Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dear Ryan Miller:

It's not your fault.

It was an amazing game. One that ended as most would have thought as soon as Canada scored the first goal; and then the second. Team USA trailed 2 - 0 until Kesler managed to put Team USA on the score sheet at 12:44 of the second.

The game was so fast, a few times I thought they were skating eight aside. It was just a blur of players. Even without the ability to drop the gloves, it was obvious this was not a gentleman's game. The hitting was big, the shoving ever present. The penalty calls, however, were inconsistent.

In the final minute, with Ryan Miller pulled from his net the coaching staff gathered the team at the bench to draw up the last big push, the joke in my house was "Just get the puck to Parise." That was the only plan. "Just get the puck to Parise."

That must have been the plan, because that's exactly what happened. With under a half minute to to, Zach Parise, the man who COULD have been an Islander, tied the score and sent the game from absolute loss to a possible win.

While waiting for the OT to begin, ex-Olympian Jeremy Roenick sounded as if he was going to cry. He was so excited over the game going into overtime and the fact that someone, some player on that ice would be a hero. Who would have thought that the hero would be the NHL's own poster boy, Sidney (freakin') Crosby.

In the seconds before that historic goal was scored on Ryan Miller, Dan blurted out "He smells hero." Dan saw it coming. I'm guessing Miller did too. But in the blink of an eye, the puck was in the back of Miller's net. The deal was sealed and Team USA was going home with Silver.

Much like the Women's team, the men were despondent. Unlike the women, they didn't break down in tears. Actually, they just looked angry. Even while accepting their Silver medals, Zach Parise looked as if he could have punched a wall. So the men's standings ended the same way the Women's did. Finland, USA, Canada. Interesting.

Brian Burke, without his jacket, tie loosened and shirt opened, and looking like every Irish baretender I've ever known, sat on the bench with his coaching staff and looked at his team. Something caught his eye and he went out onto the ice to talk to one of his players. I wish NBC had kept the camera on him so I could have seen who it was. Perhaps it was Burke being the father figure he is, or the GM he is, or both. During the handshake line, Ryan Miller and his Coach Lindy Ruff had a moment in line, it was heartwarming, but it didn't seem to do much to ease Miller's pain.

Even though you lose to get Silver, Team USA should be proud of their accomplishment. They came into this tournament ranked fifth. (Or so one of the articles said which was the reason the NHLPA scheduled their flights for this morning.) They came in second and it was a historic, hard fought game.

For a few hours today, Hockey was center stage in North America. Will it bring more people to the 30 NHL rinks? I don't know. Will it encourage kids to take up hockey as a sport? Maybe. Will that stunning Game Winner by Sidney Crosby earn him more fans? Yes. It will also earn him more detractors.

But one thing is for sure. That goal solidified the reason why Sidney Crosby is the face of the NHL and not -- Alexander Ovechkin. I'm just saying.

Travel safe Olympians. NHL hockey resumes tomorrow and the trade deadline is Wednesday. No time to rest or enjoy. Just get back to work!

Uh, that's YOU TOO Miller!

1 comment:

Travelchic59 said...

Good game. Probably best hockey game I've seen since the Islander Stanley Cups days. Tough loss, but proud of what Team USA accomplished.

Okay, in the middle of watching the closing ceremonies and NBC cuts away to Jerry Seinfeld's new show. WTF???!!!