If you hadn’t yet taken the time to set your watch to America winning every one of its World Junior games with hilarious ease, now might be the time to do it.
As any reasonable non-Canadian (sorry to be redundant) could have told you before the game began, The Red, White, and Blue took down Sweden on the road in its first warmups for a gold-medal strut in UFA beginning a week from today. Goals from true patriots and great heroes Connor Murphy, Ryan Hartman and Shaye Gostisbehere set the stage for the win, as did the high-quality goaltending of Garret Sparks and Jon Gillies, the latter of whom got the win in making 18 saves on 19 shots.
Obviously, that the US won the game is not the news here. What is interesting about the game is that it did so without its six best players in the lineup, and despite the clearly biased officiating crew levying against it nine wholly undeserved penalties. That Sweden could only muster one goal on those chances is hardly anyone’s fault but their own, especially considering that, again, the very best American players were watching from the stands, though presumably focusing all their psychic energies into intense hatred of all things non-American.
Johnny Gaudreau? Munching popcorn. Rocco Grimaldi? Texting. JT Miller? Napping. Jacob Trouba? Studying. Seth Jones? Signing literally thousands of autographs. John Gibson? Thinking about how much Canada sucks.
Imagine if Phil Housley had run these guys out against Sweden. What’s the final score looking like, 12-0? Hoo boy. Sweden was supposed to be good this year too. We don’t see it. But then, we don’t see anything not directly related to American greatness, and that’s the kind of stuff no other country could ever come close to approximating.
And just in case you needed the information — and you probably didn’t — Canada lost its pre-tournament game to Finland, despite having only one of its best players (the scoundrel Jonathan Huberdeau) out of the lineup. The final score was 3-2, as if part of a cruel joke from the Hockey Gods to highlight the wide disparity in team quality between these two North American neighbors. But, to be fair, while you can absolutely have doubts about Canada’s effort for the game, you cannot question its coaching staff’s preparedness.
Interesting penalties hurt Canada. Steve Spott said discipline, and big ice and the time zone worried him big time. #getthekinksout
— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) December 20, 2012
Steve Spott is the Atom hockey coach tasked with keeping things as unembarrassing as possible for Canada this year, and he brought out the whole bag of tricks to explain away why his team was pantsed by what we were all told was a vastly inferior opponent. Too many penalties!* We’re not used to big ice like Finland is!** This was a big time change!***
In reality, you can choose to look at today’s results two ways: 1) That Canada really had all these problems and struggled under their weight, while the US magically did not against a better team, or 2) Canada sucks and America is the best.
We’ll give you a hint: It’s No. 2. Go America.
*the same number as the US
**the US played on the same sheet against a team that also uses international dimensions
***the US’s was the same