It’s two straight Olympic gold medals for Team Canada. And as bizarre as it sounds, it was never in doubt after the Latvia game. Goaltending, as it turns out, was only a problem for Canada in the sense that it was the only reason Canada didn’t beat the USA and Sweden by a combined 10-0 score.
Steve Yzerman, the management, Mike Babcock and the coaching staff came up smelling like roses after a couple of masterful displays of near hockey perfection in the semi and gold medal finals. They’re charged with the task of assembling the right combinations out of the best hockey talent pool in the world. They had every winger and defenceman on their strong side. They had an embarrassment of riches with past Stanley Cup and gold medal winners. Every forward was committed to playing 200ft to support a defence that gave up so little. In the end, it was flawless execution of the gameplan: own the puck, give up nothing. Three goals against all tournament, with two shutouts in the semis and the final, is remarkable.
Phil Kessel, meanwhile, took top forward honours in the Olympic tournament. Congrats to Leafs fans and Canada fans everywhere.
Team Canada passed the test against the vaunted American offense, their unequaled depth shining through as they dominated possession and shut the door defensively. How will Canada fare against the only team whose combination of goaltending and defence has rivalled theirs in this tournament?
The gold medal hangs in the balance, and hopefully not around Daniel Alfredsson’s neck when this game is over.