If you told me at two weeks ago the US men’s hockey team would medal at the Olympics, I would have been overjoyed. And assumed it was bronze. So the silver medal is only disappointing because of the improbable turn of events the last few days.
The loss to Canada was not unexpected – on the contrary, I thought the first game would be 6-2 Canada and this one would be 3-2 Canada. So I was right one out of two. Same win percentage as the US team vs. Canada.
The result was disappointing, although the effort was heroic. Who knew Zach Parise was so awesome? And Rafalski at what, 36? could play like a 20 year old? Or that Ryan Miller was the real deal? I still don’t know the names of half the US team, but I’m a fan – and a believer.
What made the loss unbearable – truly unbearable to this Caps fan – was the person who scored the game winner. Cindy Crosby had done, uhm not much, in the three games I watched (Canada-Russia, Canada-USA and then gold medal game), but then he turned it on and put the stake through our hearts.
Some random observations from this hockey fan:
About Team Russia — they need a new coach. How could Babcock get his checking line against Ovechkin-Malkin-Semin even when Bykov had the last change? I vote Larianov for 2014, and I think he’s already lobbying. While we’re on the subject, I think Putin should comb the Russian hinterlands for some bulky teenagers and turn them into defensemen for the next Olympics. When an aging Gonchar (gag!) is your best D, you know you’re in trouble. (Reminds me of the Caps: thin on the blueline …)
Team Sweden, it’s time to hand off the baton. The 2006 gold medal team is last century. Bid a fond farewell to Lidstrom, your stalwart leader. Say goodbye to Alfredson and Forsberg (what was he doing on the team anyhow?). Nick Backstrom is the new face of Team Sweden.
For the US? Go Ron Wilson! Speed is key. And so is coaching and motivation. Let’s get it done in 2014. Start combing hockey clubs, colleges and AHL for the stars that will take us there.
Don’t forget to pick John Carlson, either.