Last night, you had a Canadian goalie shitting his pants, the US goalie playing utterly out of his mind, and it still came down to the whistle.
All props to the US team for grit, hustle, and a brilliant goalie, but if Miller is even one hair mortal, it's over. So yes, I can see Canada still being the favorites. But favorites don't always take it.
Against Germany Tuesday, you just hope for no unlucky injuries. Russia will be epic and, I suspect, like 1980 (in this respect only) if they win it, people won't much remember that there were other game(s) following it that year.
That is not an accurate assessment of the USA team. Yes, Miller's outstanding game helped tremendously against Canada. But Team USA has played very well all 3 games; Canada struggled against Switzerland. Team USA is not a goalie plus a bunch of scrubs. It's a very talented team stocked with NHL players, some of whom are not as well known as the Crosby's and the Ovechkin's, but are still very good.
Against Canada, Team USA did a good job of creating a lot of havoc in front of Brodeur, and held the Canadians without a shot on net for a long stretch late in the 2nd period, and controlled the play the early part of the 3rd period. The disparity in shots on goal did not tell the whole story.
One of the Russian players summed up this Olympic tournament quite well: it's not just Canada and Russia. There are a lot of really good teams. It used to be that there were about 5 or 6 teams that could be beat by 8-0 scores by the Russians, Canadians, etc. Not so much any more. Between the Canadians, Russians, Americans, Finns, Swedes, Slovaks, Czechs, and to an extent the Swiss, the teams are close enough that a good or bad game by a goalie along with a couple of freak bounces could make the difference in this 1-and-done tournament. There are no "heavy favorites" to win the gold any more, despite what a couple of posters on this thread have stated. If Canada wins the gold, it will be quite an accomplishment. But it will be for Russia (beating Canada and possibly the USA in Canada) or Team USA or any of the other contenders.
Some other thoughts on past tournaments:
The 1972 Summit Series was just when I started following Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, et al. The result was a stirring victory for Team Canada, and quite satisifying given the effort required to win 3 straight in enemy territory. It should rank right up there with Miracle on Ice, Adam Vinatieri's Field Goal, Bloody Sock, etc.
Miracle on Ice was and is still the biggest upset in sports of all time.
Suprised to see noone mention the 1987 Canada Cup series. Gretzky and Lemieux and Grant Fuhr against the famed KLM line in 3 very entertaining and hard fought games. Gretzky has his typically ridiculous 18 assists in 9 games, while Lemieux scored 11 goals. Watching The Great One and Mario skate on the same line was a treat that will be hard to repeat.
Edited by lexrageorge, 23 February 2010 - 10:47 AM.