In the end it wasn’t the pedigree that prevailed for Team Canada, it was the relentlessness.
Shift after shift after shift.
There were an avalanche of snapshots as to why Canada is still golden throughout the tournament in Sochi.
One was the Ryan Getzlaf back-check from below the goal line in the offensive zone all the way to the face-off circle in the defensive end, the one that was highlighted by Eddie Olczyk during the Gold Medal Game against Sweden.
Another was Sidney Crosby’s breakaway against the Swedes, specifically the stick-check that produced it rather than the knockout-punch goal it delivered.
Team USA had wanted to be a hard team to play against.
Team Canada wound up being a maddening team to play against.
“When you have that kind of puck pursuit and that kind of back-checking pressure and that kind of resistance you can drive star players nuts,” NBC analyst Pierre McGuire observed.
McGuire was reacting to Swedish defenseman Jonathan Ericsson smashing his stick in frustration in the Canada game.
The only goal Canada would need against the Swedes was yet another example of strong-on-the-stick, strong-on-the-puck, and strong-on-the-man stubbornness.
Jonathan Toews won a one-on-one battle in the slot with Patrik Berglund and wound up tipping home this year’s Golden Goal.
To a man Canada brought an unmatched battle level, regardless of the situation or circumstances.
The words thrown around on NBC to describe it all included “surgical” and “clinical” and artistry.”
--Canada was so good at the Olympics it made goaltender Cary Price a non-factor.
Had this been a pick-up game I’m pretty sure Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick, Tuukka Rask, Sergei Bobrovski, Jonas Hiller and Ryan Miller would have been picked prior to Price.
A lot of guys could have backstopped Canada to gold.
-So the U.S. lost to Finland, 5-0.
Our tournament was over at 1-0 Canada.
It’s unfortunate that Team USA looked as bad as it did in losing to Finland, but there wasn’t anything of value to be gleaned from that situation, bronze medal included.
Finland can celebrate such things.
Team USA aspired to something much higher.
It was gold-or-bust for the Americans and it should have been.
That we didn’t react well to going bust is part of who we are.
Recall the words of the great Vince Lombardi: “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”
You can’t empty the emotional tank and leave it all on the ice and then play again the next day.
--Canada’s victory was a victory for Canada; there’s no getting around that.
But it wasn’t achieved without a significant contribution from the U.S. college hockey ranks.
Toews went to North Dakota, Chris Kunitz to Ferris State, Patrick Sharp and Martin St. Louis are Vermont products and Duncan Keith attended Michigan State.
--Can't let the Olympics go without stating again that Doc, Edzo and Pierre are my favorite broadcasting triumvirate in all of sports.
Gold medals all around boys, stellar job.
--As for getting over another one-goal loss to Canada, that’s going to take a while.
It might even require channeling the inner Captain Ahab that lurks deep inside all of us, at least those of us who have always perceived Canada as the hockey equivalent of the White Whale:
“To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”
That and congratulations, Canada.
You showed the world how it’s done … again.