It didn’t take a genius to guess what a motivated and, frankly, angry American team would do to a pathetic opponent Canada after losing by a single goal in the wholly meaningless preliminary round. The United States took the ice with purpose and routed the supposedly-favored neighbors (notice the lack of a U) to the north 5-1, in a game that shouldn’t have even been that close.
However, we’re not going to sit here and roll around in “We-Told-You-Sos” and “We-Were-Rights” and “You-Were-Wrongs” and “Your-Country-Is-Awfuls” and “Your-Players-Should-Be-Ashameds” and “We-Love-Your-Excuse-Makings” and “America-Kicked-The-Dogturds-Out-Of-Yous” and “You-Deserved-Its” and “We’re-So-Glad-You-Woke-Up-At-4-A.M.-To-Watch-That-Putrid-Performances” and “We-Own-Hockeys.” We, as Americans, have far too much dignity to stoop the that level. Instead, we’ll let the goals do the talking.
The first came from American captain Jake McCabe on a shot from the slot through traffic as the US created havoc in front of poor Malcolm Subban, whose biggest fault today (apart from being a Canadian loser) was that he was not born with x-ray vision.
The second came from American captain Jake McCabe on a shot from the slot through traffic as the US created havoc in front of … wait. The same goal? Twice? How many Canadian first-rounders were on the ice for those two goals? Three for the first and four for the second? Well that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense! We thought those kids were supposed to be good at hockey.
But hey, that was all the scoring in the game through the first period, during which Canada actually outshot the US 10-8.
In the second period, the once-mighty American Superpower Play (TM Sleeping Giant Heavy Industries, 2011-13) didn’t look quite so powerful. However, it’s important to note that this was by design: Canada looked so bad in this game that the Americans, in their infinite generosity, chose to let the Superpower Play go scoreless in the game. Didn’t want to run up the score too badly. Not right away at least.
The lead was broadened further when Ryan Murphy got toe-dragged out of his pants on the sixth goal in Johnny Gaudreau’s last three games. Then, less than 10 minutes later, it was Xavier Oullet’s turn to get embarrassed by an American forward on Gaudreau’s line. He’s probably still trying to figure out what Jimmy Vesey did to him on the goal to make it 4-zip. If we could give Oullet any advice, it would be, “You gotta put it out of your mind, and save some mental capacity for figuring out which one is the triangle on your next big test.” That just about did it for Subban, whose second-biggest biggest fault was that the defensemen in front of him were also Canadian losers.
Finally, in the third period, Canada began to claw back into the game with a shorthanded goal that was scored by Ty Rattie just one second after the ref blew his whistle. We’re not sure why, beyond depthless pity, the clearly corrupt IIHF officials allowed such a goal to stand, but in the end it mattered about as much as Canada does on the global stage: Not at all. Gaudreau re-extended the lead on a partial breakaway thanks to a gorgeous stretch pass from linemate JT Miller.
All of this goes without mentioning the brilliant play of John Gibson in the American crease, though it’s fair to point out that unlike his teammates, he didn’t seem all that bent on good sportsmanship today. He made 36 saves and was — wrongfully — beaten just once, and boy were a number of those saves high-quality. The US defense decided to give the Canadian forwards a couple good looks out of the goodness of their hearts, with one particular chance gifted to Ryan Strome standing out as particularly thoughtful. Nonetheless, Gibson, that old Scrooge, wouldn’t concede except on shots taken the referee signals that he wants play to stop, because unlike in Canada, beneficent American coaches only teach their players to play up to the whistle, not after it.
And so it was that the Canadians were ousted from this little tournament that they hold so dearly. The one for which they willfully humiliate some of the best players in the country by having them perp-walk through a lobby of debased and ravening fanboy “journalists.” The one for which they play only the most honorable kind of hockey, free of dives and cheapshots. The one they brag about dominating but at which they haven’t won gold since 2009 despite playing on home ice twice in that stretch. The one they constantly mentioned as being theirs to win since the NHL wasn’t robbing them of all the elite U-20 talent they send straight to the world’s greatest league. The one in which their teams were undefeated all-time during NHL lockouts. The one in which they are becoming increasingly irrelevant non-factors except in the preliminary round.
We heard a lot of talk today — and after Nail Yakupov spoke the truth about how dirty Canada plays at all times — about how Canada should stop letting foreign kids into the CHL because of how it takes jobs away from such-and-such a junior player from Whitby, or whatever, while giving those foreigners access to the very best junior coaching in the world. But umm, all five American goals were scored by NCAA players, and as for the coaching, well, Steve Spott runs a CHL team, doesn’t he? Phil Housley is a Minnesota High School Hockey coach, and his gameplan for today’s laughable contest made Spott look like an amateur.
It’s time for Canada to face the facts. Hockey’s just not the sport for you. You produce some okay players and make a little noise every once in a while, but four years in a row without gold at World Juniors? And this time after bringing every weapon in your supposedly-prodigious arsenal? Yeah, okay, you’ll probably beat the Russians on Saturday for Bronze but hell, the Slovaks almost beat the Russians. So did the Swiss. That’s the level you’re operating on these days.