Red, White and Blue

Hockey Men's - Canada Wins Gold Beating USA 3-2 - Vancouver 2010

An underdog is a person or group in a competition, frequently in electoral politics, sports and creative works, who is popularly expected to lose.

Do you believe in miracles?

“Sometimes, the best team in a tournament does not take home the Gold medal”. That was Team USA head coach Ron Wilson’s quote after the United States lost in Overtime to Team Canada during the Mens Ice Hockey final at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver .

The miracle aspect I did not buy into however, I did buy into the fact that this Team USA roster had the goods to compete and possibly defeat the best. That was, of course, after looking over Ryan Miller’s season as well as the entire unit as a whole one at a time.

The “underdog” tag was placed on the U.S. team the day Brian Burke announced his roster (as well as the second annual Winter Classic being played). That was until everyone started to realize that a great, hot goaltender could steal games.

Ryan Miller is that goaltenders mold. Posting a stingy 1.04 goals against average during the two week tournament and being named the MVP of the tournament proves why, along with buying into coach Wilson’s system as a whole, the Americans took the Gold medal game into overtime.

The positive that did not show on one single players face on team USA as they recieved their “Silver” medals is that the “experts” didn’t even feel this team would play for a medal. Let alone take the Gold medal game into an extra session.

Aside from Miller, what can be said about the efforts of the entire roster except congratulations. Congrats on an amazing effort and bringing home the Silver medal. You are on the map as one of the top countries in the world. And, to be fair and give credit where credit is due, you had already beaten the team who captured the bragging rights tonight. Do not look back on these Olympics and dwell on them. Carry your head high with pride in knowing that as an underdog you defied the odds.

Hockey Men's - Canada Wins Gold Beating USA 3-2 - Vancouver 2010

Tim Gleason, Zach Parise, Chris Drury, Erik Johnson, Brian Rafalski, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Kane; the list can go on without excluding a single player – a list of warriors, of “olympians”. Bobby Ryan, Joe Pavelski, Paul Stasny, Jonathan Quick, Ryan Suter, Jack Johnson, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Phil Kessel, David Backes, Ryan Whitney, Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik all need to take this experience and carry it with them towards the World Championships as well as the upcoming 2014 Sochi Games. I say that with a positive thought that NHLers will be permitted to play in said games.

Even Tim Thomas needs recognition for being an amazing teammate.

For names that were “snubbed” like T.J. Oshie, Kyle Okposo and Craig Anderson to name a few; build in anticipation of being able to take part in some of, if not, the best hockey every played.

The outcomes of the events in Hockey that took place over the course of these Olympic games should have brought in new viewers to the sport. Especially within the states for the Americans put on a performance that no one should be able to look passed. This tournament showed the intensity and excitement that comes along with the great sport of hockey. The NHL fan base should immediately grow from the previous two weeks.

No, the USA did not come out on top of the world but they did present enough proof that they are a dangerous group talent wise and that they can play with the best of the best.

To the Canadians and great nation of Canada, I tip my cap. A wonderful Olympics, a wonderful host and tonight you sit atop the rest of the globe in the sport you made famous. A more than worthy candidate to receive the gold medal. However, the talent level was evenly matched for sixty minutes today.

The amazing story that was written today was that of two great powers colliding. Now that the chapter is complete, the NHLers who participated for every nation re-create the common theme as a whole to do battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

A common bond was formed and for what it’s worth I truly hope the world gained a bit more respect for the sport as well as the development that is now starting to show it’s potential within the United States of America again.

