You never want to lose a game, especially the championship. But there's also nothing wrong in taking pride in what you have achieved when so many cast doubt upon your abilities. The success of the American team took many by surprise and after a strong round of group play, they sat atop the seedings for the bracket round. A hard fought win over Switzerland and a demolishing of the bronze medalist Finland and the United States found themselves in a spot not many expected.
By now, we all know how this one ended. The image of hockey in North America and perhaps the NHL, Sidney Crosby, put the puck in the back of the net to end the game. The shot sent millions of Americans to their knees in the agony of defeat while bringing millions of Canadians out of their seats and putting them into a fit of joy and hysteria. I sat quietly on my couch after I saw the goal light come on, in shock of what had happened.
But it wasn't how it ended that stuck with me, it was how it almost ended. The United States was mere seconds away from a 2-1 loss in regulation. With Ryan Miller pulled and a sixth man on the ice, the US scrapped and clawed its way to a victory on the back of Zach Parise, the heart of the American attack. They put everything into those final moments and it forced the game to overtime, something neither team was hoping for.
There's not much that I can say about this game that hasn't been said. It lived up to every billing it was given and the hype was well deserved. Despite the outcome being a loss for the United States, I was very proud of the effort put forth by the Stars and Stripes. Far be it from me to take any credit from Canada as they played a great game and in turn took home the gold on home ice. Good for the Canadian people after an exceptional turn as hosts of the Winter Olympics.
Even though the United States took home the silver instead of the gold, this was a tremendous day for hockey in the US. I couldn't count how many people I know that normally care the least bit about hockey but found themselves enthralled in the battle with the Canadians. It may not inspire every kid to pick up a stick or every father to build a rink in the back yard but it could go a long way towards putting hockey back on television on a season long basis. It could boost ticket sales or bring former fans of the game back to the sport they once loved.
In the end, I'm proud of what the US achieved in these Olympics. Not many pegged them to do anything even close to this but they came out and put in exceptional effort from the puck drop against Switzerland on opening day to the final goal horn in the gold medal game. Nothing can, or should, be taken away from this American squad and the effort put forth and competitiveness of the games will do wonders for hockey in America.
Tell us how you felt about the game after the jump.
Also, this post isn't to say they aren't proud of it already, just merely reasons why.