Today's game is going to be intense. As Petrella noted on his lovely post regarding the game, you notice that the general theme so far in this game is how America doesn't really have a chance; Canada is going to roll, etc. Yes, Canada has found another gear, but we did beat them. In this tournament. Last week. It did happen, promise.
Team Canada is better in just about every way on paper. They're deeper, more star power, more aged veterans, better coaching (have you ever heard the words "Man, Ron Wilson just outcoached".....used in a sentence?), better just about everything. Team USA, however, is the epitome of scrappy. They're young and hungry. They play well together, and, gasp, Ron Wilson has been a good leader for this team. (During one game broadcast, Roenick stated Wilson was "perfect for a short tournament." Being that it's JR I immediately ignored it because he is a jackass. I guess he was right.) Rafalski has been great, I've developed a new appreciation for Brooks Orpik (which will last for about another day, at which point I will return to hoping he catches herpes). Jack Johnson has been sitting, waiting, wishing for this forever (ha!). There have been many, many surprises in this tournament, but for me personally, the biggest one is how incredibly likable this team is. I remember Nagano, when the USA men's team trashed their rooms at the Olympics. Disappointing finish, and certainly not a likeable team, highlighted by such jackasses as Bill Guerin and Jeremy Roenick (and seriously, is any team which houses Guy Herbert going anywhere?).
Look, TSO has been, and always will be, American. I'll support America in any international athletic endeavour. This game feels a bit more special. The potential to beat the Canadians on their own soil. Canada, the country who acts as if Olympic gold in hockey is their birthright. An arrogance I feel is maddening. I wish nothing but the best for Babs and Stevie. I will feel bad if they lose, as they may not make it out of GM Place alive. But this game, this time.......USA! USA!!!!!
And now, two housekeeping items.
1. If Team USA wins this game, you can expect a TSO Brian dance number. It will happen. I already have it drunkenly choreographed....IN MY MIND.
2. A little something to get you pumped for the game. There is no better way. Skip ahead to the 1:39 mark: