In a gold medal game for the ages, Canada prevailed on home soil.
The upstart Americans gave them a run, tying the score with 25 seconds left on a goal by Zach Parise, the man who would have been a Bruin had Boston taken him (or Ryan Getzlaf for that matter) with the 16th pick in 2003. They didn't-- trading down five spots to 21 and coming away with Mark Stuart.
The Olympic tourney and final result was an eerie reversal from the World Jr. Tourney just two months ago. The Canadians eked out a win during the preliminary/round robin round, only to find themselves behind the USA Jrs. late, but coming back to score in the waning moments. In overtime, it was then Canada who lost on a goal by USA's John Carlson. In the Olympics, the roles reversed, and even with Parise's late heroics and Ryan Miller's outstanding netminding, it wasn't enough to overcome a team that boasts future Hall of Fame players in the double digits.
But let's face it...there are far worse fates in life than to give up the winning goal to Sidney Crosby...Canada's definitive national hockey treasure. Al Michaels called him a 21st century Wayne Gretzky last night, and he's absolutely right. If you're going to lose, giving up the winner to the combination of Crosby and Jarome Iginla is not a bad way to go. At least Team USA didn't roll over like Russia did.
I tip my hat to Canada on this one...it's your game and you deserve to bask in the glory. Hopefully, some measure of respect has been gained for USA Hockey, though. The Under-20 team won on your home ice, and the Olympic team nearly pulled off the upset. Ignore America's resurgence on the world hockey stage at your peril. (And I mean that with all the good intentions of continuing the great rivalry with sportsmanship and class)
Pete Schrager over at Fox Sports has a nice column that sums up the importance of what this year's Olympic games did for hockey in the USA.
Oh, and once again, in watching the Olympics, I was reminded of why Vancouver is my favorite city in Canada. Take a bow, proud British Columbia, you shined brightly for these two weeks.