Blog Entry

USA players can hold their heads high

Posted on: February 28, 2010 8:11 pm

This really had the feel of something created a few hundred miles to the south.

Think about it. Put the two best teams in the tournament together --  natural rivals  to boot – let ‘em go toe-to-toe for 60 minutes without coming to a decision, and then have the poster boy for all that is good about hockey winning the gold medal for his country with a brilliant overtime goal.  

No wonder Vancouver is nicknamed Hollywood North.

The film industry likes to use this locale and some day it might want to make use of the dreamlike script written by Sidney Crosby who fulfilled his hero’s role and saved Canada from a collective national breakdown after Team USA forced overtime with 25 seconds remaining the third period.   In what was a game for the ages, and as good a sales pitch as possible for the NHL, Crosby one-timed a shot past goalie Ryan Miller to give the host county a dramatic 3-2 overtime win and the right to call itself the best in the world again for at least the next four years.

Just don’t expect those voices to be as cocky as they once were after the upstart Team USA stretched the heavy pre-tournament favorites to the limit and made a definitive statement about how good the level of talent being developed in this country has become.

Team USA arrived at this tournament transitioning to a new generation of players, and with the youngest roster in Vancouver quickly meshed into a dangerous unit that often seemed on the verge of destiny. The Americans came into these Olympics as a self-described underdog, yet never seemed to play the role by winning five games in a row including a stunning preliminary round upset against Canada.

That was the one game that perhaps changed the dynamics of the tournament. It alerted the other teams to just how dangerous the
Americans had become, especially with Miller being an unshakable force in their goal, and it sent a strong message to the Canadians that the gold medal was not going to be an entitlement that many up north assumed it would be.

“It woke them up for sure,” said veteran American defenseman Brian Rafalski, who was a force throughout the tournament for his team.
“You could see the games they played after us that there was a whole different purpose, almost like they were a whole different team.”

One that went on to win four games in six nights to end up atop the medal podium. The Canadians rebounded easily against an overmatched German team then had to go through tough Russian and Slovakian teams to get to this title game, but they had to take the intensity level up another notch to get past Team USA that competed furiously to the end in the gold medal contest. 

“It was a lot harder than we thought it would be,” Crosby told NBC after the game. “It took a lot of work.”

And it required surviving some shaky goaltending by Roberto Luongo. Luongo took over the job after Martin  Brodeur struggled in the preliminary game against Team USA and was solid for the most part, but when the Americans ratched up the pressure, he had trouble handling the puck on several occasions and twice that led to goals. That erased the 2-0 lead Canada had given him and it set up the nail-biting finish that Crosby, generally inconspicuous for the last two games, made happen with his work in the American zone.

With the teams playing four-on-four for the overtime session, Crosby poked the puck loose from an American defender, quickly releasing teammate Jarome Iginla's return pass before Miller could cut down the angle.

“My move there was going to be aggressive, he just picked up his head earlier than I thought,” Miller said. “We ended up one shot short.”

But a lot farther than anyone might have predicted before the tournament.

And with much to look forward to internationally in years to come.


Category: NHL

Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2010 5:30 pm

USA players can hold their heads high

Is it true Miller is taking out Canadian citizenship?Wink

Since: Nov 6, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2010 12:34 am

USA players can hold their heads high

Yer kidding, right?  I see it exactly the opposite way.  The US has 4 players that would make Canada's lineup...over 10 games, most would be close, but Canada wins at least 7 times.  In game 1, Miller won the game...Canada outplayed and outchanced the Americans badly.  Game 2 was as a close a game as you could imagine, but that is an aberration, I think.

Since: Jul 20, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2010 7:04 pm

USA players can hold their heads high

As an American I am very disappointed that the US team didn't win that game and come away with the gold medal.  However I am very proud of the US team and how they played especially considering what was expected of them going into the tournament.  Silver is no fluke and it certainly goes to show how well the United States has developed talent over recent years and it makes me and most serious American hockey fans very excited for future US teams at the next games in 2014.  The US is not yet on the same tier as the Canadians as far as player development is concerned but these Olympics showed that the Americans are taking huge leaps in the right direction.  I don't think anyone can say the US team is a lower echelon anymore.

I am happy for the Canadian national team as well.  Being a Sharks fan, I get to see Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle, Joe Thornton, and Dany Heatley play all season long and it's great to know those guys are coming back with gold medals.  It should help elevate their level of play here in San Jose and hopefully get us deeper in the playoffs for once.

All this stuff going back and forth between US and Canadian hockey fans is pretty immature.  American fans who are spending their time talking smack about how Canada sucks and whatnot need to stop being poor sports and be proud of their team and what they accomplished.  Canadian and other international fans who are calling Americans sore losers are generalizing most sports fans in this country.  I'm sure if the Canadians would have lost there would have been a lot of Canadian fans talking smack about the US and how their victory was a joke, etc.  It's just the nature of some people who like to play tough behind a keyboard.  I think most Americans feel like I do and are proud of their team and what they have done.

Congrats to Canada and their fans and congrats to the United States and our fans.  It was a great game and a pleasure to watch.  Let's leave it at that and look forward to the future.

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2010 6:53 pm

USA players can hold their heads high

USA wins 8 of 10 are you serious! Martin Brodeur gives you two goals in the first game USA is outshot 45-23 and that is a buttkicking? Canada needed 4on4 to win the gold? How about USA needed two goal posts, a break away blunder by Crosby, and a desperation goals with 24 seconds left with no goalie just to force 4on4? Stick to analyzing NFL, and NBA games buddy.

Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2010 4:51 pm

USA players can hold their heads high

It was awesome to watch 60 minutes of Hockey without a Goon taking-up a spot on the roster  

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2010 3:59 pm

USA players can hold their heads high

No doubt Miller was out standing but to say Luongo wasn't is garbage.

Bottom line? Most Americans don't understand the game of hockey so we need to quit wasting our time.  Luongo played great and anybody that didn't see it that way doesn't know what they are talking about at all.

Now, will he finally step up in the Stanley Cup playoffs?  He should, he's capable of being great all of the time.  For some reason though the last couple seasons he hasn't done as well as he should.  He makes way too much money to give up soft goals when it counts the most.  It's time that he plays in the playoffs like he did in the olympics.

Since: Nov 30, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2010 3:15 pm

USA players can hold their heads high

"And it required surviving some shaky goaltending by ." Wow, classic sports writer that really doesn't understand the game of hockey. Luongo let in a weak goal Vs. Slovakia but stoned Demitra late to prevent it from going to overtime. It would be a stretch to fault him for the Kesler goal as it was tipped directly infront of him slowing and changing direction of the puck. He played great throughout the tournament, and was consistent night in and night out. I think his stats and 5-0 record speak for itself. No doubt Miller was out standing but to say Luongo wasn't is garbage.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2010 3:14 pm

USA players can hold their heads high

Secondly if hockey is the number one ratings in your country how come you lost Quebec and Winnipeg? Like I said now you people could enjoy your gold, now you could go back to being our red headed step child or the 51st state whatever you prefer. I expected better from a Canandian..

Canada lost those teams for 2 reasons, actually a combination of 2 reasons.  One, the U.S dollar was worth a lot more then the Canadian dollar at the time.  And just as important was the fact that salaries skyrocketd to a point they couldn't handle it.

You try running a business where you get paid in one currency but have to pay between 40-60 percent more in expenses in another currency... see how you make out.

Now back to your sewer... oops, I mean home. 

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2010 3:08 pm

USA players can hold their heads high

But technically the US v canada ended up 1-1 and your win took OT.

What?  You're about the 10th american on these boards to say that so I felt the need to respond. What are you talking about???

The first game was not in the medal rounds, thus it meant squat.  It's like the regular season in hockey.  If a team gets swept 4-0 in the season series but wins 4 games to 1 in a 7 game series does that mean it's 5-4 for the other team? What does that mean?

The team that wins in the playoffs ( or in a medal elimination round game like the olympics) wins and the other team loses.  End of story.

No wonder fox tried that fancy puck hoping U.S fans could suddenly learn to follow the puck and enjoy the game more, maybe even learn something.  


Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2010 11:50 am

USA players can hold their heads high

Sure - whatever.

Give youselves a Platinum.

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