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Team Canada Dominates Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey: Recap

Team USA officially eliminated from Tournament

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Ok I’m going to level with you - this isn’t going to be a blow-by-blow recap. The stats are available here and if you want the highlights, the website has a whole bunch of those put together. Here’s a quick rundown of what went down.

1st Period

The game started gritty as Team USA scored first just to prove that they’re actually capable of doing so in international competition, but their lead lasted about as long as it takes to stand for the national anthem before Canada tied it and then took the lead. Despite a gritty hitting advantage, Team USA went to the break down 3-1.

What about Abdelkader?

Abby got a partial break that he turned into a backhanded shot which was stopped by Carey Price. Then, Abdelkader himself was stopped by Price as he slid into the netminder butt-first and took a penalty.

2nd Period

Team USA came out trying hard against the superior skilled-and-coached Canadian team, but for some reason, the Canadians are really good at playing shut-down and also counterattacking. Canada added their second greasy goal of the contest against the Americans to make it 4-1.

What about Abdelkader?

I have it on good authority that he played in this period.

3rd Period

Aside from Shea Weber having to grab his new teammate Max Pacioretty for boarding Logan Couture, most of this period was as predictably boring as you’d expect a Babcock-coached team protecting a 4-1 lead would be. To Team USA’s credit, three ringing posts kept them from making it more interesting, but we didn’t get anything until there was less than three minutes left when the US added a pity goal to make it 4-2.

What about Abdelkader?

Not a lot of time for Abdelkader, and not much of that was offensive zone. He stayed within his role, but was generally as invisible as the rest of his team.

Assorted Highlights

  • Corey Perry crushed Patrick Kane with a big hit in the first period, marking the first time Corey Perry has ever done anything good.
  • Brett Hull spent the first intermission trying not to literally explode with how angry he is about Team USA. Brett Hull loves America and to see them hurt themselves physically pains him.
  • Zach Parise has as much presence on the international scene as Palau.
  • As a quick reminder, Team Canada left guys like Kris Letang and PK Subban at home so they could bring Jay Bouwmeester, so they didn’t bring their best possible team either. That probably makes it even more sad.
  • Barry Melrose being absolutely shocked by this result is a statement on Barry Melrose, not on this hockey game.

Final Thoughts

Other people have already nailed down why Team USA losing is a good thing, but I want to reiterate. I don’t like Team Canada. I hope they lose in the first semifinal because I don’t like them (though I recognize they’re almost certainly going to win the whole thing). I very much like the USA and want to be able to shove Team USA success into the face of other countries’ fans for years to come.

However, this grit-first, false-bravado, might-makes-right, performative patriotism monstrosity represented to me a whole host of backwards thought processes that I can’t wait to see die off. It’s not that I’m against “grit” or being “tough to play against” or even “taking the play to the opposition”, but the bullheaded will-beats-skill narrative is already woefully childish in the presumption that these two things are somehow mutually exclusive. Team Canada had just as much of the former and way more of the latter.

The American squad was built on the foundation of believing that if you just try hard enough and believe hard enough then it’ll happen for you. It’s no surprise to watch a group wander aimlessly through their own pointless end as they struggle with the realization that all the talk about wanting it more is simply just talk.

Team USA knew that this tournament was built on the idea that it should come down to them versus Canada in the final and tried to build a team specifically to beat the Canadians. Their failure in this tournament and to that end is so utterly complete that the hope is they’ll have no choice but to do some deep soul-searching about what winning hockey looks like in the future and not about what it looked like 36 years ago.