While the US's John Carlson may be saying his OT winner was a 'lucky shot', the fact that the US team left Saskatoon with the gold around their necks had very little to do with luck. As we saw in the New Years Eve tilt, Canada had little answer for both the American's speed, giving up numerous odd man rushes throughout the game, and their superior defensive ability. All night long, TSN's Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire marvelled at the Americans' shot blocking ability. That combined with a Canadian team that couldn't hit the net led to just 9 shots on goal in the first half of the game for Canada. Full marks to the Americans, they came into the game knowing all the pressure was on Canada, stuck to their game plan, made the most of a number of bounces they got in the game and didn't flinch when the Jordan Eberle show brought the nation to it's feet. Is that kid unreal? It's going to (eventually) suck to play against the Oilers again.
So what now for Team Canada? Obviously had they been able to ice the team of all eligible players, things might have been a little different. John Tavares and Cody Hodgson, among others would have made a huge difference. With Canada losing the Under 18's and Under 20's in consecutive days to the US, is this just a blip on the radar, or a changing of the guard? That will be up to the Hockey Canada brain trust to decide. This loss will be picked to pieces by experts and the rest of us, as we try and come up with a rationalization for the loss. Why did Jake Allen fall apart like he did in the big game? Why were there so many turnovers, was it just the flow of the play or was it something in the game plan put together by Willie Desjardins and his coaching staff that was flawed? It's likely too early to know the answers. All they can do now is shake off the heartbreak, head back to their junior squads and move forward. Hockey Canada can look at the future, as they prepare for Buffalo, and a shot at redemption. Were the Canadians arrogant, as was suggested by a certain New Jersey Devils sniper who seems to have forgotten his pedigree? No, I don't think so. Confidence should never be mistaken for arrogance, even if it is somewhat unwarranted. The Canadians had confidence, but save for Eberle, lacked the finish needed to attain their 6th straight. As for Parise, we (including Martin Brodeur) will see you in Vancouver in February. Keep your head up, son... and thank you for the dressing room wall material. Not that we need it.