Red and Black Hockey
Entries with the tag: olympics
On this, the 50th anniversary of the day when the USA won its first Olympic gold medal in men’s ice hockey, it will have a chance to win its third. Prior to 1988, the tournament format was like a modified Swiss pairing system that competitive Scrabble players and chess players are familiar with, so there wasn’t the excitement of a do-or-die gold medal game like there is today. Despite the pre-tournament ratings, USA isn’t nearly as much of an underdog as they were in 1960 or 1980, so it won’t be a “miracle” if they can pull off the win. In those ways, this tournament is very different from the other two in which America won gold.
This is very much the same, though, in that, unlike our Canadian friends, Team USA will be quite pleased with silver.
On Sunday, Ryan Miller stood on his head, making 42 saves in a shocking 5-3 win over Canada in the last game of pool play for both teams. USA looked like a completely different team than they did in their wins against Switzerland and Norway. USA has, stunningly, gone undefeated in pool play and has earned a first round bye in the elimination round of the tournament. Pool C still has one game to play, and if Sweden wins by less than five goals, or if the game goes to overtime, USA will be the #1 overall seed.
Aside from the sharp goaltending in the third period, USA played very well defensively, matched Canada’s aggression in the first two periods, and they made few mistakes. And most importantly, they scored the game’s first goal just 41 seconds in. This took the partisan crowd out of the game early, and team Canada was on their heels for the majority of the game.
On Thursday, Hurricanes fans were expecting news about two defensemen. We were expecting a trade announcement involving the San Jose Sharks and Niclas “The Secret Weapon” Wallin. That hasn’t come yet, and still stands as only a rumor. I suspect something is happening though, because the team announced that forward Jiri Tlusty has been reassigned to Albany. Does this mean the team is on the verge of multiple trades? We’ll soon find out.
The other news came as expected. Canes 27-year old defenseman Tim Gleason (Clawson, MI) and Ryan Whitney (Boston, MA) from the Ducks were named to team USA as a replacements for Paul Martin and Mike Komisarek. Whitney, who is no relation to Carolina’s Ray Whitney, will turn 27 during the tournament. Both players were expected to have made the team in the first place and they’ll make very nice additions to the team.
Team USA begins is preliminary round play on Tuesday February 16 against Switzerland. They’ll also play Norway and Canada in the first week of the tournament.