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The men’s gold medal game at the Olympics was one of the most entertaining games I have ever seen. From the perspective of having two evenly matched teams play each other for Olympic bragging rights this game had all the drama and excitement you could have hoped for.

First of not many pundits gave the Americans much of a chance to begin with. And I’m not sure why. Simply based on their pre-tournament ranking they weren’t predicted to advance to Sunday’s final. In fact their flights back to their respective homes were booked for Sunday morning before the game had even begun. That’s not putting much faith in them.

When you saw the way the US played through the round robin and playoffs they were on a mission. And their goalie? No disrespect to Luongo but Miller did everything he could to get the US the gold. Did the US peak at the right team? Hard to say. But the were playing at a high level early on in the tournament and it’s emotionally draining to sustain that energy for a couple of weeks.

But what it came down to for Canada was each player playing his role. Every player is a captain, star or points guy from his NHL team. During the Olympic tournament they had to put aside what they normally do with their NHL clubs and do what works for the benefit of the team.

Some may say chemistry had more to do with it than simply filling a role. This is true to a certain extent but the San Jose and Anaheim lines already chemistry and weren’t going to succeed without doing all the little things. And Iginla and Crosby don’t play a lot together and they were effective. And other than Seabrook and Keith the rest of the defensive pairings would not be very familiar.

Lastly, I was really hoping Pronger would be benched for the final. He was a liability through the round robin and quarter finals until he started to play the role he needed to play. In the final he was great at shutting down the US forwards and getting pucks on net from the blue line. In the third I seem to remember him putting one off the side of the post.

The whole point of this is to realize that success won’t come without a total team commitment and solid goaltending. This is just my opinion. If you saw it differently let me know. One thing I do know is that the Olympic hockey gold medal game is going to continue being extremely competitive and exciting.

Chris

onsidehockeytraining.com

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