Big Lead Sports Bar

2/28/2010

A NEW CHAPTER IN THE CROSBY STORYBOOK


To be totally honest, I had mixed emotions in the immediate moments following Canada's classic 3-2 overtime win over the USA in the gold medal game of the 2010 Winter Olympics. My heart broke for the Americans, especially how they lost; but if anyone had to score that goal for Canada, I'm glad it was Sidney Crosby.

After the United States' third-period comeback, I really thought the Americans had enough momentum on their side to take the game in overtime. My fatal mistake was forgetting about a certain player on the opposing team that usually rises to the occasion in moments like this. And even if you are aware of #87 on the ice in a big moment, the scene usually ends something like this:


For King Crosby, the past year has seen him hoist the Stanley Cup in a Game Seven and win a gold medal in the most dramatic fashion possible in his homeland. He's won an MVP, an NHL scoring title, and has experienced nearly every major feat in the game of hockey, and all by the age of 22. Where does he go from here? Is there an intergalactic hockey tournament he can participate in?

As I said earlier, if there was any player that had to beat the United States in such crushing fashion, I'd say Crosby was the most palatable option to make the hit. He's the Golden Boy of Canada, he had the bulk of the pressure on his shoulders, and he's going to get an appropriate amount of the accolades. It couldn't happen to a better person. His landlord had the '87 Canada Cup, now Sid has his own international war story of heroism to share with 66 when he gets back to town.



For the U.S., it's a heartbreaking defeat, but they should hold their heads high for an incredible run. Losing only one game - the championship - in a tournament like this is nothing to be ashamed of. But when you come so close, disappointment is usually the first emotion that comes to mind. In the short term, it's highly frustrating, but in the long run, the country really opened some eyes on the international hockey scene and some individual players really raised their profiles. There were some big wins for American hockey as an organization in these games.

Ryan Miller, who will visit Mellon Arena on Tuesday night wearing the jersey of the Buffalo Sabres, was the tournament MVP, despite giving up the winning goal in the championship game. That speaks volumes about the effort he gave throughout the Olympics, which was nothing sort of spectacular (and for the record, Miller finished with a 5-1 record, 1.35 goals against, and .946 save percentage).

Miller has seen his share of bitter disappointments before, twice losing the conference finals with the Sabres, but he handled himself with class and dignity in a lengthy postgame interview with NBC that had to be tough to do. Even in defeat, the 29-year-old netminder has surely earned many new fans around the world, and deservedly so. It should be a busy week for the clothing store he owns in East Lansing, Michigan.

Miller's greatness aside, any discussion about the Americans would be incomplete without mentioning the last-second heroics of Zach Parise, the eight points of Brian Rafalski, the punishing hits of Brooks Orpik, the leadership of Jamie Langenbrunner, and the big goals of Ryan Malone. It took a tremendous team effort to reach the finals in a shark tank of tournament like this, and that's exactly what the U.S.A. gave.

For Canada, the feeling was much like the feeling in America when an Olympic basketball team wins the gold: equal parts excitement and relief. It's their game, and they don't let anyone forget it. And when it's played in their country, they don't just expect to win, they expect to win big. Unfortunately for Canada, no one told their opponents that the script called for them to roll over and die. The result was one of the most exciting hockey tournaments in recent memory, and one of the most climactic games that will ever go down in international play. As hockey fans, that's about all we can ask for, no matter who comes out on top. But the biggest winner of all is the game of hockey. What it showed the world over these Olympics was a performance that will live for the ages, giving leagues like the NHL a boost of adrenaline that any sport would treasure. Be prepared for a taste of that adrenaline on Tuesday night when Crosby and Miller meet again at Mellon Arena. I'm counting on some of that Vancouver electricity to transfer quite nicely to Pittsburgh.

Email: Mondesishouse@gmail.com Twitter: twitter.com/mondesishouse Facebook: Facebook Group

21 comments:

BAMAQT said...

For the first time I don't like Crosby. Sorry, The Red, White, and Blue comes first. I'll get over it.. maybe...

In the meantime, I hope my fellow Pens fans that show up on Tuesday will give Miller a Standing Ovation.

SantoGold said...

Very good summary Don. Perfectly said.

fugazi836222 said...

giving miller a standing ovation sounds cool and all, but how about sid? what i hope is that the fans are classy enough to realize how important an achievement this was for sid and how much it means to him, regardless of what country he did if for. pens fans better give it up for him on tuesday.

Jonny Van Mundegaarde said...

My first thought when Sid scored the goal was, "you ripped our heart out kid...but if it had to be anyone..."

At least it wasn't a fluke goal, I guess.

And I was listening to The Fan tonight around 10 pm, and I don't know the host, but I couldn't get over how he kept taking offense when callers did not hold Sid in contempt for scoring the goal. It was weird, like we were supposed to hate him for it. Losing in OT in the gold medal game is nothing to sneeze at.

Great tournament by USA. A silver medal is something to be very proud of.

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

I admit it thre my hat down in anger when that shot hit the back of the net, but the first words out of my mouth were: "if it had to be anybody......"


I was glad for Sid, but I just had trouble swallowing this one. The looks on the US players' faces said it all.

Miller was awesome yet again and he deserves all the praise he gets. Yet again, twas Sid who bested him........

Steve said...

Well, I guess we may have to deal with a new breed of Penguins fans/Crosby haters now. Maybe if we're lucky he'll be traded soon, so everyone can feel a little better about taking silver in an Olympic game. Better yet, maybe we can trade him for Malone, since he's American and a Yinzer too boot, that's much better than having a stinking Canadian on the team, right?

