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Archive for the ‘USA Hockey’ Category

Boy, that was an exciting Olympics gold medal game, wasn’t it? Congratulations to Brenden Morrow for what must have been the dream of a lifetime. I’m sure he won’t be lording it over his teammates when he gets back to town. Even so, Mike Modano should be ready to smack him if need be.

And congratulations to Team USA for a thrilling run through the tournament, all the way to the marquee game on Sunday afternoon. I think I almost broke my voice screaming when Zach Parise tied up the game with 24 seconds left. I wasn’t so happy about Sidney Crosby scoring in OT to win the game, but if it had to be some Canadian, I’m happy it was Sid. He looked pretty happy about the whole thing while they waited for the medals to be awarded.

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I am still kind of buzzed about last night’s USA-Canada hockey game.

For the benefit of my relatives who don’t really care about hockey, but are still nice enough to read this blog, Team USA beat vaunted Team Canada last night in the Olympics in preliminary play. The game had been highly hyped for months. The Canadians have been presuming they’d coast through the round robin play, scoring at will and embarrassing everybody they met.

And while they may have thought the US might give them a competitive game, they assumed they’d win that one, too.

I braced myself to feel good if we competed well and didn’t get blown out. When Brian Rafalski scored that first goal for the US in the first minute of the game I surprised myself by freaking out.

The rest of the game was a thrill. The Canadians tied it, then the Americans got that one back 30 seconds later. Then the Canadians tied it again! The Americans took the lead again, but when they got the 4th goal to go up by two, I just about lost it.

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Dallas 2, Phoenix 3

They keep saying they’re looking for consistency, but as Ryan Lambert, the Puck Daddy What We Learned guy, points out, win lose win lose win lose win lose is consistent. They need to start winning games when it’s their turn to lose one.

I’m almost expecting them to win against Detroit on Wednesday night. I never assume that, but this win-lose-win-lose thing might be more powerful than the usual pattern against Detroit of lose-lose-lose.

Phoenix is doing a lot better this year, of course, now that they have a decent coach. Yet, they’re not doing so well that the Stars can take them lightly. As we saw.

The habit of spotting every team two goals is getting pretty tiresome. At least the Coyotes only got one before we tied it up the first time. That was a great goal by Modano, by the way. Not many can do what he does with his backhand.

I’m sure Dave Tippett was pretty pleased with the win even though he tried to play it off as just another game. I’m glad he’s having some success in Phoenix, but I don’t want to see them win against the Stars again this season. We couldn’t even beat them last year, when Gretzky was throwing fits on the bench and they were losing everywhere else.

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I was watching World Cup Hockey from 1996 on the great NHL Network, and it was pretty eye-opening.

The NHL Network was very nice to show an American triumph plus lots of American stats on the crawl at the bottom of the screen all day on the 4th of July. I think they also had a special about the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame right after Game 3.

Now, 1996 is way before my time, but not so far back that I didn’t know anybody. Modano, Hull, Guerin, Hatcher, Weight, Tkachuk were there, and more that I had heard of but forgotten about. The Canadian side seemed to have more players that I know less. Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman were about the only ones I have gotten to know. They had Gretzky and Fleury and Lindros and Odelein…guys like that.

Weight was being his old self, punching a guy in the head after the whistle (for a guy everybody says is “not that kind of player,” he sure acts like it a lot). Keith Tkachuk almost got his head whacked off when Lindros two-handed him over the back of the head with his stick. Then Tkachuk himself was kicked out of the game for whacking somebody else. Gretzky didn’t seem to be much of a factor.

I just have a couple of observations about that series and about what hockey must have been like in 1996 in general.

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