Good morning Fackers. Well that was one hell of a heartbreaking loss yesterday no? Team USA looked like destiny's darlings when they tied it up with just 24 seconds to go, but Sidney Crosby's goal in OT gave the gold to the Canadians. Congratulations to Canada. They had an incredibly deep team and were under a tremendous amount of pressure to take gold on their home soil. Even in the disappointment of defeat, it was quite something to hear the entire arena sing O Canada as the Maple Leaf was raised over Canada Hockey Place.
As for the U.S., as tough as it is to come so close and take home silver, they should be very proud of what they did. Coming into the tournament they were considered a long shot to even reach the gold medal game. Instead, they rolled along and never even trailed at any point until Canada took a 1-0 lead yesterday afternoon. They were the youngest squad in the tournament, and it looks like this new batch of players will be worthy heirs to the Leetch-Richter-Chelios-Modano-Tkachuk-LeClair-Hull-et. al. group that set the bar so high through the 1996 World Cup and 2002 Olympics. That is of course unless the NHL pulls the plug on player participation in 2014 Games.
Even in defeat, Team USA earned honors. Goalie Ryan Miller was named Tournament MVP; Brian Rafalski earned top defenseman honors, and forward Zach Parise joined them on the all-tournament team.
Beyond that, we were treated to an outstanding two weeks of hockey that I hope will have impact that lasts beyond the heightened interest of the past several days. For all those who have made comments to the effect of "now I can stop caring about hockey for another four years", please realize that what we've witnessed over the past two weeks is not unique to the Olympics. The level of intensity shown throughout the Olympics is no different that what's on display for two full months each year during the NHL playoffs. The advent of widescreen televisions and HDTV has made hockey on television better than ever but it's no comparison to hockey in person. For my money, no sport is so markedly better in person than on TV than hockey. Do yourselves a favor and find out for yourselves.
And with that, I'll stop talking about hockey again and we'll get back to baseball. Spring Training games start Wednesday. Soon we'll have something resembling real baseball to talk about.
Photo credit: USA Today