You can reach Anthony anytime by e-mailing him at: ac@thehockeyguys.net

and be sure to follow him on Twitter: HockeyGuy_AC

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About the Author: Anthony Curatolo is a 31 y/o New Yorker with a passion for the game that takes him into a different category then the regular run of the mill fan. He has an intense, creative, witty style that will either have you love him or hate him within the first paragraph you read from one of his writings. Growing up in a hockey world (his father was raised in Montreal, and his father brought that passion with him into the States) was a blessing in disguise for Anthony. Hockey has become more then a passion and infatuation for, and he hopes to one day have a career within the sport. Picked up originally by the Checking Line (from guest blogs written for HockeyBuzz), Anthony began blogging on a daily basis. When his original site, the checking line, went down the writing passion started to fall off. A few years later, Crash the Crease was born and Anthony was approached and asked to write for them. Since that time (August '08), Anthony has become a panel member on the websites Sunday talk show, as well as branching off and forming 1/3 of the talk show team called "The Hockey Guys!" Now Anthony takes his mind and his writings to the next level as he begins his journey with Hockey Independent and asks that there are many that join him. The Kings are the team, the style is Independent and the game is Hockey - there is nothing better in the universe. Although his pride bleeds for the Orange and Black (yes folks, the Philadelphia Flyers) Anthony is also a FAN of the game, and has knowledge for all 30 teams within the league coming from his true, pure love for the sport in it's entirety. As a voice of a fan for the fans (as we all know is the "Crash the Crease" and "The Hockey Guys" slogans) there will be debate, controversy, praise and love all combined into one giant thing - blogs by Anthony.

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  1. PenguinsMarch says:

    It still has not sunk in yet, what we just witnessed, whether Canadian or American, but as hockey fans.  We will be talking about this game decades from now.

    A tournament that had the greatest assemblage of hockey talent ever, produced a fitting final game.

    Hockey is unquestionably the greatest sport in the world.

  2. FSJ says:

    I agree PenguinsMarch,  as much as I would have loved to see the USA bring home the Gold, it was such a tight, awesome game that I really can’t be down about the end result. The USA were picked to finish 4th, they shocked everyone and made it to the final. It has been a great run, and it is really great here in NYC to hear hockey being talked about on the radio, at work (with non hockey fans), and the front AND back page of the NY newspaper!
     
     

  3. Peter Mandzych says:

    A debate is circulating in the hockey world on whether the NHL should bring it’s players back to the Olympics in 2014. Commissioner Gary Bettman has helped circulate this debate with his whining during these games about interrupting the NHL season in order to have NHL players participate during the games. The real question should be after yesterday gold medal game between the USA and Canada, why wouldn’t you bring the NHL players back in 2014 ???
         Yesterday’s gold medal game drew a 17.6 rating for that game here in the United States. That is a MONSTER rating for a hockey game in this country. The NHL has a reputation for not promoting it’s sport like the NFL, MLB, NBA do. For a league to thrive it must draw the “casual fan” into it’s sport. The NHL does not do a good job with this. This Olympics proves that the casual fan can be drawn into the sport. Last weekend’s first Canada vs USA matchup (which the USA won) which was shown on MSNBC, if it were an NHL game, would have drawn the largest audience for an NHL game since 1973. When the NHL in the past has had an opportunity to promote it’s sport, it seems to drop the ball (puck). I’m a die hard Islanders fan as you know, but in 1994 when the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup which helped boost the league’s popularity at that time, what did the NHL do after the 1993-1994 season ? They went on strike for half a season.  When the NHL was struggling for attention in 2004 they decided to lock out their players for an entire season.  Now after that lockout we have a terrible television contract with NBC/VERSUS because the league had no other choice after the lockout. Not to sound facetious, but if the NHL were to have another strike/lockout in the future, the league will be
    relegated to showing highlights on the “Home Shopping Network”. The NHL has a golden opportunity to promote it’s sport after these Olympics.This past Olympic Hockey Tournament showed Hockey for what it
    truly is…THE BEAUTIFUL SPORT !!!! For the NHL to not come back in 2014 in my opinion would be a terrible mistake. It would be just another lost opportunity for this league, one I do not think they can
    afford. Gary Bettman must get it right this time.
            WHAT SAY YOU ????

  4. FSJ says:

    The NHL needs SOCHI!!!

  5. Anthony says:

    NHLers must be allowed to play in SOCHI, but there are so many situations that would need to be implemented, especially within the new CBA that need to be structured.

    It will be interesting, that is for sure, as to what will develop from all of this.

    All in all, even today, still one of, if not, the best hockey games ever witnessed.