NO MEDAL FOR YOU: US MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM FAILS TO REACH PODIUM

I thought maybe waiting all day to finish this would take some of the edge off and let me put things in perspective. I was wrong:

Well, fuck me.

Look, this is hard, because I don’t want to be that guy calling out a team for a bad loss after a heartbreak like the one dealt to the players of Team USA by their North American brethren less than a full day before the shitshow we saw this morning, especially because I’ve never played in the NHL and easier said than done and if you can’t stand behind our boys feel free to stand in front of them, but the Americans simply should have played better, especially because their opponent was essentially in the exact same situation.

No, a bronze medal would not have avenged 2010’s silver, or even really allowed this year to be labeled a success, but it would have been better than the listless, dead-eyed, mail-it-in play delivered by the American team. It would have allowed the US to leave Sochi with a shred of dignity. Credit to Finland, they had something to play for and it showed, but the Americans could have at least made a game of it. The Finns were also coming off a disappointing semifinal loss to an age-old rival: Sweden, who will play Canada in the gold medal game Sunday.

Speaking of Finland, holy Teemu Selanne. The Finnish Flash was on display today, scoring two goals, including the go-ahead goal to break a 0-0 tie just a minute and a half into the second period. Olli Jokinen scored 11 seconds later, and that was about it; Finland dominated play from that point onward. Selanne scored the fourth goal for Finland as well and earned his third bronze medal in his sixth Olympics. Finland (and Selanne) now has medals in four of the five Olympics that have featured NHL players (bronze in 1998, 2010, and 2014 and silver in 2006). Selanne finishes his Olympic career at 43 years of age and with 43 points (24G, 19A), more than any other Olympic hockey player.

The American team was at least consistent in its dreadfulness. Patrick Kane had two penalty shots (he now has the most Olympic penalty shots all-time), but was unable to score on either of them. Kane also took two bad penalties in the third. Phil Kessel, Team USA’s leading goal scorer, didn’t have a shot on goal. Jonathan Quick was frequently hung out to dry and gave up 5 goals on 29 shots. There are plenty of other players here who played badly today, but for the most part they were simply invisible. I don’t remember Ryan Callahan or Blake Wheeler even touching the puck and Dustin Brown barely played. The Americans led the tournament in goal scoring with 20 in their first four games, yet had none in their two final games, when it counted most.

Maybe they shouldn’t have left behind two of the highest scoring Americans at their respective positions, defenseman Keith Yandle and forward Bobby Ryan. Maybe they should have taken Brandon Saad over Blake Wheeler or Max Pacioretty. Maybe the brass shouldn’t have been making decisions based on nightmares (though to be fair, putting Erik Johnson on this team wouldn’t have helped). Whatever the reason, the fact was the Americans were inches from glory and instead are headed home disgraced.

I’m too tired and depressed to add pictures and media to this article. As a hockey fan, I’m looking forward to a good gold medal match between Sweden and Canada Sunday, but this really takes the luster out of what was a great Olympic tournament for a young American squad with plenty to prove and the talent to win it all. The worst part is that it’s looking less and less likely that the NHL will continue to send players to the Olympic Games, so this team may not even have a chance to avenge their shocking performance this year.

Then again, maybe that’s for the best. Look how our shot at vengeance turned out this year.

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One thought on “NO MEDAL FOR YOU: US MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM FAILS TO REACH PODIUM

  1. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-aww forget it

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