Sunday, February 23, 2014

On Team Canada winning gold medal in hockey (and what it should mean to USA hockey)

It's almost like the USA victory over Russia in the preliminary round didn't happen. I think that is the lesson USA Hockey should take from what was ultimately a disappointing showing in the Olympics.
The Americans have become a better collection of players, but they didn't pull together as a team.
Canada did prove to be the better team in the semifinal game. Their defense was not only big and physical, but mobile and simply controlled the game, and, really, the tournament. There wasn't a weakness in goal. Carey Price played well.
But there was also an unrelenting focus and purpose Canada displayed at the points that matter. They had more will, not just skill along the blue line.
That also proved true in the bronze medal game. Finland has fierce hockey players. Can the same be said about the Americans?
There will be those who will pass this off as "hockey doesn't really matter in this country."
Well, it mattered in 1960 and, particularly, 1980. And in the Canada Cup in 1996. There were 27.5 million Americans who tuned into the gold medal loss to Canada in 2010.
That loss wasn't nearly as disappointing, though, because you knew that version of the American squad left all it had on the ice.
This time, it didn't seem like it, did it?
There isn't necessarily shame in losing, but there is in being outworked.
To me, that's what made this tournament so disappointing for the Americans.


Blogger Barry said...

Pat, it started with Stevie Y and by far the best GM Canada has had. I use to watching Canada play pick up hockey in this tournaments, lots of goals, lots of penalties and hope the goalie bails them out. They usually do okay. This time they played their system, built by Stevie and Babcock, throughout the games. They have to play this way or they would have not have won. Your right Pat,Canada does get a gold metal when it comes to passion for the game and the effort they put on the ice.

12:04 AM 

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