Just a day short of the 30th anniversary of USA Hockey’s greatest victory, a 4-3 semi-final win over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games, Team USA stunned heavily favored Team Canada, 5-3 Sunday night in preliminary pool play at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Last time Team USA defeated Team Canada in olympic hockey, 50 years ago at the 1960 Winter Games at Squaw Valley California. That Team USA took the Gold.
The “Young Americans” were the quicker, faster and hungrier team quieting the Canadian fans who want hockey gold more than any other event at the games. Team USA’s Brian Rafalski (Detroit Red Wings) scored two goals and goalie Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres) stopped 42 of 45 shots by Canada. The USA was able to get five of their 22 shots by Canadian legend, goalie Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils). Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) led the “Canucks” with two goals.
With the win the USA grabs the tournaments top-seed gaining a bye and will face the winner of the Switzerland/Belarus game in the quarter-finals Wednesday. Team Canada gains the six-seed and will play 11-seed Germany Tuesday for a quarter-final berth against Russia on Wednesday.
A USA/Canada rematch is possible in the Gold Medal game. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Defending Gold Medalist Sweden and Silver Medalist Finland are still in the tournament as well.
Team Canada beat Team USA in the Gold Medal Championship at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. You know what they say about payback. We’ll see.
Winter Games “Bloop Singles”
Congratulations to U.S. Alpine Skier Bode Miller. He added the Super Combined Race Men’s Gold Medal to the Silver and Bronze medals he earned earlier in these Olympics. Miller’s now in a four-way tie for most medals won by an American individual in a single Olympic Games.
Miller’s redeemed himself for his pathetic performance in the 2006 Winter Games in Turin where he garnered no medals in the Alpine Skiing Events. He would’ve garnered gold had “heavy partying” been an Olympic event in Turin. Let’s just say, Turin embarrassed him. That’s forgotten.
- Here we go again. Another champion pouting after coming in “second”. Brace yourselves. I’m writing about Men’s Olympic Figure Skating.
- Russia’s Yevgeny Plushenko, the defending Gold Medal Men’s Figure Skating Champion, was visibly angry during the medal ceremony while the Star-Spangled Banner was bellowing in honor of the USA’s Evan Lysacek, who knocked Plushenko from his gold medal perch.
- Plushenko, who won the gold in at the last Winter Games in Turin, came out of retirement to take another gold with his signature move, the Quad Toe. For those of you , like me, who are wondering what a Quad Toe is. It’s a move involving the skater stopping himself with the toe of one of the skates and launching him, or her, self in the air for four aerial spins. Well, Plushenko performed the move to perfection immediately following the Quad Toe into, a more conventional, Triple Toe.
- Lysacek, of course, didn’t attempt anything close to the Quad Toe. He did do some of the Triple Toe maneuvers spreading out his aerial spins whereas Plushenko bunched his aerials early in his routine leaving him, as NBC Figure Skating Ananlyst and American Gold Medalist in the event, Scott Hamilton pointed out during the broadcast, with a bunch of skating around without any jumps with a minute left in his routine. That seemed to make the difference. Later, two-time men’s figure skating gold medalist and analyst, Dick Button, added Plushenko did do the Quad Toe. But, Lysacek’s routine was better choreographed in it’s distribution of skating moves.
- Plushenko, later, said he was surprised the skater who didn’t perform the Quad Toe won the gold medal blaming some new Olympic scoring system for his silver medal. I’ll refrain from attempting to figure out the new and old scoring systems. He did say Lysacek skated well and congratulated him on the medal podium.
- Plushenko, really, was less than gracious in defeat during the National anthem. But that’s the competitor in him. He lost by the slimmest of margins and should be upset he lost, especially, considering the time and dedication it takes to become an Olympic Champion and that the games are only every four years. He’s won one gold and two silver’s in his Olympics career.
- It’s just like LeBron James leaving the court, last season, before congratulating the Orlando Magic on winning the Eastern Conference Championship over his Cleveland Cavaliers or Peyton Manning running off the field before congratulating Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on their Super Bowl Title after beating his Indianapolis Colts. They both eventually congratulated their opponents within a few hours of losing. All three are competitors that don’t like to lose. If all three were indifferent about losing, they wouldn’t be great champions and competitors. That’s how it should be.
Seriously! I can’t believe NBC is also showing weekend Olympic events TAPE DELAYED on the West Coast. In this day and age of the internet where results are immediately posted, it makes no sense to show the games tape delayed….especially on SATURDAY & SUNDAY!!! Shouldn’t be too surprising considering it’s the same network that completely botched its “Late Night Show” schedule.
Nice post. I don’t agree with your Plushenko/Manning analogy. Manning called and congratulated his competitors. He was complementary in press conferences, and owned up where he was less than perfect. Manning owned up to his loss. Plushenko is still moping around and complaining to everyone that he should have won the Gold because he did a Quad. Sorry, buddy, but the event wasn’t the “Who can land a perfect Quad,” but was for an OVER-ALL performance. Lysacek’s OVER-ALL performance was incredible, he didn’t focus on just one element.