It's the best time of year!
Posted by Ryan Porth Labels: 2010 Olympics
When the Americans step on to the ice tonight in Vancouver, it just may be the most hostile environment they’ll ever experience – unless they face Canada in the medal round. This is the most anticipated game of the pool play, one that everyone has been looking forward to since the schedule was released. As a part of ‘Super Sunday’, USA and Canada will do battle tonight at Canada Hockey Place. The U.S. is the clear underdogs, but here are three reasons why they can pull the upset:
1. Zero pressure
Canada, who is considered the heavy favorite in this game, is under a boatload of pressure to win. They need to win to not only win the group, but to claim a bye as well. A loss, whether it’s in overtime or regulation, would cost them the all-important bye, and make the task of winning Gold more difficult. The Americans feel they have nothing to lose today… no one in the arena believes they will win – unless you’re the 20 players wearing red, white, and blue. Nothing would be sweeter for them than beating the Canadians on their own ice.
2. Ryan Miller
This is the game that could change the way people think about Miller in this country. All hockey fans know just how good he is, but he has yet to win on the big stage in his career. By beating Canada today, Miller would become a household name to sports fans around the country. In my mind, he’d go from being a great goalie to elite. He’s capable of doing so, but may need to play the game of his life. He can certainly make a statement today by beating the most decorated goalie of all-time on the other end of the ice.
3. Speed & tenacity
One thing the Americans have that Canada lacks is a lot of grit and tenacity. In this category, the U.S. is led by the likes of David Backes, Ryan Callahan, and Ryan Kesler. These three need to get under Canada’s skin, and hit everything and everyone in sight. While Switzerland had a lot of grit on Thursday against Canada, they lacked the necessary skill to eventually get the win. The U.S. has that on its top two lines. If they can combine their speed and skill with the grit they’ve shown this week, they can definitely pull off the upset.
Ultimately, though, the U.S. has to limit their turnovers defensively. They had way too many against Norway, which could be a good thing. You’d rather make those mistakes against Norway than Canada, right? Ron Wilson’s club also needs to play a disciplined game. They can’t afford to give Canada a lot of power play opportunities, because they will capitalize. Enjoy the game, everyone… this should be a good one!
at 12:00 PM
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