Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/20/14 at 11:39 AM ET
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post at Canada.com,
“Canada is always the favourite going into the tournament, whether it’s world junior or world championships or Olympics, they’re the favourites,” said American captain Zach Parise. “Now, in the last 10 or 15 years, you can for the most part throw us in as a team that has a chance to win every tournament. You’ve seen some unbelievable world junior games between the U.S. and Canada. We have the Olympics. That’s only made the rivalry [greater].”
When you are an American kid who loves hockey — or for that matter, a Russian or a Slovak or a Swede or a Finn — Canada is the standard. They can be had, no question, but Canada is who you have to beat. Americans have been chasing Canada for so long, to subdue the giant next door. As Backes said, “In Minnesota we had the same sort of winters, where you’re out on the frozen pond, or you’re out on the outdoor rink, having fun with your buddies, and knowing that there was a group of kids just north of the border doing the same thing.”
The Americans have been trying to cross that border and belong forever. They have won the world juniors twice since Canada last won them, and they are getting closer at the Olympics, ever closer. Friday, the chance comes again.
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