Sunday, February 28, 2010

Crosby ultimate Canadian hero

It's been over for a while. But it's just so hard to type. When you come that close to winning gold against Canada in Vancouver, it hurts. I'm honestly still numb as I write this. But it's to be expected.  

Sidney Crosby was the ultimate Canadian hero. It was his clutch goal at 7:40 of four-on-four sudden death that broke a 2-2 tie sending teammates and Hockey Canada Place into bedlum- scoring probably the biggest goal in his country's history since Paul Henderson to clinch a thrilling 3-2 gold medal win over a valiant Team USA. I've never been a big fan of Sid The Kid mostly due to the gripes to the stripes and how much he's shoved in our faces by the league, NBC and Reebok (cool ads). It would be easy to hate him even more but as I stated both on Facebook and Twitter, I just can't anymore. As was echoed:

I can't believe it. But I'm no longer going to complain about Sid The Kid. He is class and very unselfish. Good for sport. Ser---ious--ly..

Something like this is pretty hard for me to admit. I've always gotten razzed by friends about my insane Sid disdain. But what's said here about him being class, unselfish and great not good for the sport are all true. There's no ego whatsoever. He conducts himself like a true gentleman win or lose. And you know he'd have still been there if his team had lost after blowing a two-goal lead unlike another superstar who I'm a huge fan of. Crosby is very similar to The Great One and realizes the enormous responsibility he has to the sport of hockey. That kind of immense pressure is something Alexander Ovechkin will never face. As much as I enjoy the Great Eight, he took a hit this tournament. Even if there's no crime for not wanting to discuss the quarterfinal egg his Russian team laid.

In the end, Crosby comes out the true winner. As he accurately noted to annoying Joe Micheletti on NBC, his line had gone two games without finishing until the crafty No.87 snuck behind all-tournament selection Brian Rafalski, taking a quick feed from Jarome Iginla and firing before Miller was set to win gold for his country in dramatic fashion. He knew he wasn't his team's best player but when push came to shove in the four-on-four 20 minute overtime, there was Sid The Kid delivering the goods. Just a smart read by him keeping the play alive to Iginla, who hadn't done much this tournament. But more often than not, the best power forward usually comes through and he did because Crosby immediately drove to the net expecting the pass, even firing without looking to stun Miller and a gutsy Team USA that just wouldn't die.

Eight years later, the gritty Americans pushed Canada to the limit. Even if they caught a huge break when Dustin Brown was offside on Ryan Kesler's deflection goal that got them back in it. It looked like the Canadians would hold on despite a shaky Roberto Luongo letting out juicy rebound after rebound because his D was rock solid, limiting the pesky USA's second and third chances.

But in a remarkable period that early on saw the hosts ring two posts and watch Miller stone Patrick Marleau, there was no quit in Ron Wilson's relentless club who found a way to force sudden death. Who better than Zach Parise to get it tied with only 24.4 seconds remaining by digging out a Patrick Kane shot that deflected off Devil teammate Jamie Langenbrunner, slipping it past Luongo stunning the building. It was absolutely remarkable stuff that made the dramatic conclusion necessary.

Ultimately, Team USA fell short in its bid to upset Canada in hostile territory. Afterwards, a team that nobody gave a shot were presented with silver medals around their necks. As heartbreaking as it was, they did themselves and their country proud. They were second best to Canada who got the golds with fans chanting for their newest hero. The game's brightest star. There were no losers this afternoon. Today, hockey won.

BONY 3 Stars:

3rd Star-Zach Parise, USA (tying goal with 24.4 seconds left forced overtime)
2nd Star-Ryan Miller, USA (36 saves in defeat-named tournament MVP)
1st Star-Sidney Crosby, CAN (gold medal clinching goal 7:40 into sudden death)


G-Ryan Miller, Team USA

D-Brian Rafalski, Team USA

D-Shea Weber, Canada

F-Zach Parise, Team USA

F-Jonathan Toews, Canada

F-Pavol Demitra, Slovakia

Tournament MVP-RYAN MILLER, Team USA

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