Four years after suffering heartbreak at the hands of Team Canada in the gold medal game of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, all America wanted was another shot.
We got it, and it went wide.
I began my plea for belief by asking Americans to abandon reason, foresight, and logic because reasonable, logical foresight led to the conclusion that Canada would win. I used reasonable, logical foresight when I predicted Canada would win gold.
Throughout the game, the Canadians were faster than the Americans. Canada’s passing was crisp, while the US had trouble connecting tape to tape. For most of the second period, the Americans looked like they were just trying to keep up, while Canada dictated play with a textbook offensive zone cycle that exhausted America’s defenders and opened up plenty of room for Canada’s big, speedy forwards.
Jamie Benn, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf, all of whom are over 6-foot-2-inches and 210 pounds, were constantly working the puck down low in their offensive zone. Their dominance showed, as Benn had the game’s only goal on a beautiful redirection right in front of Jonathan Quick. The US defensemen had no way of keeping up on the wider ice surface that let Canada cycle the puck smoothly and keep the play out of their zone for large periods of time.
The US forwards had trouble breaking through Canada’s stonewall defense and failed to score even once against Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price. Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, and the other Canadian defensemen were aggressive in keeping America’s forwards to the outside and rarely allowed Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel, Joe Pavelski, or any of the myriad other talented American forwards a good look at the net from inside the face-off dots.
I predicted at the beginning that Canada would repeat as gold medalists, and that prediction hasn’t changed. Despite some uncertainty at times in these Olympics (like their nail-biter quarterfinal against Latvia), Canada has proven that they remain the team to beat (and that it will not be easy to do so). Though Sweden will prove a tough challenge in the gold medal game, if the Canadians play the type of game they played today, there is little chance the Swedes will be able to win. Canada has a chance to win double gold for the second straight Olympics, as their women’s club repeated as gold medalists by defeating – you guessed it – the United States yesterday.
The United States, meanwhile, will have to settle for the chance to play for bronze tomorrow against Finland, who are no slouches themselves, having taken Canada to overtime (and scoring more than zero goals while doing it) and eliminated host Russia in the quarterfinals. The Finns also have good reason to show up on Saturday: it’s the last chance for Teemu Selanne to win a Olympic medal. The Americans have less than 24 hours to put this gut-wrenching loss behind them and save their only chance at some hardware for the next four years.
At least nobody made any crazy wagers on this game that they will regret later.
Command Sign, the company that runs the digital sign featured above, amended the screen following the game: