Big Lead Sports Bar

2/22/2010

TREMENDOUSLY TREMENDOUS


Edzo, you said it all. Last night's 5-3 U.S. upset of Canada, inexplicably pushed to msnbc for TV purposes, was the rare sporting event that was as good as advertised. It was the biggest win for American hockey since the 1980 Miracle on Ice, and the first win for the U.S. over Canada since 1960. To quote Mr. Olczyk once more, those were some happy humans on the ice at Vancouver last night, indeed.

The story of the night has to be American goalie Ryan Miller's 42 saves, withstanding a furious Canadian attack that got even more intense as the game neared its climax. But a close second would have to be the continued offensive contributions of Brian Rafalski, who scored two more goals in the win. His four Olympic goals have amazingly matched his 57-game total for the entire 2009-10 season so far.

The Americans also got goals from captain Jamie Langenbrunner and Chris Drury, one of the team's few elder statesmen. But it was the team's final goal, an empty-netter by Vancouver Canuck Ryan Kesler, that illustrated the anything-it-takes effort that the U.S. gave on Sunday.

While the U.S. now skates to the tournament's #1 seed, the Canadian team is once again buckling against the tremendous pressure that's been applied by an entire nation. Canada must now win a Tuesday contest with Germany, but would then have to get past Russia just a day later to have a shot at the gold.

Last night was a tremendous win for the American team, but much like Pitt basketball winning the Big East tournament, it's important to remember that there's a bigger prize to be had. The game of hockey has taken a huge hit in this country. It's been pushed off of ESPN and onto the backburner of the U.S. sports consciousness, with the exception of anything involving Sidney Crosby and/or Alex Ovechkin. But last night might be a real push to getting the game back into the level of coverage it deserves. Witness the Twitter reactions of some non-basketball writers during the game last night:

CBS basketball analyst Seth Davis: "I have not watched a second of the VT-Duke game, and I don't even like hockey. Riveting!!!!!!!!"

SI.com college football guru Stewart Mandel:
"I don't know a damn thing about hockey, I don't really understand what's going on, but this has been pretty darn cool."

Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock: "
Last three minutes was like the greatest round of a Frazier-Ali fight. Wow. Hockey is what soccer wishes it was (ducking 4 cover)"

SI.com NBA writer Chris Mannix: "
NHL better not pull pros from the Olympics. They draw more fans from this than anywhere. Hell, I'm looking for tix to the next Sabres game"

As bad as Canada is taking the loss, it really couldn't be better for the sport as a whole. Everyone is talking hockey, and we're not even into the medal round. Maybe by the time that rolls around, hockey will actually get aired on a real network.

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5 comments:

theWellHungarian said...

I would say the game was as good as advertised, but to be honest the game wasn't really advertised. I still don't understand why NBC didn't push that game more throughout the week leading up to it. Sunday night, primetime (7:40pm), USA vs. Canada, Olympics, 30th Anniversary of Miracle on Ice, etc... This should've been a lay-up and NBC dropped the ball. I heard someone say last night that the idea of having NHLers in the Olympics is to attract new fans to the game of hockey. By putting the marquee game of the 1st week on msNBC & on a night where everyone is glued to their TVs, is a slap in the face to the NHL.

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

That was an unbelievable game. It felt like a SCF game in the final minutes and the USA holding on for dear life.

Great performance by Miller and Drury, Callahan, Orpik, and Erik Johnson were playing ridiculous hockey in the last 5 minutes.

Something I find interesting that nobody is talking about is the early whistle and no goal call in the Russia/Czech game. The puck was laying in the crease uncovered and clearly visible, then went in. Although it was after the whistle, the whistle NEVER should have blown. If that stands, it is a tie game last instead of Czechs having to pull their goaltender.

Ed said...

I agree, this game should have been on NBC vs MSNBC. They make you watch promos for their left wing nutjob shows. But what a performance by Ryan Miller. He took that late onslaught like a prize fighter just trying to get to the bell. Unbelievable! And Kessler diving for that puck. He's a legitimate super star diving for that puck like a 4th liner trying to make the team. Outstanding.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

That was how the game of hockey was meant to be played.

Everyone I know is buzzing about that game. The talent and skill level on display was insane.

We opted for a young, speedy team this year and it's paying off so far. The Canadians (and even the Russians to some extent, especially in that game against Slovakia) look like a team of hired guns. Our guys look like a TEAM.


I guess the only bad side is that it brought out the "Ovie > Crosby" crowd again. The same Ovechkin who leaned on Geno's 2 goal performance, yet still took all of the credit, earlier in the day. And the same Ovechkin who couldn't even get a shot off TWICE in the shootout against Slovakia.

Crosby's not worse than Ovechkin, he just ran into Ryan Miller.

Rege said...

Canada this whole tourney seems to be the one having the biggest trouble with physical play IMO. When they get hit their body language is more of that " whoa, what the hell dude-it's the Olympics chill out."

I don't think they were expecting (Swiss/US) to come out and control the physical aspect of play the way they did. They have too much of this is supposed to be ALL STAR game tourney attitude.