Team Russia 6, Team Canada 5
Team Russia will play Team Sweden for Gold, while our Canadian boys will come out like a house on fire and beat up on Team Finland for the Bronze. They might as well give that medal to the Finns, who would appreciate it far more than we as Canadians do. For us as Canadians in hockey, the only colour medal to us that matters is Gold. Yet not to play for the Gold is completely unacceptable to us. Losing to the Russians? -It's the absolute worst way to do it.
What a meltdown...
I thought long and hard about writing a blog about the Canadian Jr's before the start of the tournament on Boxing Day. My gut feeling on the matter was this:
That Canada would not win Gold this year again, and have another meltdown
Yet my heart wanted to believe the following:
That we as a nation solved the problems from years gone by, and we were committed to showing the world that we were the best nation of hockey period, and beat the hell out of every team in every game by at least 2 goals.
Obviously, my heart was in the right place, yet my gut feeling won...again.
However, where most people see disappointment and heartache, I see opportunity.
I see an opportunity present itself when a kid like Boone Jenner takes it upon himself to spear another player that costs his team an opportunity that eventually came up short. It occurs to me that when a player does this, the entire message of his character comes out, and it hasn't been instilled into him that this is not even an option on how to react on Team Canada.
Judging from the head coach of Team Canada Don Hay, I see this how this has been allowed. Hay had this to say about the incident,
"He was kind of provoked into the situation. I know he should have more discipline and stay away from that, but there was no need for the Russian player to come over to him after he had been hit," said Hay.
"When you play an emotional game like that, you do things that you regret later. I'm sure Boone regrets doing that and I'm sure he'd rather be playing than sitting out."
What complete horseshit. This is EXACTLY the reflection of why our program is coming up short in International Hockey.
This reflects the lack of discipline that the team has, and it shows that the coaching and mentoring are absent from above. The lackluster effort that Team Canada showed us was pathetic, and not at all representative of the game these kids were trained to play. This was proven even moreso by the comeback that the Canadians mounted when faced with a 6-1 deficit, and how hard they worked to get back in that game. That effort proved that they were capable of playing that kind of hockey, and having that work ethic.
The loss? Sure it hurts, yet we could look at it as a sign of what to improve on. There is nothing wrong with our resources to field a world class team of Junior hockey players. However, it is the mental game that we are getting beaten on that needs to be evaluated. Simply put, just because you have the best hockey players in the world, does not necessarily mean that you have the best hockey team in the world.