Some are calling it the greatest collapse in Canadian hockey history.
For a second straight year Team Canada was defeated in the gold medal game and has to settle for silver. Only this time it’s a tougher pill to swallow.
Leading 3 – 0 heading into the 3rd period, Canada sat back while a Russian onslaught began. Five goals in the final frame from the talented Russians left Team Canada and their fans in disbelief. The victory gave the Russians an implausible triumph as they lost their first two games of the tournament and barely squeaked by the Fins and Swedes in elimination games prior to beating Canada.
This is the 13th gold that Russia or the former Soviet Union has claimed in this tournament but the first since back to back wins in 2002 and 2003. Canada leads all teams with 15 titles and won 5 straight between 2005 and 2009.
The loss for Canada comes after they had disproven their label of a ``lunch bucket`` team by steam rolling their way to the final by defeating the host team and pre tournament favourite USA in the semi final on Monday.
"There`s no words to describe the feelings that we have in our guts right now, it`s almost like we let down an entire country," said a disappointed Erik Gudbranson while answering post game questions.
Sometimes we think we are the only ones who really care about this tournament but there's no way that's true after watching the Russians celebrate their triumph. Many of these players will never get a chance to play in the NHL and this could be the biggest stage of their lives. Travelling from a distant homeland to North America to defeat the dreaded and feared Canadians in front on all their fans could not have felt any better and it showed as they pranced around like the happiest men in the world.
This game was televised on a national network all across Russia and should boost youth hockey and development in a country where it has apparently declined in recent years. Obviously there are still some very talented players coming out of Russia but not to the level there were 10 and 20 years ago. Roughly 30 Russians are currently on NHL rosters which is only about half of what there was a decade ago. While this is may be a result of the KHL’s appealing tax free salaries and the lack of a player transfer agreement between the NHL and Russia, the 2011 WJC gold medal can only help their cause in promoting their program.
Not to worry Canada
Despite this loss we, as a country, really have nothing to worry about in terms of hockey and where we stand internationally. Yes, we wanted the gold but we can’t win every time – it just wouldn’t be fun anymore.
It’s been two years since we won gold but we have won 5 of the last 10 tournaments and 12 of the last 20 and in years that we don’t win we are almost certain to finish 2nd or 3rd as only twice since 1990 have we failed to receive a medal. Most of the games brightest stars are Canadian and our players make up by far the largest portion of any country in the NHL.
So please don’t cry over this loss Canada. We won the Olympic gold and that’s all that really matters. And to the young men who won us a silver medal: don’t hang your heads, you did us proud and it’s ok to lose every now and then. Good for Russia and let them celebrate.
Put those red and white jerseys back in the closet until next year and pull out your Canuck sweater. I know it sounds strange but our Vancouver Canucks are the best team in the NHL right now and show no signs of slowing down. We haven’t won a cup in 40 years of existence. Could this be the year? Now that would be something worth crying over.