Too much Canada in the end. The talent advantage that Canada had on paper translated to a razor-thin advantage on the ice Sunday afternoon in Canada’s 3-2 OT win in the gold medal game. Sidney Crosby scored the game winner. I don’t know how much bigger a star he could be in Canada, but let’s just say if Canada ever hosts another winter Olympics, I have a pretty good idea who is going to light the torch. The overtime goal was probably accompanied by a collective sigh of relief in Canada where anything less than a gold would have been a huge disappointment. It’s a nice final piece of redemption for Canada who earlier in the Olympics were taking some heat for their poor start and “own the podium” program. They close the Olympics with the most gold medals ever in a single Olympics.
For the Americans, they probably played a better game than they did in victory last Sunday. Without the shaky Martin Brodeur in net, and without any breaks around the crease, the US had to fight back from a 2-0 deficit to force overtime. There were still moments when Canada looked a little overwhelming. A post or two early in the third kept the United States alive, but the shots and chances were far more equal this time around. Ryan Miller was again tremendous for the Americans, and was named the tournament’s MVP in a silver medal effort. Considering the limited expectations of the Americans coming in, it was a good tournament for them, despite the disappointing finish.
It was a captivating game to watch, there’s no question. The intensity and skill level impossible to miss. I came to the realization that these games are a lot like what would happen in an NBA All-Star game if everyone tried. It’s hard to think of another major team sport scenario when the absolute best players are playing at this level. It made for great television, but we still don’t know if the NHL will be back in the Olympics. There’s been some mixed feelings about postponing the season again for Soshi in 2016. After watching the game today, it’s hard to see why the NHL wouldn’t want to be involved, but you have to realize that what unfolded in Vancouver was a dream scenario. At least for North America and the NHL.
Imagine if the final had featured Russia and Sweden? Interest in North America would have been right around zero. This is what happened in Torino. The Americans and Canadians were eliminated early, Sweden played Finland in the final, and no one in the US even batted an eye. It didn’t give the NHL any good publicity, they essentially stopped the season for nothing. This year they look like geniuses, but who knows what will happen four years down the road. Personally, I hope the NHL stays involved. Simply the chance of having a game like this would be worth it for me.
(No sign of beer or cigars on the ice yet. These guys would probably get drunk and partied under the table by the women’s team)