Blog Entry

Ryan's the hope

Posted on: February 21, 2010 11:49 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2010 7:51 am
 

Ryan Miller was still trying to catch his breath several minutes after stealing what was easily Team USA’s biggest win since the 1996 World Cup. Yet he managed a quick chuckle before answering the question.

“Well it is Canada –U.S.,” Miller told a television interviewer who wondered if there was added significance to Team USA beating Canada 5-3. “We’re happy to get the win.

They should be. Winning this very entertaining final preliminary round game upped the Americans record to 3-0 and earned them a bye into the quarterfinals. That’s the bonus.

But the real feel good thing comes from this being a statement win. One that says American players don’t have to take a back seat to anyone in the world. It’s been a message coming through this season with international wins for speedy Team USA’s at the Under-18 and World Junior Championship levels, and it was reinforced by the Americans beating Canada and Miller proving he gives them as good a chance as anyone to win the gold in this Olympic tournament.

Wouldn’t be another miracle on ice either, not if Miller plays the way he did against the heavily-favored Canadians. He was zoned in from the outset, square to shots and rarely allowing rebounds against some of the best offensive players in the game.  It’s generally the way he’s played all season for the Buffalo Sabres, and why he is mentioned in several debates about the NHL’s most valuable player this season. And it’s the reason conventional wisdom had Miller as the key to Team USA’s chances in Vancouver.

That won’t change after Sunday’s game. Pure and simple, Miller won this showdown with Canada and with Martin Brodeur, who had some fine moments of own, just not enough to offset the ones he’d rather forget.  Miller had to because while the Americans may have played their best and smartest overall game of the tournament so far, they were outshot 45-22. And if you think that statistics can sometimes be misleading, understand that this one accurately reflects the amount of time the play was in Team USA’s end.

The home team kept coming in waves all night and fired repeated high percentage shots and to a large extent, especially after Canada tied it early in the second period, the Americans looked like they were just trying to survive the onslaught. And Miller made it happen with big save after big save.

“We did a good job keeping them on the perimeter and for the most part I could see puck,” Miller said. “We made them stretch things out.”

The Americans speed helped, not only in their own end where Team USA had its most efficient effort in the tournament, but up front too where the forwards managed to create enough scoring opportunities with their pressure. Team USA ratcheted up what was already some serious pressure on Canada and forcing normally steady players like Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, even Brodeur himself, into uncharacteristic giveaways that led to American goals.

The tone was set when Brian Rafalski took advantage of a Canadian misplay and scored less than a minute in. Team USA never trailed in the game, clinching things when Ryan Kesler outraced Corey Perry and directed a loose puck into an empty net in the dying seconds.

So now Team USA gets an extra day off while the Team Canada will face Germany in a qualification game with even more pressure than they faced coming into the tournament. One loss and they’re done, which would suit Miller just fine.

“We’re really happy about our progress so far, but we have to try to get not too high now, to respect our opponents every night and to build for our opponent,” Miller said. “Who knows, we may have to face these guys again, and they’re going to be plenty mad.”

And if they have to face Miller again, plenty scared.

Category: NHL
Comments

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2010 11:07 am
 

Ryan's the hope

CanadianWinters said, "You do not just score a goal. You need all of your players to work together."

Where did I say they don't need to work together?

Where did I say defenders don't need to "get back on defense, backcheck, sticklift, blah, blah, ... "?

Where did I say they don't need passion or drive?

I said they don't need to get their motivation from scribes to perform. They don't.

What is your source of information for claiming the American defense has lost some confidence? Everything I've read suggests exactly the opposite.

While the Canadians may be confident, character building losses only last until the next loss.

If the arrogant American comment was directed towards me, I will say this: I didn't make any arrogant comments. I didn't say we will win gold. I didn't say we will win our next game. I said score more goals, and we win. Win the next game and we move forward. And IF we keep doing that, we win the gold. I made no statement about the amount of effort required to do that. I didn't suggest it was easy.

CanadianWinters, I'm going to cut you some slack here, because it's obvious that you have reading comprehension difficulty when it comes to the english language. Au revoir, monsieur.




Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2010 8:13 am
 

Ryan's the hope

And if they have to face Miller again, plenty scaredIf you put up over 40 shots and you score 3 times, you are not scared of a goalie Wes. There is only so far American pride can carry your stupidity



Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2010 8:09 am
 

Ryan's the hope

If a hockey player playing in the olympics needs a sports writer to call them out to get them to perform, they don't belong there anyway.  Self respect and coaches are going to be enough.  Taking shots at players from the cheap seats or a news source adds nothing to their performance.  They don't need to be great in every game.  They only need to ourscore their opponents.  They have accomplished that goal, and are sitting on top.  Next game, outscore the opponent and move on.  If you keep doing that, you end up with the gold medal

   Im sorry, you are a douche. You do not just score a goal. You need all of your players to work together. By what your sayting is the 1 team can have 2 shots and win 1-0 while the other team has 32 shots, you say the other teams was demolished. In hockey, you have to defend your man, get back on defense, backcheck, sticklift, blah blah blahm. All those factors play into getting the puck back. You need pasion, and a drive to advance. The american' defense has lost some of its confidence, and they got destroyed in the physical game. It caught up to the with about 10 minutes to go. The canadians had the puck in the offensive zone for over 1 1/2 minutes. The Canadians won in this loss because they are confident about their abilities, and will hang their head high and keep playing hard. Sometimes losing is a good thing. Not so much for the arrogant american on this site



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2010 8:26 pm
 

Ryan's the hope

But there is not ONE writer out there, Canada, USA or any other country, that game this team a chance to win this game. In fact, it was "expected" to be a blow out. Yes, there is. Hi, I'm a writer who thought the United States had a chance. I didn't expect them to win, but I knew it could happen.

In fact, any writer who DIDN'T give the United States a chance is a darn fool. The U.S. is a team with NHL players too, lots of them. This isn't Belarus over Sweden.



Since: Nov 12, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2010 7:39 pm
 

Ryan's the hope

I couldn't agree more! Just another CBS writer that can do nothing more than share with us the obvious. Funny how so many fans of the game could see this a few days ago, but this "sports writer" could not. 

When you can beat a team like Canada....at their game....and on THEIR ice....in front of THEIR rabid fans, you have accomplished something special.

Team USA still has a lot of work to do to even medal. But there is not ONE writer out there, Canada, USA or any other country, that game this team a chance to win this game. In fact, it was "expected" to be a blow out.

I was one of the few that was thrilled with the direction that the United States took when putting together this team. Exchanging experience for youth seemed like a good idea to me. So far, you can't argue with the results.

A "hot" goalie can take an average team and make them something special. Right now, team USA is something VERY special.  




Since: Dec 7, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2010 7:03 pm
 

Ryan's the hope

Moneybags says: Team USA might not win gold this year, but they have more character, desire, and work ethic than Canada.  That was shown tonight

Are you serious? At what point in the game did u see that they had more desire and work ethic? The empty net goal? Canada carried the play and peppered Miller with shots all night and the Americans would break out and beat a fish-out of water looking Brodeur on strange goals. What the Americans showed last night was that Ryan Miller is the best goalie in the tournament and the Canadians shuold have thrown Roberto in. I hate when people rip apart the article then make stupid comments after like that one.




Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2010 5:38 pm
 

Ryan's the hope

Great for the USA but anyone who really knows hockey should have able to plainly see that the Canadians were not out matched or outplayed.  Aside from a very spots here and there they carried the play, controlled the puck, dominated the boards, but couldn't finish against Ryan Miller.  On the other end, a couple of poor mental lapses by Brodeur made it too easy on the Americans who weren't forced to work for their goals.

If the USA wants to win gold, Ryan Miller is the hope. 




Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2010 4:37 pm
 

Ryan's the hope

"But with that said, I don't know if i necessarily agree that it was wrong of Wes to call out team USA after the first two games."

If a hockey player playing in the olympics needs a sports writer to call them out to get them to perform, they don't belong there anyway.  Self respect and coaches are going to be enough.  Taking shots at players from the cheap seats or a news source adds nothing to their performance.  They don't need to be great in every game.  They only need to ourscore their opponents.  They have accomplished that goal, and are sitting on top.  Next game, outscore the opponent and move on.  If you keep doing that, you end up with the gold medal, and that's plenty good enough.



Since: Oct 8, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2010 4:07 pm
 

Ryan's the hope

Team USA has worked hard and played well in the first 3 games picking up 9 out of 9 possible points. They deserve to be where they are but like Wes said, we cant relax and rest on our laurels just because we beat team Canada......Sweeden, Russia,Finland and the Czech Republic can all match what Canada can do and if we let our guard down, we could be out of the medals.....Im very proud to be an American today....30 years to the day of the Miracle on Ice



Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2010 3:16 pm
 

Ryan's the hope

They just need to keep that same intensity and realize Finland and/or The CR can easily knock us out and leave a very bad aftertaste.

Agreed Volleydog, and as with all sports, that to me beats teams more often than anything...complacancy after a big win...we can't ease up thinking cause we dealt Canada a blow that the Czech's or Fin's won't be able to...

That being said, I like to think the Canada game is the beginning of a young team coming together at the right time...like the NFL WC team that gets hot and runs the table to the SB...I just hope that thinking is correct...


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