On Sunday, Feb 23, 2014, Team Canada fulfilled promises and dreams, when they converted a workmanlike, precision performance into a 3-0 win over Sweden in the Winter Olympics. This gave the country a second straight Olympic Gold medal (2010) in ice hockey, third in the last four Olympics, and ninth overall in their Olympic history.
Team Canada also became the first to win Olympic Gold without dropping a game, since the Soviets did it in 1984.
In big games, your best players have to be your best players, and the team has to rise to the occassion. Team Canada got here by shutting out Team USA in the semifinal, and then did not yield a goal in the Gold medal game.
Sidney Crosby had been criticized for not having scored in the first five games. In the Gold medal game, he not only scored his first goal of the tournament, but also set up his team's third goal of the game.
Team Canada got one goal in each period, by Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, and Chris Kunitz, respectively.
Team Canada also outshot the Swedes in all three periods.
Injuries will be the story of these games:
It has been well-documented, that Sweden was an injury-depleted squad coming into the games. Both Henrik Sedin, and Johan Franzen did not participate due to injuries previously suffered during the NHL season. They then lost Henrik Zetterberg to injury after one game.
On that note, this may also be the last time the Olympics will feature NHL players, as there were a number of other injuries suffered during the games, which may impact they stretch run of the NHL season.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will now be without defenseman Fedor Tyutin for 2-3 weeks. Mats Zuccarello will be lost to the New York Rangers for about a month. Paul Martin will be lost to Pittsburgh for a month. The Detroit Red Wings will now be without Henrick Zetterberg for two months. John Tavares of the New York Islanders, is out for the season.
The possibility of players sustaining significant injuries, had always been something of an inconvenient truth which hung as a cloud over the Olympic games, since the NHL made the decision to allow the NHL players to participate. Up until this year, it had not been an issue. That has now changed dramatically.
Islanders' GM Garth Snow was clearly not happy about losing Tavares. Said Snow,"Are the IIHF or IOC going to reimburse our season-ticket holders now ? It's a joke, They want all the benefits from NHL players playing in the Olympics and don't want to pay when our best player gets hurt, This is probably the biggest reason why NHL players shouldn't be in the Olympics, it should just be amateurs."
There of course has been no immediate statement from the NHL regarding this topic, and there may not be for some time, but it certainly looks as though this will be the end of NHL players going to the Olympics.
Team USA has not won an Olympic Gold medal in ice hockey, since the 1980 'Miracle on ice'.
NHL resumes on Tuesday:
The Olympics were a nice distraction, but now it is time to get back to business
All teams have 25 games or less remaining in the season.
The Carolina Hurricanes will travel to Buffalo for a game on Tuesday night against the Sabres. For the NHL this will signal a return to the regular season. For Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller, it signals a return to the reality of tending goal for the one of the three worst teams in the league. Miller is still hopeful of a trade to a contending team before the March 5 trade deadline.
There will be four games on Wednesday, as the Boston Bruins will be in Buffalo, the Detroit Red Wings will be in Montreal, the Los Angeles Kings travel to Colorado, and the St Louis Blues will be in Vancouver.
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