Olympic hockey has certainly had its ups and downs, much like Rick Nash of Canada in the photo above. There's the lows of Ovechkin's Russia losing its Gold chance to Canada, and Finland being slaughtered by the United States, but the low vs. high scenario more notable is the previous meeting of titans U.S. and Canada.
As memory serves, Ryan Miller single-handedly beat Canada. No offense to the rest of the team, but facts are facts. Hell, coming in the United States wasn't even picked to win a medal by many, but after being top-dog Canada everything changed.
Brian Burke can make all the grimacing quotes to the media to keep his group level-headed all he wants, but the truth is he was proud, and the entire hockey community in the United States was too.
Blood is blood, lets face it. When it comes to hockey, its always Canada's game. When it boils down, Canadians will respect Americans, if it means talking stuff on European hockey, since "the North American style is best", but when it comes to the Olympics, most Canadians are willing to spit in the face of their southern cousins.
On the ice, Canadians and Americans are far from friends.
While everyone else is making analysis chit-chat, I'll do something a bit more riveting. Rather than question if the United States can beat Canada, I'll one up it, and even go as far as saying the United States SHOULD beat Canada, and only if they get lazy will they lose.
Am I just some nutty yank? Far from it. Again, facts are facts, and the facts here are that the United States is in the head of an apparently weaker Canada team. Yes, weak because they had to go to OT against the Swiss, while the American's handled their business twice against Jonas Hiller and his crew.
Then after a near-loss to the Swiss, Canada gets knocked off its pretty little perch by underdog America.
The Americans beat Canada before by focusing on what Burke built them to be. Not the usual shoot, shoot, and shoot some more until you score type of Olympic team, but instead a feisty, hard hitting team that looks more NHL than Olympic like.
As long as the American's make the Canadians play the Brian Burke style, then Vancouver gold is coming to the land of George Washington.
While my counterparts are breaking down both sides, talking about goalie, defense, and shooting matchups, I don't have to waste my time. Games aren't decided by matchups envisioned by moronic writers, but instead it's marginalized by mistakes, penalties, and lack of willingness to do the dirty work.
In Canada's previous games, they appeal to their quick, strong shooting talents, avoiding costly mistakes to less talented opponents, but still making some, which rarely cost them much. Penalties happen, but more so if they lose composure, and Canada in many degrees doesn't seem to be willing to get down and dirty.
On the other hand, the U.S. is a group of semi-misfits. No usual American vets leading the pack, but alas, they rarely make mistakes, force penalties, or take them on their own terms...and are more comfortable digging in front of the net or in the corners than playing quick breakout & shoot hockey.
Bottom line: the Americans are built for a battle, a battle Canada doesn't seem to be prepared for. While it seems one side is more likely to be the victor, nothing will truly be decided until the battle is waged. I leave you, my American readers, with words of wisdom for such battles...and for my Canadian readers, words of caution.
"Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle."
"Americans play to win at all times. I wouldn't give a hoot and hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost, nor ever lose a war."
—both quotes by Gen. George S. Patton