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The Gold Medal Game - Eric Staal vs Tim Gleason

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As it has been said before, if this was a best of seven tournament, the Canadians would probably dominate. On paper, they were already crowned. But, that's why you play the game. (see Pats v. Giants; sorry TSA)

The USA team has been the most consistent team out there. They sure ain't pretty about it. Their semi-final game yesterday should boost their confidence, as should their previous win over Canada in the qualification round. On the other side, the Canadians have had to change lines around all tournament. Not good at all. Plus, they have lost one (USA), had to go to a shootout to win (Swiss), almost choked (Slovakia) and at times looked down right shaky. This is not how it was supposed to play out at all. If anyone is a head case, it's Canada. Which Canadian team will show up?

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As it has been said before, if this was a best of seven tournament, the Canadians would probably dominate. On paper, they were already crowned. But, that's why you play the game. (see Pats v. Giants; sorry TSA)

facepalm2.gif That again? Geesh, I'm over that.....sort of laugh.gif

I think the pressure is all on Canada and if the US plays with the same in your face attitude they have,  the Canadians will get frustrated early and the crowd could start to turn on them early.  Unless of course NBC uses the same crowd that the Canadian McDonald's did for their commercial, then it would be like a home game for Tim Gleason and Eric Staal laugh.gif

Key to the game: silence the crowd early by coming out fast and furious and throwing everything at Luongo.

v1atlantis: I hated rooting against Finland yesterday, I hope Ruutu and Pitkanen get their bronze medals today and end their Olympic experience on a  good note.  They'll be cheered back in Raleigh when they return.  At least they didn't just give up like the Russians.

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Team USA wasn't even in the talks for a medal, yet we are in the Gold Medal Game. The game is not played on paper, it is played on the ice. Everyone including announcers were crowning the Canadians as the Gold Medal Winners before one game was played just based on who they had on the team.

Yet, Coach Mike Babcock has had to switch up their lines and goaltenders before they are not getting the contribution from the people they expected to get it from i.e. Sid the Kid and Martin Brodeur.

All we have seen from Team USA is the same lines from the start and the same goaltender, everyone contributing including the defense, if they ain't scoring, they are blocking shots and clearing pucks on the opposition's pp.

I love our chances to win the Gold and even if we don't, no one gave us a chance to even medal in the Olympics, so to walk away with one, makes one proud American.

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Gleason goes from snub to gold game; 'dreamed of this as kids'

Puck Daddy/ Greg Wyshynski

ept_sports_nhl_experts-844754680-1267230

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- When the players were announced at Fenway Park for the U.S. Olympic men's hockey team, Tim Gleason's(notes) name wasn't one of them.

"I was a bit shocked. I was disappointed," said Gleason, a defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes. "But I never booked a flight home. I never booked a flight for vacation. Which is ... interesting."

On Feb. 4, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek(notes) pulled out of the Olympics with a shoulder injury. Gleason was one of two defensemen added to the roster as injury replacements, along with the Anaheim Ducks' Ryan Whitney(notes) for Paul Martin(notes) of the New Jersey Devils.

Hebegan the month left off the Team USA roster. By the end of it, he'llhave played in a gold medal game. Which makes his father look like avery, very smart man for believing his son would, one way or another,join the U.S. team for the Winter Games.

"My family bookedtickets six months ago, and they had security on them. And they saidthey weren't cancelling them. And I said 'you're nuts, it's not goingto happen.' My dad said 'I'm not cancelling.' But it all worked out.I'm here," he said.

He's here,and apparently everyone Gleason's ever met knows he is. "I get randommessages and phone calls from people I haven't heard from in a while. Igot a lot of unknown numbers. A friend from grade school ... I don'tknow how they get the number," he said.

Gleason's averaged 14:20time on ice through five games, playing to a plus-3 without scoring apoint. He's been effective as a defensive partner for Erik Johnson(notes), bringing his physical style to what have been frequently physical games.

Mostof all, you can count the number of times the name "Komisarek" has beenmentioned in postgame comments thanks to Gleason's stability.

Theinjuries were reasons why the Americans were underestimated coming intothe tournament; after making the gold medal game with their 6-1thrashing of the Finns, Gleason believes Team USA has rendered itscritics futile. "They're going to stay whatever they're going to say.We're a humble group. Underdog or over the hill, it doesn't matter.We're a team that comes to play every game," he said.

"We dreamed of this as kids. To be playing in it is awesome."

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Staal 'thrives for these situations'
Doug Harrison/CBC Sports
 
staal-eric100227_584.jpg

Hurricanes GM likes Canadian's chances in Olympic gold-medal game


Jim Rutherford is happy millions of fellow Canadian hockey fans are getting a glimpse of what he sees on a daily basis.

The Carolina Hurricanes general manager has been impressed with play of his centre, Eric Staal, who has improved with each of Canada's games at the Olympic tournament in Vancouver.

Despite juggling lines, Staal enters Sunday's gold medal game against the United States eighth in Canadian scoring with six points in as many games on a goal and five assists. The 25-year-old is also fourth among all players with a plus-6 rating.

