Welcome to the final day of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. It was a long and hard-fought hockey tournament. On the women's side, the Canadians prevailed over the Americans 2-0 in the gold medal final, thanks largely in part to Marie-Philip Poulin and goaltender Shannon Szabados. On the men's side, Canada fought back from the qualification round to win three straight to make it to the gold medal game; whereas the American men have went undefeated throughout the tournament to get this far.
I will admit that while I certainly do hope that the United States wins the gold medal, I am proud of the fact that they got this far. Sure, in the short term, I won't be pleased that they lost; but did many even think they'd get this far? No, the team was considered to be good, but not as great as Russia, Sweden, and especially Canada. In fact, per Puck Daddy, the NHLPA scheduled flights back for the American players early on Sunday - not thinking they could be in the gold medal game. Yet, this team already beat Canada once and have avoided Russia and Sweden by winning what games they had. Yet, here they are. I am glad to be wrong on second guessing Brian Burke's and USA Hockey's selections. Jack Johnson and Chris Drury have been useful, as have the whole roster. Short of Ryan Whitney, who has been played so little that it's not his fault, is there anyone on this team who hasn't contributed in some way? Quite frankly, this is a very good team; this is not a miracle. I repeat, THIS IS NOT A MIRACLE.
As for Canada, congratulations for getting this far when it looked bleak early. Sure, one could argue that the playoff rounds weren't exactly challenging save for the final 9 minutes against Slovakia. Nevertheless, it's all about results and you are where you were expected to be ever since the games were announced. This is not only a chance to get revenge over the Americans who beat you last weekend, but to end the games on a high note with a gold medal as Canada's "owning of the podium" has led them to third overall (behind Germany and, look at that, the United States of America).
Today is the final day of the Olympics. The Olympic break will officially end at midnight when rosters are unfrozen, trades will be made as the trade deadline looms in the distance, plans will be made for games to begin again on Tuesday (for most teams), and the focus will return to the usually-hectic March and April months in the NHL season.
Please use this post to place all your comments about the men's ice hockey final between the U.S. and Canada. If you feel so inclined, SBNation.com has a GameThread up for this game.
February 28, 2010 - Men's Ice Hockey Gold Medal Match
3:15 PM EST/12:15 PM PST - United States of America vs. Canada (NBC)
Want to watch the games online and legally? For the Americans, NBC has streaming options. For the Canadians, CTV has streams. Thanks to user C.J.Richey121 for the NBC information and to user dchoubak about CTV. This game is live across the U.S. and coverage will begin at 3 PM EST/12 PM PST.