Saturday, February 27, 2010
The Gold Medal game between the USA and Canada, Feb. 28, 2010 Olympics
Who could've predicted the results in Men's Ice hockey in the 2010 Olympic Games? Just a few odd facts...
Canada finished 6th after pool play. The host nation squeaked by the Swiss in a shootout, lost to the USA, and beat Norway. Not exactly what the country expected.
Slovakia beats the Russians in a shootout.
The Swedes lose to Slovakia in the Quarter-Finals.
The Russians get blown away by Canada in the Quarter-Finals in an unlikely match up.
The USA team goes undefeated to the Gold Medal Final as the sleeper in the tournament.
And now the stage is set for a re-match of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics between Canada and the USA. A rivalry that, over the last few years looks to replace Canada-Russia.
The Americans are young, fast, and have a World Class goalie in Ryan Miller. All the characteristics that gave the USA Gold 30 years ago in the Miracle on Ice game in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.
The Canadians are slow to start, but have come back to show heart and hard work as the tournament has progressed. I think that the best thing that could've happened to this Canadian team was to lose to the USA in pool play. It did 2 things:
1) It gave Roberto Luongo the opportunity to usurp Martin Brodeur from the #1 goalie position. Brodeur had walked into that role after sitting behind Patrick Roy in '98, and now it is his turn to sit behind Luongo.
2) It gave the Canadians a feeling of let down and disappointment, and a wake up call to see that they are not as good as they thought they were in a one game format.
So now it comes down to 1 game. The best of seven final and this is it. Anything can happen in one game, right? The Americans showed how they can dismantle a team like they did in the first period of the Finland Semi-Final yesterday.
The first goal will be key. If Canada scores first, the roof will come off the joint, and you will see new inspiration. Like Mike Richter, the USA goalie in 2002, you will see the pressure mount as the offense keeps on coming, wave after wave. Can you withstand all of it? It's happened before, as the Miracle on Ice proved.
But will history repeat itself?
I don't know, but I know that this will be a great game. I just hope that the referring doesn't factor into this game. If they let the players decide this game, it should be a classic. For my 2 cents worth, I think that the Canadian team you will see tomorrow will be a totally different team than you saw against the USA last week. They have finally found the line match-ups that are successful, and they have blown away the Russians en route to the Gold Medal Game on home soil.
I think this will be Canada's proudest moment in Men's hockey.
GO CANADA GO!!