US wins by 8 despite intentionally mediocre effort

To the surprise of zero people on the planet the US of A opened its 2011-12 World Junior Championships campaign with a stunningly easy victory over Denmark.

Not that it looked so good through the first 20 minutes. The US, presumably because it felt so badly that it was being forced by archaic IIHF rules to beat a team so poor as the Danes, flatly refused to make an even cursory effort at killing penalties. But because the Americans are clearly the most gentlemanly and cool team in the tournament, they were only able to convince the refs to give the Danes three power plays. So that was Denmark’s three goals accounted for.

Now let’s focus on America’s 11.

The ease with which the USA, led by Charlie Coyle’s hat trick, scored its goals tonight was appalling. It was nice of the Danes to kick the third one into their own net in an effort to appease their American superiors, but it was also fruitless and for naught because in international competition, you have to be at least a little cutthroat since differential counts for a lot.

Three goals in the first period was a fine amount — puts you on pace for nine — but the Danes’ insistence on cheating (see the Macho Man-esque flying elbow to Kevin Gravel’s defenseless noggin in the second period) sparked a bit of rage and six goals later it was 9-2 through 40 minutes.

Obviously the US dialed it back in the third period and only scored twice, which was fair enough. The envious Canadians that packed Rexall Place for lack of anything better to do in their pathetic lives, who had spent the game’s opening minutes booing everything positive the US did (or, everything the US did, since it’s all positive), had made a hasty retreat once it was clear the game was well in hand. The US thrives on playing in front of hostile crowds, and because every crowd is hostile due to their petty jealousy, it can sometimes be difficult to really get up the type of killer instinct that typifies the American game. Along those same lines, the Danish team backed down from trying to compete with the Americans physically because they were afraid of literally being beaten to death by Emerson Etem.

The important thing here, though, isn’t the final score. Winning 11-3 is fine, but it was better that the US used the second period as a showcase of its real and awesome power. Imagine if it wanted to play like that for a full 60.

If we weren’t American (the horror!) we’d be terrified.

In other, far less important action no one who matters cared about:

CANADA (booooooo) 8, FINLAND 1

Mark Stone had a hat trick and an assist in Canada’s breezy win over Finland in the tournament’s opening game, but we at the Sleeping Giant sincerely hope that the IIHF will launch a full investigation into the matter.

Just look at this guy:

We’re not sure how much the Canadian team is sinking into the team’s makeup budget, but the fake acne trying to make him look like a teenager just isn’t convincing. Mark Stone isn’t a day under 30.

This kind of shameful behavior isn’t atypical, of course. Canada has been known to revel in its poor sportsmanship (i.e. playing the Canadian national anthem — imaginatively entitled “O Canada!” — prior to the game, and not Finland’s) but this is some of the worst we’ve yet seen.

Also in this game, Devante Smith-Pelly fractured his foot and will miss the remainder of the tournament so now you can fully expect that Canadian media to pin the team’s eventual Hindenburg-type disastrous meltdown on that.

Sweden 9, Latvia 4

Don’t let this score fool you. Latvia scored four goals on just 13 shots against Sweden’s Johan Gustafsson. Four on 13! Clearly some problems to sort out there. On the other hand, Max Friberg took time out from being in the E Street Band to score four for the winners.

Russia 3, Switzerland 0

The Russians didn’t allow a single goal and everyone in Switzerland wept into their fondue pots but no one else noticed or cared.

And finally, here is a nice email we received from some great Americans who know a great blog when they see one:

Thought you’d be getting a lot of hate mail in the next few days… or maybe you get hate mail all the time. haha. Either way, a few of my friends and I went to see American hero Tyler Johnson play in Hershey last week and made a poster in honor of your amazing blog. Thought I’d send it along for you to take a look at.

GO USA!

Go USA indeed.

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