If you came here looking for excuses, this isn’t the place to be. If you came here looking for someone to throw some chairs around and call out every player and coach and all that… keep looking.
The best team on the ice clearly won. It’s hard to argue that Canada wasn’t the most talented, physical outfit on the ice.
I’m just not ready to criticize anyone individually. I don’t know that it solves anything now. If you watched the game, you saw what happened. You know that it was a dreadful night for just about everyone. Everyone except Jack Campbell.
I may have heaped praise on him all tournament long, and I’m about to keep doing it. He fought valiantly in this game. He didn’t have an ounce of help on the back end and he just stayed the course. Good goaltending can only take you so far. When the rest of the guys are going, it can win you a game. If the goaltending is the only thing going, well… he can’t score goals.
Canada outshot the U.S. 41-23, and to be honest, I’m shocked the U.S. had that many shots on goal. It almost seemed like they never had the puck. Gotta have the puck to score.
I thought Team USA’s first three shifts were actually pretty good. I liked the energy, I liked the pace. Then all of the sudden a huge breakdown in the U.S. zone led to an easy chance in tight for Curtis Hamilton. Nobody’s going to miss many times from that close. After that it seemed like Team USA was just listless.
Keith Allain’s post-game press release quote: “Our players are working hard as individuals, but we didn’t come together as a team.”
Unfortunately, that was pretty obvious. There was no chemistry, no meshing, no nothing.
I keep thinking about whether or not I could pinpoint an exact moment it all kind of came crashing down, but I really can’t. It never felt like a game.
Hats off to Canada, seriously. It was such a well executed plan of attack. The big bodies crashed, the skill guys moved the puck and Mark Visentin, while tested sparingly, made saves he had to make. He showed no signs of rust or a lack of confidence back there.
The score reads Canada 4, USA 1. No amount of analysis or complaining changes that.
So now the U.S. is left playing for the bronze medal, which in my opinion is one of the toughest medals to win in sports. It’s not the one you came for, but if you don’t get at least that, you get nothing.
Medals have been hard to come by for the United States at the World Junior Championship. This U.S. squad has a chance to add itself to the list of six prior medal winners. It won’t be easy.
Team USA will be mad, but perhaps not as mad as Team Sweden, which was 1:27 away from going to the gold medal game until Russia scored a stunning game-tying goal and won it in overtime.
I’ve quietly thought that Sweden was the most talented team in this tournament. There is so much to like about their skill and speed. Heck, the Swedes beat Canada, and we all know how good that team is now.
I’m going to let this sink in a little more before I get into my full-on bronze-medal game preview, which you can expect on Wednesday morning.
Tonight, I think it’s time for the U.S. team and disappointed fan base to quietly lick their wounds. Tonight’s loss is going to sting for a while, but with a medal still on the line, its not over yet. As Jerry D’Amigo tweeted:
@JerryD91 Tough loss but we can’t be sad we gotta win Bronze for pride to show we can come together after a loss like that
Here are your post-game links.
Harry Thompson has a really excellent piece over at USAHockey.com getting reaction from a bunch of players and Keith Allain.
Jay Skurski, of the Buffalo News, on the end of Jack Campbell’s unprecedented medal streak. (Side note: I’m told Campbell was the first to meet the media in the post-game mix zone.)
Shawn Roarke, of NHL.com, got a great, honest quote from Allain: “Quite frankly, I don’t think with the way we played tonight that we deserved to win,” American coach Keith Allain said. “That’s the thing about hockey; you usually get what you deserve.”
Here’s Mike Morreale’s game recap from NHL.com.
Sportsnet.ca’s Patrick King talks about Canada’s execution of it’s “textbook game-plan.”
Coming up tomorrow: A look at the U.S. National Under-17 Team as it meets Canada-Ontario tomorrow night in the championship game at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. It’s a rematch of last year’s title-bout, which Team USA won 2-1. That’s exciting, right? Sure is. Full coverage tomorrow and, yes, more thoughts about the World Junior Championships, as well.