Thursday, February 20, 2014

Win it for Your Little Sister, Phil Kessel!

There is no other way to put it: This heart-breaker has to be avenged.
The American women’s hockey team was seconds away from its first Olympic gold medal at Sochi when the unthinkable happened. 

Behind 2-0 in the third period, the Canadians equalized with 55 seconds to go in regulation time and then went on to win 3-2 in overtime.
Did the Americans take their feet off the pedal when leading their perennial rivals by 2 goals in the third period?
Who can say?
The only thing now that can set the hockey world right is for the U.S. men to beat the Canadians when they meet on February 21 at Sochi.
It is only the semifinal match but for all practical purposes, it is also the only game in town. The Americans will undoubtedly want to erase the memory of their own heartbreaking loss to Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but they owe it even more to the U.S. women’s hockey team whose valiant effort only netted it a silver medal when it should clearly have been gold.
The Americans can do it. In Vancouver four years ago, they let Canadian superstar Sidney Crosby skate freely to perform his wizardry. Crosby’s overtime goal beat the American’s 3-2. The irony is uncanny!
But as the Finns have shown in Sochi, Crosby can be stifled with tight checking. He can lose his rhythm and make erratic passes if deprived of room to maneuver. The Americans need to study the Finland-Canada game (won by Canada but could have gone Finland’s way too) to take the wind out of Crosby’s sail.
Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel and company can bring it home for America.
For Phil, there is the additional motivation: his sister, Amanda Kessel, is a star player for the U.S. team that lost to Canada.
Phil has been on a roll at Sochi, emerging as the most creative and productive member of Team USA. He scored a hat trick against Slovenia and created most of the chances that led to goals for his team.
Does anyone need to remind Phil Kessel that he has to win this one for his little sister?
I am going out on a limb, with a saw no less, and predicting that the score will again be 3-2 at the Sochi semifinal, but this time in America’s favor.

(February 23, 2014) There is no other way to put it indeed! As I saw off that limb and fall 50 feet from the tree, with not even a bronze for Team USA men at Sochi, the only thought that will go through my mind is: Why can't Ice Hockey Teams USA (men and women) be more like Women's Soccer Team USA? By the way, does it hurt when you land on hard ground from the top of  a tree after surrendering to gravity?

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