Monday, February 22, 2010

USA Upsets Canada, Kicks Off Miracle On Ice Celebration

Thirty years ago today, a group of students banded together and defeated the best team in hockey in the world for the biggest upset in sports history. We have all seen the movies, the articles, the wikipedia entry, but it is hard for someone of my generation to understand how incredible the win was for this team and country. Its moments like these when sports transcend athletic competition that really make moments magical.

Last night the Americans pulled together and beat a superior Canadian team on their home ice, largely being outplayed. The Canadians played the high skilled game we expected and the Americans played to their strengths, which is Ryan Miller. I am happy with the win, but I am not sure how far we can go. The fluke goals we scored early and often are not going to be there when we take on the top teams later in the tournament. Being out shot 45-22 doesn't give me much hope. I was disappointed in the play of Patrick Kane, whose skill was not on display. Our offense only played well in spurts or on the power play. I am surprised we got to 4 goals before the empty netter.

I don't like our chances against an offensive team like Russia, or Canada again (they really outplayed us) or a team that can out-grit us. Yes, out-grit is a word. Miller can't be expected to stop 40+ shots every night. I don't have confidence that 3 goals allowed will get the job done. We need to use our speed better and get on the attack. Canada made us look pretty slow last night. We have put ourselves in a great position to medal (winner of Switzerland and Belarus) and need to turn it on with this young team. We are lucky enough to have little pressure on us and need to play some carefree US hockey the rest of the way.

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