Yes, I realize this is primarily a football website but I think a USA vs. Canada post is in order. You could be watching the Combine and I would understand if you were. We are all starved for football right now and that’s what we get. Except it is kind of boring after awhile and come on, we all need excitement in our lives. What is more exciting than Olympic hockey? (Okay, I may be a little bit biased there).
When Team USA was announced during the Winter Classic, I was pretty stoked. I thought it was a team who could be a medal contender. Young players, very workmanlike, role players. I totally thought they could get the job done. I was in the minority, but I WAS RIGHT. Remember that.
I love Canada. I am practically Canadian. I want Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock to succeed. But not today. Today belongs to Brian Burke and Ron Wilson and Team USA.
Canada is favored to win gold. They were all along. That didn’t stop Team USA from beating them 5-3 in the preliminary round in what was arguably the most exciting hockey game in recent history. The most exciting game that nobody saw because it wasn’t on NBC, but that is a rant for another time.
USA won their next game against Switzerland 2-0 and easily beat Finland 6-1 to put them in the gold medal game. Canada also looked great in their next two games, beating Germany 8-2, then Russia, who prior to the games was favored to win a medal, 7-3. They struggled a bit in their third game vs. Slovakia with a final score of 3-2.
Team Canada is still favored to win. They have great coaching in Mike Babcock. I love Babs, he is a great coach, but the Wings have been struggling this year. I don’t believe it is due to his coaching other than perhaps he has been too focused on the Olympics. They have amazing forwards in Dany Heatley (go on and hate, haters. He will always be a Badger to me, so there is nothing but love here), Patrick Marleau, Jarome Iginla, Rick Nash, Jonathan Toews, and Sidney Crosby (it pains me to write this. If you want Crosby love, just tune in to NBC, there is no lack of it there. He is a great player, I said it, that is all), among others. Roberto Luongo has been solid in net. Scott Niedermayer, Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, and even Chris “Elbows” Pronger have been awesome defensively. All and all they have a solid team. But I’m just not sure they can get the job done.
Team USA has kicked some ass. Ryan Miller has been unbelievable. If you want to see amazing goaltending, you’ll be watching him. Brian Rafalski and Ryan Suter have been the best defensive pair on the ice (I wonder who the Wings could trade for Suter…). I mean I even like Brooks Orpik this month. Zach Parise, Captain America Jamie Langenbrunner, David Backes, Patrick Kane, my homeboys Phil Kessel and Joe Pavelski, Ryan Kessler – all amazing. They have youth. They have speed. They have heart. Watch this team.
Now I know a lot of you are not hockey fans. I know you come here for football news and are probably all WTF that you are reading about hockey. It’s the 30th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice but it will be no miracle if the USA wins today. It will be hard work and determination. A drive and desire to stand atop the podium.
No snark from me today. Maybe tomorrow, after the game. Just watch some good hockey today at 3PM Eastern on NBC.