"It's something I'm used," Rutherford told CBCSports.ca, in reference to Staal's ability to adjust to any situation. "It's part of what makes him as good as he is. The other part is he thrives on that big game. He's a big-game player.

"He showed it with us when we won the Cup [in 2006] and we had the good run last year [in the Eastern Conference quarter-final] when we eliminated New Jersey [in seven games].

"He thrives for these situations so he's not sitting there thinking he should be playing with a certain two players. When he goes over those boards he's ready to do something."

Staal was the left-winger on a line with centre Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla that produced many scoring opportunities in Canada's 3-2 semifinal win over Slovakia on Friday night. In Wednesday's quarter-final, he earned an assist with a beautiful cross-crease feed to Corey Perry in a 7-3 rout of Russia.

Staal arrived in Vancouver having recorded at least one point in 13 of his previous 15 games, including an 11-game points streak (10 goals, seven assists) from Jan. 16-Feb. 5.

The improved play coincided with Staal being named Hurricanes captain on Jan. 20 and his return to good health after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury. He scored only three goals in Carolina's first 20 contests after tweaking a groin at the Olympic summer evaluation camp.

Besides dealing with injuries, the Thunder Bay, Ont., native took a leave of absence in early January following the death of his sister-in-law.

"When he was named captain," said Rutherford of Staal, "he took that with great pride and responsibility."

The 61-year-old GM said the quiet Staal had been ready for an increased role for some time.

"Eric's always been a guy that reaches out to his teammates or other people," Rutherford said. "He's one of the last guys off the ice at the morning skate on the day of a game and at practices he stays out there with the fourth-line guys and fools around."

On Monday, Staal will return to a Hurricanes team on the outside of the playoff picture, despite a five-game win streak.

"I'm proud that he's with our organization," said Rutherford. "He's a franchise player and he's going to lead this team into the future."

For now, Staal will try to lead Canada to a gold medal in Vancouver.

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[quote name=ivyleager wrote:


The USA team has been the most consistent team out there. They sure ain't pretty about it. Their semi-final game yesterday should boost their confidence, as should their previous win over Canada in the qualification round. On the other side, the Canadians have had to change lines around all tournament. Not good at all. Plus, they have lost one (USA), had to go to a shootout to win (Swiss), almost choked (Slovakia) and at times looked down right shaky. This is not how it was supposed to play out at all. If anyone is a head case, it's Canada. Which Canadian team will show up?I honestly believe that's what it comes down to. (Would hate to be a Canada fan, because of that, but it's something Canes fans can relate, LOL.)
ttiger2004]I love our chances to win the Gold and even if we don't, no one gave us a chance to even medal in the Olympics, so to walk away with one, makes one proud American.
Totally agree. Team USA has gone above and beyond what anyone expected them to here at the Olympics - sheesh, when was the last time any team scored 6 goals in the first 10 minutes of an Olympic hockey game? Whatever happens on Sunday, they can be proud of what they've accomplished at these Olympics.

TSA - just noticed your new Snoopy pic. Very appropriate!  thumbsup.gif

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Great articles you've posted, TSA.  Love the following two quotes from this one: It's Canada-USA again, for all the bragging rights

Nor, on the other hand, will it be the same U.S.A. team, still undefeated after a surprising 6-1 win over Finland earlier yesterday -
a game so lopsided legendary Finnish star Teemu Selanne said he wished he'd been curling instead.

American skill against Canadian will; Canadian drive against American speed; and may the best team win in
what is expected to become the most-watched hockey match in the history of the sport.

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Great articles you've posted, TSA.  Love the following two quotes from this one: It's Canada-USA again, for all the bragging rights

Nor, on the other hand, will it be the same U.S.A. team, still undefeated after a surprising 6-1 win over Finland earlier yesterday -
a game so lopsided legendary Finnish star Teemu Selanne said he wished he'd been curling instead.

American skill against Canadian will; Canadian drive against American speed; and may the best team win in
what is expected to become the most-watched hockey match in the history of the sport.

And it's actually broadcast LIVE on NBC in primetime Sunday. Imagine.......

Here's hoping NBC doesn't screw it up with cutting to commercials during play. Now that would suck.

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This game is going to come down to several key things for Team USA:

Good Goaltending

No Stupid Penalties

Scoring 1st

Capitalizing on mistakes

Staying with the game plan,

and the last one,

Play with pride, no matter how the game turns out, you will come away with the medal

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This game is going to come down to several key things for Team USA:

Good Goaltending

No Stupid Penalties

Scoring 1st

Capitalizing on mistakes

Staying with the game plan,

and the last one,

Play with pride, no matter how the game turns out, you will come away with the medal

One more thing they need to do ..... keep the crowd out of it. That place is going to be going nuts tonight for Canada, hopefully Team USA can try to block out as much of that as possible.

