Monday, February 22, 2010
Well, that was before last night’s…incident. 4 goals and only 18 saves. Ouch. This performance was worse since Ryan Miller stood on his head at the other end of the rink and stopped 42 of 45 shots. Canada severely outplayed the Americans, but Miller severely outplayed Brodeur and Kesler severely outworked Perry to pot the clinching goal. It was that simple. That was the game.
It was a terribly disappointing finish. The extra salt in my wounds is that I now owe my Buffalonian friend a 2-4 of the “finest” Canadian beer I can find. Last night my mood was so unstable I contemplated buying Laker and warming it up in the oven. Thankfully for her my mood has stabilized relatively. Relatively.
I came home from a friend’s last night and met my Dad in the hallway. We just looked at each other and nodded. Nothing needed to be said. Just complete shock. Too much anger to even say anything.
My mood was so low after the game that I had to ban myself from the computer and television. Marty was taking a beating all over Twitter, Facebook, and by most of the television analysts. I couldn’t check any sports sites because the headlines would all ready 5-3! Pseudo-Miracle! Kesler to Canada, “Ha!” I passed on the torture (after torturing myself for 20-30 minutes) and went to bed.
This morning I thought I’d get a reprieve from the game during work. I forgot that I would constantly think about, thus driving me crazy, but I was sucked into multiple conversations with different people as well. I didn’t want to. It just happened. We were reeling. One co-worker said, “I don’t even really follow hockey, but this just made me so sad, I feel so bad for them.” It made me feel even worse. I felt crushed. So what the hell happened?
Marty Brodeur did have a bad game and I’m not here to defend him. He is still the greatest goalie of all-time, but that game won't be on a DVD compilation. Should he have been pulled after the third goal? At this point it’s pretty easy to say yes, but at the time I guess the coaching staff was in the same disbelief as I was. This wasn’t the greatest goalie of all-time Marty Brodeur. It was some bizarro version that was reading too many Spring Training articles and thought he should attempt to play some baseball. He clearly wasn’t Marty Brodeur last night and maybe everyone was in too much shock to realize he needed to be removed, quickly. I certainly was in too much shock. I was defending him despite the scene in front of me.
What’s worse about the loss is the reaction from Canadian fans. This team is taking a beating all over the internet. Everyone’s reacting as if it’s over. Better throw your support behind the Swedes, the Canucks are toast. Fuck off.
This team hasn’t played its best hockey yet. Not by a mile. Everyone is also overlooking Canada’s dominance last game. The U.S. won because of the combined efforts of Miller and Brodeur. The U.S. team was outplayed in almost every facet of the game last night, but took full advantage of bizarro-Marty and rode their 120 pound bean pole to victory. Canada doubled the Americans in shots and had the puck for the majority of the game, while outhitting their opponents. None of the American goals happened on any particularly dangerous looking play, but bizarro-Marty helped them out. This isn’t going to happen again.
Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for Canada. They need to use this as a wake-up call. They need it to motivate them. I don’t want to even discuss the other alternative to this loss because it isn’t happening.
Plus, an extra game for the Canadians isn’t the worst thing. They get an extra game to develop chemistry and play together as a team.
Last night’s loss was tough. But this isn’t the end for Canada. They can still win Gold, but the path to victory became much harder. Now they have to win four games in a row, two played back-to-back. Barring a disastrous collapse to Germany (that would put an entire nation on suicide watch), the Canadians will have to face a motivated Russian squad who has yet to play their best hockey and will have had extra practice time. Tough.
The road to gold won’t be easy, but when has a championship team ever had an easy run. There is now adversity for Canada to overcome. This is our game. Continue the support. Keep the faith. It’s on.