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Did the American women ‘choke?’

The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla has always offered a...unique...perspective on sporting events, and his criticism of the U.S. women's performance in dropping a 3-2 decision to Team Canada at the Olymipcs on Thursday is...blunt:

The losers choked, and then these strong American women choked back tears that went splat on the ice of a hockey rink. Their pain was as impossible to stop as the cruel fate conspiring against the U.S. team as the Olympic gold medal slipped away during a 3-2 overtime loss to Canada.

After her players blew four years of hard work and a two-goal lead in the final four agonizing minutes of the third period, U.S. coach Katey Stone looked me directly in the eye and said: "I do not think the moment was too big for us."

Stone loves her team too much to say what was painfully obvious: America choked. There's no shame in choking when the reason is you care too much.

In the Olympics, the one place where we want sports to be pure and noble, it is hard to admit something as raw and ugly and human as cracking under pressure can happen. But it did.

Kiszla continues...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: team+canada, team+usa


Chet's avatar

yes, they choked. it’s like the wings say: we put ourselves in a position to have to complain about the officiating. same here.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 02/20/14 at 09:23 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Yeah, they choked.

I know everyone hates that word because of its harshness but… this really was the definition of it.  This isn’t grade school sports, it’s the Winter Olympics gold medal game and there are no excuses.

Doesn’t take anything away from the great tourney they played but, you can’t give up two goals that quickly at the end, then give up the goal in OT, and then not expect the “choke” word to be uttered.

It was also Example # 4875903485904395 why you DON’T JUST SIT ON A LEAD.

Posted by Primis on 02/20/14 at 10:32 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

While i agree with the need for a skate to throat mentality, its pretty hard to play effective hockey when your opponent is allowed to commit infractions against you with impunity.  Apparently Bettmans idea of parity has caught on over seas.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 02/20/14 at 11:04 PM ET

awould's avatar

Wow. I’m glad I missed the game. Sounds bad.

Posted by awould on 02/20/14 at 11:31 PM ET

UMFan's avatar

I don’t think they choked. Its not like the US had an obscene lead. It was 2-0. Those types of comebacks happen from time to time. Hopefully the men can right the ship tomorrow.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 02/20/14 at 11:32 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Ask a Toronto fan what “choke” means.  They know what choking is.

Posted by TreKronor on 02/20/14 at 11:41 PM ET

Chet's avatar

i didn’t even care who won that series, but the way toronto got beaten…just unreal. those guys will never forget.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 02/20/14 at 11:49 PM ET

MNWing's avatar

We all know what choke means. All sports fans do. Those of us who have played, have probably done it, and all of us have been fans of teams that have done it.

True or False, The Wings choked in 09? Of course they did, up 3 games to 1, game 7 at home.

Toronto choked last year against Boston.

Boston choked away a chance to extend their series with Chicago.

The US women choked….harsh, but true.

Some days you choke, some days you capitalize on your opportunity….thats sports, at every level.


Posted by MNWing on 02/20/14 at 11:51 PM ET

RockWestfall711's avatar

Total sickening choke.  Own it

Posted by RockWestfall711 from Las Vegas on 02/21/14 at 12:04 AM ET


“There’s no shame in choking when the reason is you care too much.”

A stupid statement that is symbolic of many things wrong with this country. They played well and I enjoyed watching them.


Posted by SlimChance on 02/21/14 at 12:55 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

A classic choke.

I wonder:  Under similar circumstances, is choking a “normal” human reaction rather than “the exception”?  In other words, should we expect a team to choke more often than not?

Let’s see if the USA men choke today!

Posted by w2j2 on 02/21/14 at 06:49 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Of course they choked, just like Canada’s WJC team did a few years ago against Russia, blowing a four-goal-lead in the third period.

I was watching the game at the airport with my daughter before she flew back to San Diego, and ten minutes into the third she looked at me angrily and said, “Look at them, they look like the Red Wings a few years ago: get a lead and then sit on it in the third period”

My ‘optimism’ in tight situations has rubbed off on her, I guess.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 02/21/14 at 10:05 AM ET

gowings's avatar

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 02/21/14 at 09:05 AM ET

Your daughter is right (or you are smile)!

Posted by gowings from MTL on 02/21/14 at 10:39 AM ET


While i agree with the need for a skate to throat mentality, its pretty hard to play effective hockey when your opponent is allowed to commit infractions against you with impunity.

This is pretty funny.  I like how you pretend that the American women were saints and didn’t get away with at least as many penalties as the Canadians did.

Maybe this is a hidden camera show where you make a comment like that and when someone takes it seriously you jump out from behind a bush with a camera and say “Gotcha!!!!!!!! Of course I was kidding, who could ever watch that game and pretend it was only the Canadian women who got away with infractions?  LOL hilarious, right?”

Posted by Garth on 02/21/14 at 11:22 AM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

Maybe it’s a Kessel thing?

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 02/21/14 at 12:26 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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