Saturday, 22 February 2014

Kane Not Able

It was another devastating loss for the Americans in what seems to be a new play called "Heartbreak On Ice" in Sochi. After watching the American ladies go from being 3:30 from a gold medal to finding themselves with a silver medal against Canada, the Canadian men played some of the stingiest defence to send the American men to the bronze-medal game after their 1-0 loss. Today, the Americans played a rather listless game, looking uninspired in a 5-0 loss to Finland to end their Sochi Olympic Games in fourth-place after it was thought that they would challenge for a gold medal.

As they pack up their belongings tonight with thoughts of NHL glory, there won't be any additional metal going home with them. I do want to say that I'm not here to point out the obvious in the disappointment that both the team and its fans must feel. That would be wrong on so many levels, and I feel that anyone who celebrates another person's sadness or misfortune probably needs some sort of psychological examination. After all, there are highs and lows in life at all times.

I feel for Patrick Kane. He was given two penalty shots, and he came up empty twice. After hitting the post behind Tuukka Rask on the second penalty shot, he returned to the bench and showed his frustration in spades. You could tell he wanted the second one in the back of the net badly after he missed the net on the first one, especially when that would have cut the deficit the Americans were facing to 2-1. Instead, the two-goal lead stood, and Tuukka Rask and the efficient Finnish defencemen took care of the rest. Had Kane converted both, we might be discussing an entirely different ending.

Ryan Suter had a rough outing as well. His two turnovers led to the two Finnish goals that came 11 seconds apart in the second period, so you know he's feeling a little down as well. The NHL's leader in ice-time had been having a great tournament as the anchor on that American blue line, but his two mistakes cost the Americans in a rather big way today. I feel for Ryan Suter as well, especially since I'm a defenceman.

If there was only one bright spot today, it was 43 year-old Teemu Selanne. Selanne looked rejuvenated out on the ice after scoring the first goal for the Finns. His second goal saw him drop his stick as he raised his arms, and he hugged his teammates tightly. He will retire as the top scorer in Olympic hockey history with 43 points, and will hold one silver medal and three bronze medals from the six Olympic Games he's played in. Those six Olympic appearances also ties him for most appearances as an Olympic ice hockey player. He had stated before the Sochi Olympics that these Olympic Games would be his last as a player.

"I took the puck after the game and gave it to him and I think it’s in his pants right now," Finnish teammate Olli Jokinen told The Winnipeg Free Press. "At least he has the medal and the puck for a memory."

If Teemu isn't interested in playing for Finland in South Korea at age 47, today's win will be one heckuva memory. Two goals, and he goes out on a high note with a win in the bronze-medal game. That's a pretty good Finnish to an Olympic career!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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