The last thing I wrote in my blog detailing Canada’s 3 preliminary games was something along the lines of; despite the skepticism, don’t panic, these guys are the best players and coaches in the world for a reason. Well, they certainly proved that to be true with a thrilling 3-2 win over Team USA. For those that weren’t part of the millions of viewers watching the game, Canada jumped out to a 2-goal lead on gritty goals by my team MVP Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry. The US squad pushed back and eventually made it 2-1 on a Ryan Kesler deflection and Zach Parise tied it at 2 with about half a minute left in the game to send it to overtime. Sidney Crosby, who didn’t do much during the final, walked out off of a Jarome Iginla cycle and buried the game winner past Ryan Miller to seal it for Canada. It wasn’t pretty but it will be one of the most talked about and remembered goals for a long time.
The Crosby goal is the epitome of what makes Canada the best. #87 is just another player over the course of a game and then out of nowhere he comes through in the clutch. That’s Canadian hockey players for you. Just when you think they’re down and out, they have the ability to go to that next level, like Crosby did on that one play. Canada won this tournament because of all the things that make them consistently great. They don’t necessarily have the most skilled players (see Russia game), but they tremendous depth at every position that no one can compete with. At some point during the Russia game, the semis vs. Slovakia or the final, each and every player contributed in a big way at some point. Its their depth and character that won them this tournament and its their depth and character that always has and always will keep them on top of the hockey world.
Even though this is more of a “Canada blog”, I do want to give credit where credit is due. Team USA defied my expectations and a lot of others. Some said they were too young. Some said they were too slow. Some said they didn’t have enough scorers and high-end talent. But the Americans were physical, they were fun to watch, they were aggressive and they were a very good hockey TEAM. Patrick Kane and Zach Parise in particular are phenomenal athletes and I look forward to watching them over the course of their NHL careers. Of course, my favorite goalie in the NHL Ryan Miller was sensational and was the clear-cut tournament MVP.
Politics, economics and collective bargaining aside, the NHL has to send players to Sochi, Russia in 2014. The show that USA and Canada put on today was great for hockey. Of the millions upon millions of viewers, I’m sure there were quite a few casual hockey fans that were so entertained by the game that they might just say to themselves “this was fun, I should catch an NHL game or 2 this year”. I hope the NHL and Gary Bettman are not stubborn to the point where they would suggest that the Olympics have negatively affected the league. Yes they shut down for 2 weeks, which hurt momentum, but the exposure gained for the game of hockey and the NHL was priceless.
Congratulations to Sidney Crosby who now has a world junior gold, a cup and an Olympic gold at the age of 23. People can say he was on a stacked Junior team, that Malkin carried the Pens to the Cup and that he was a non factor in the olympics, but at some point, people will have to admit that he might actually be good, and not just lucky. Congrats to Iginla, Pronger, Brodeur, Morrow and Niedermayer who have all likely played in their last Olympic games. Congrats to Rick Nash who showed the world he is a complete player. Congrats to the San Jose line and Dan Boyle; even if they lose in the playoffs no one can take this accomplishment away from them. Congrats to Jonathan Toews for asserting himself as an elite player in the world. Congrats to Eric Staal, hopefully the first of many Staals to win Olympic gold. Congrats to Getzlaf and Perry who are now one world championship away from joining the triple gold club. Congrats to Mike Richards for being a consummate team player. Congrats to Bergeron and Seabrook, even though they got more ice time in the celebration and medal ceremony than they did during the tournament. Congrats to Drew Doughty who has officially shown that he is one of the best defensemen in the world. Same to Shea Weber and Duncan Keith who were amazing. And finally, congrats to Luongo who has been questioned his entire career for never winning anything big. Guess that won’t happen too often anymore.
As exciting as this was, Canada can start preparing for the 2014 edition of Team Canada. If you thought this team was good; take a look at who might be joining them in Sochi….
Forwards: Evander Kane, Matt Duchene, James Neal, John Tavares, Jeff Carter, Jordan Staal, Steven Stamkos, Taylor Hall.
Defense: Jay Bouwmeester, Dion Phaneuf, Mike Green, Marc Staal, Tyler Myers, Brent Burns, Karl Alzner
I hope you enjoyed the Olympics as much as I have. For the last time – GOLD CANADA GOLD!
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.