Rivalry Day: Pressure, Hate, and Too Much Talent

February 22nd, 2010 by Mike Lieberman Leave a reply »
A few thoughts two-thirds of the way through Rivalry Day in Winter Olympic hockey…



I have watched hockey all my life, and never have I seen an entire period played with the emotion shared by both the Americans and Canadians in the first period Sunday night. In fact, the first 20 minutes reminded me of the opening round of “The War” between Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns in 1985.

The two squads delivered an opening period of preliminary round action with a fire usually reserved for the final minutes of a gold medal or decisive Stanley Cup game. That the pace and intensity didn’t waver for the full 20 minutes was mesmerizing.

The teams did more than bestow upon us some tremendous hockey, though. They reinforced two points:

1) The Americans are not here just to build experience for the next Olympics. Many of the familiar names are gone from Team USA, leaving fans to think this year’s young squad was acquiring experience to make it more of a force the next time around. Not so. With goalie Ryan Miller standing on his head, veterans playing like leaders ...

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