2010 Winter Olympics: A Down Year for USA Hockey

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IFebruary 28, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 28:  Dejected Team USA players look on after Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada scored the matchwinning goal in overtime during the ice hockey men's gold medal game between USA and Canada on day 17 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place on February 28, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


This piece I am writing here is no joke, or ploy, but honesty. And yes, if it gets your attention, more power to you, the reader.

Believe it or not, 2010 is a down year for USA Hockey. Once again, the year two-thousand-and-ten is a down year for USA Hockey.

Forget about the medal heist the United States has garnered. Forget about the history made on the bobsleigh or in nordic combined. Forget about Canada dominating the gold medal standings or the fact that Germany will have to settle for 30 while we take home 37. Heck, forget about the big air heroics of the Flying Tomato known as Shaun White.

The cruel reality is this: in ice hockey, both the USA men and women play second fiddle to the Canadians, while both men and women Finland take home the bronze.

Canada may have had home-ice advantage from the beginning of both tournaments, but the USA needed to win the gold to earn respect and prove that they were on top of their game.

They failed to do so, in disastrous fashion.

First, the women fell behind early 2-0, and were unable to get a shot past goalie Shannon Szabados and the staunch Canadian defense. Three days later, the men proved that the USA's earlier triumph in preliminary action was nothing more than a pyrrhic victory.

In spite of Zach Parise forcing overtime with 25 seconds to go in the game, who else but the great Sidney Crosby gave the Canadian faithful the greatest jump of their lives towards the heavens.

Crosby scored the game-winner 7:40 into overtime. His clutch goal was augmented by the stopping ability of the Vancouver Canucks' starting keeper, Roberto Luongo, who had 34 saves in the gold medal game.

The victory was pure ecstasy and relief for Canada, but horror, heartbreak and complete ineptitude for the second-best team in the world, the United States of America.

With the win, Crosby became the modern-day Paul Henderson of our time. With the win, Ryan Miller became the modern-day Vladislav Tretiak of our time. And with the defeat by both the men and the women, USA Hockey becomes one of the greatest chokers of our time.

Congratulations to Canada, who are now declaring the end of February as a national holiday. As for their neighbors to the south, this year will go into the dustbins of time as a down year in their ice hockey history.

Sing "O Canada" loud and proud, ye neighbors to the North. In fact, sing that Calixa Lavallee anaethema to your land until ye cannot sing no more.

As for the USA, we have but four years to wonder what could have been, and what should have been, and why 2010 became a year to forget if you follow the USA men's and women's ice hockey teams.

If you should have any pride in earning silver, well then do so at your own detriment. But you might as well consign that you will be forever satisfied with settling for second-best.

One last time, as these 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games draw to a close, A.D. 2010 will go down as a down year for USA Hockey. For Team Canada has triumphed once more, and the last thing we to the south can do, is watch the maple leaf raised to the rafters amid the fireworks at Canada Hockey Place.

Here's to you, O Canada.