after the game finished. That tweet-per-minute level was easily more than for any other Winter Olympics event so far, Twitter said. In a few hours, Oshie's following jumped from 92,000 to 174,000 — and counting. Oshie's name had been mentioned in some 136,000 tweets by noon ET, including one by President Barack Obama.

PROFESSOR EMRICK: Math, medicine, linguistics — there seems to be nothing hockey announcer Mike Emrick doesn't know and can't fit effortlessly into the call of a game. When the Russian crowd began chanting during the home team's game with the U.S., Emrick quickly said that what they were saying, roughly translated, meant "go get the puck." When a partner suggested that American Ryan Kesler's hand was badly swollen barely five minutes after it was hit by the puck — even though Kesler wore a glove — Emrick cautioned, "we won't diagnose that." Kesler quickly returned to the game. And when, during a break, the camera caught four Canadian hockey officials sitting in the stands who each had NHL experience, Emrick remarked, "2,134 wins in four guys." Wow. Does the man have a calculator implanted in his head?

WHAT HOCKEY GAME?: In Scandanavia, Saturday's biggest event was the women's cross-country ski relay, a thrilling race where Sweden's Charlotte Kalla stormed from third place to win the gold medal. In Norway, the fifth place showing was a shock and cause for national mourning. NBC analyst Chad Salmela expertly put the race and surprise finish in perspective, saying he couldn't have picked the results out of a hat.

RATINGS: With a lackluster men's figure skating competition on Friday, NBC's prime-time viewership was 19.2 million, the Nielsen company said. It was the first time during the Sochi games that viewership dipped below 20 million, and was off from the 23.3 million NBC reached during the corresponding Friday in Vancouver four years ago.


David Bauder can be reached at dbauder@ap.org or on Twitter@dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.