Sorry, but I didn't think US gold was worth rooting against the best player in the league who also happens to be the captain and leader of my hockey team, especially in a glorified All-Star game. If this was a game of amateurs, then hell yes, I'm rooting for the US, but a collection of NHL players who really don't know where Canada ends and the USA starts isn't going to get me feeling all Red White and Blue. I saved all that patriotism for the Bobsled and Snowboarding competitions thank you.

Chad said...

I was crushed when Sid scored! When I saw Sid celebrating I actually had the opposite reaction, anyone but him. I will be cheering my lungs out for Ryan Miller tomorrow night during the player intros. Then, back to rooting for Sid. But man that was hard to take and I don't think I'll ever enjoy thinking about Sid scoring that goal yesterday.

AJ said...

We should all thank Sid for allowing us to experience what it must feel like to be a Flyers or Rangers fan.

Now I know why those people are so cranky.

Chad said...

Steve, did you see the players on both teams? They were playing like it was game 7 of the Cup finals. Did you see the reaction of the Canadian fans after the victory. Or the USA players after the goal with 24 seconds left? This was NOT a glorified All-Star game. That was hockey played at the highest level with a lot on the line. It was great!

NickDawg said...

great analogy AJ, didnt think of it that way but very clever!!

Although I am 110% for USA, when Sid scored it just kind of seemed like destiny for him...I was pissed for about 5 minutes but its hard to just get pissed at such a good stand up guy like Sid, especially after he brought the pens lord stanley last year...im just happy we have him on our team

At least the Russians and ultimate douche bag Ovechkin didnt win it or Richards from philthy

Corey said...

it was a great game.

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

Steve,

For once, I have to disagree. I do not think anything about that game had the makings of a Glorified All-Star game. It was a close checking, very tightly played battle.

Those guys wanted to bring home Gold for their country and they were definitely playing like it was a game 7.

I am not turning my back on Sid and I don't feel that me being upset because the USA lost means I want to see him traded, either.

That is a bit extreme to say anybody wants him traded because we didn't support Team Canada against the USA.

The reality is that, one day, Crosby may well be playing for a different team. I will still wish him well and he will likely be my favorite player in the league, but when he is playing the Penguins I am certainly not going to be rooting for him to win.

Players come and go, it's the TEAM that is root for the most.

Steve said...

Sorry, I meant All-Star game as it applies to the roster and the fact that these games do in fact replace the All-Star game this season. Yes, I saw the intensity of the game and it was really great playoff type hockey but I'm not going to jump on the team Miller/Parise bandwagon simply because they're American -- not in this instance anyway -- especially since I didn't consider the American team any kind of underdog in the first place.

Besides, both teams along with Russia were favored to medal if not win the gold, so I found it easier to simply root for my favorite player(s) because when it's all over, I'd rather see Crosby with Olympic gold than Malone, or even Orpik, especially if that makes him a better player and leader for my hockey team because of it and when Mario was in the Olympics, I rooted for Canada too.

The fact that the US team had to settle (if that's what you want to call it) for silver doesn't change my feelings or opinion of my country and I don't think Canada is now somehow better because their collection of "All-Stars" can beat ours either. If people really took the loss so hard and personally as Americans then that's really too bad. For pete's sakes people it's Canada! I've encountered bigger cultural and social differences driving from PA into West Va. and as long as you stay out of French speaking Quebec, you could wander into Canada and be there for days thinking you were still in the US.

The whole comparison to the Miracle on Ice thing pisses me off too because anyone like me who witnessed that American team and those games knows that they have absolutely nothing in common with these games and these teams.

Steve said...

Oh, and to those who think I'm just a casual hockey fan who doens't get the importance and magnitude of games remember; I'm the one who throws half full beer bottle and remotes through the TV screen because my team lost a game or my goalie gave up a $hitty goal..in the regular season no less.

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

Pens acquired Leopold for 2nd round pick?

Jonny Van Mundegaarde said...

In Shero we trust...

Clint Pitts said...

Does this mean Goligoski, Eaton or McKee gets demoted?

Don't know much about Leopold but he was a top line defenseman and more of the Orpik type than a Gonchar type. Got a lot of minutes on the PK.

Plus...he's American.

SantoGold said...

The Pen's marketing/operations department need no help from me. But with Ryan Miller coming to town tomorrow, it might be a cool thing before the game starts to acknowledge by name each individual, from both the Pens and the Sabres, who were at the Olympics. As fans we obviously want to cheer loudly for our own Olympians. But giving some love to someone like Ryan Miller on enemy ice seems fitting as well.

Justin said...

Despite any ill-will I may have garnered for him in the past, Ryan Miller can man the pipes on my team any day.

BAMAQT said...

I am with you Chad. I just think the classy thing to do is give Miller a Standing O on his first game back in the USA after the olympics.. no better place than the burgh. No one here is hatin on Sid. It is SOP to give Sid praise in Pittsburgh...

Just saying.....

http://www.ehow.com/members/stevemar2-articles.html said...

There is so much to say about the gold medal men’s ice hockey game at the 2010 Winter Olympics. First, as an American, I am disappointed with the outcome. However, I was impressed that the USA was able to force overtime. The game-tying goal was exciting to see, and I honestly didn’t expect the USA to score it. Luongo played very well in goal for Canada, but I am shocked Miller got the Olympic MVP Award. Giving the award to a player who lost the gold medal game is unusual, but he did keep the USA in the game and had a stellar tournament overall.

Congratulations to Canada and I am at least glad the men did not celebrate in the same fashion that the Canadian women did when they won the gold medal. I am also happy that this game did not go to a shootout. That would have been an awful way to decide this game and the gold medal winner.