Sunday, February 23, 2014

GOLD, GOLD, GOLD!!!

Perhaps it is just in our nature but worrying about nothing is something Canadian hockey fans specialize in. After watching Team Canada struggle to put pucks in the net against inferior competition, many were fearful of a semi-final matchup against the USA in Men’s Hockey. 

While the scoreboard may have only read 1-0, Mike Babcock’s crew passed that test with ease to put them into the Gold Medal game everyone expected them to be in. Despite having gone undefeated throughout the 2014 Olympics, the lack of offence left many a fan uncomfortable heading into Sunday morning’s final against what was an undermanned Team Sweden. 

In all honesty, one could argue Canada has never produced such an all-around team performance in this sort of setting. The pile of goals most were expecting may not have been there but in the end, it was the two biggest names on this roster that came through when it mattered most…just as they did in Vancouver back in 2010. 

The 3-0 final might suggest the battle for Gold wasn’t that close but through thirty-five minutes of action this one was your typical 2014 Olympic game…low scoring and anybody’s game. Despite having scored a grand total of zero goals between the two them during these Winter Games, Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews came through when it mattered most. 

The Chicago Blackhawks captain got things going, just as he did during that classic final against the Americans four years ago, scoring the icebreaker midway through the opening frame of what was a fairly evenly played period. With both Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price looking as though they might not give up more than one goal against, Toews opener was absolutely critical.

In 2010 Crosby played the role of hero with his golden overtime winner and four years later, it would be his breakaway goal at the 15:43 mark of the second period that put this one to bed. In typical #87 fashion, the game’s premier player came through when it mattered most, delivering what was easily his finest performance of these games. 

While many wanted to focus on the lack of production from Crosby and his Pittsburgh Penguins linemate Chris Kunitz, it was nothing more than a mere blip on the radar screen for the Canadian captain. When it mattered most he was at his very best and for the life of me, I don’t understand why anyone would have expected anything less from Sid the Kid. 

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