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Hope everyone cleared their calendar for the 3:15pm start (I'm praying the youth hockey game doesn't go into OT).  TSN gave it's breakdown of which team is superior to the other.  Read ahead if you want to see who's feeling inferior: laugh.gif  (I'm probably a little biased myself wink.gif )


USA vs Canada: the rubber match

By Roy MacGregor, The Globe and Mail

Goaltending: U.S.A.'s Ryan Miller is the goaltenderof these Olympic games. Second place would go to Switzerland's JonasHiller, third to Slovakia's Jaroslav Halak. That leaves Canada somewhatdown the line. Martin Brodeur played in Canada's 5-3 loss to U.S.A. oneweek ago and hasn't played since. Hometown hero Roberto Luongo had aneasy time against Germany (the team that never attacks) and seeminglyso against Slovakia right up until the dying minutes. The weak goal helet leak in the side brought all the old can-he-win-the-big-gamequestions up all over again. Advantage U.S.A. - at least until Luongoproves he can win a big one.

They have this one right smile.gifAdvantage USA

Defence: This issurely the most fluid area of measure, as so much seems to change eachgame. Canada's Dan Boyle was thought to be a mistake in the early gamesbut against Germany and Slovakia he suddenly raised his game -including defence - to new levels. U.S.A. has youth - the two Johnsons,Erik and Jack, Ryan Suter and Tim Gleason - but also one old man,36-year-old Brian Rafalski, who has played brilliantly and personallyput Canada on the ropes last week. Canada, however, has depth andrising superstar Drew Doughty. If Duncan Keith and Shea Weber continuetheir standard of play, it's advantage Canada.

Umm....what?  Rafalski has been unstoppable, Gleason has been a wall and the Johnson's have played like veterans. IF the Canadien's depth can play consistently, which so far we haven't seen that, I'd say no team has the advantage.  Advantage neither.

Attack: Normally, we would be talking about Sidney Crosby and JaromeIginla, but Crosby has been quiet on the scoresheet, if still good onthe ice, and Iginla has faded in and out of focus like cheapbinoculars. It's been the footsoldiers carrying most of the attack,which is admirable but also a bit worrisome. U.S.A.'s Patrick Kane puton the display of the Olympics against Finland, seemingly stickhandlingat will through pylons. Zach Parise (Canadian blood, U.S. passport) isa pure scorer. Advantage slightly U.S.A.

Slightly?  USA's star players can be found easily on the scoresheets and the footsoldiers are playing their roles to a T.  Notice how TSN is claiming Zach Parise as their own even though he plays for the US, wonder if that would be the case if he wasn't having such a good tournament? wink.gif  Advantage USA.

Irritants:  U.S.A.'s Dustin Brown drew two Finland penalties in the earlygoing Friday and his team scored on both power plays to effectively endthe game before anyone had even perspired. But Canada's Mike Richardsand Brenden Morrow have continually driven other teams to distractionwith their forechecking and little-guy big hits. Advantage Canada.

Yeah, because the US hasn't had a good forecheck worth noting either and players like Ryan Kesler haven't taken the opposition off their game with his hits, right? th_shakeshead.gif  Advantage neither.

Speed:  This was the difference maker in the World Juniors. U.S.A.has Kane, Paul Stastny, Phil Kessel, Bobby Ryan, Parise, Ryan Callahan.Canada has its own speed, but not nearly the (ital)quickness(end ital)that the young Americans possess. Advantage slightly U.S.A.

They got this one right but Team USA's speed owned Team Canada in the first go around. Advantage USA

Calm: We have seen both teams in full panic mode - potentiallydisastrous for any team. The Canadians seemed completely shell-shockedin the dying minutes of Friday's 3-2 win over Slovakia. The sense wasinescapable that if the game had gone on two more minutes, or if theSlovaks had started their challenge a couple of minutes earlier, thegame would have gone into overtime, where anything can happen. TheAmericans have panicked only once, and that was in the third periodagainst Canada when it seemed Canada had a five-man advantage and onlyMiller stood between them and a comeback victory. Given that theAmericans panicked when the Canadians attacked, it has to be advantageCanada.

OK this one has me spitting coffee on my keyboard.  Guess what, when the team about lose throws everything out there in desperation and the winning team still holds them off to get the win, I'm not sure that qualifies as "full panic mode."   The pressure is all on Canada and anything less than taking home gold will be considered a failure.  USA has nothing to lose but everything to gain since they've already exceeded all expectations.  Advantage USA

Coaching: Both Babcock and U.S.A. headcoach Ron Wilson have healthy egos - they can both sound at times as ifthey (ital)invented(end ital) the game - but Wilson's ran off with hisFriday when, in a press conference, he began reading his own resume offto reporters. Truth is, coaching at this stage means practicallynothing. The players will decide the game on their own. Advantageneither.

I'd agree with this one, there's no more coaching to do at this point but hey, that was a nice shot taken at Ron Wilson rolleyes.gif  Advantage neither.

Luck: In the end, when two teams areso close, the deciding factor is often chance. A bounce here, a whiffthere, heart-stopping for both sides. Advantage fans.

The fans are lucky because we're finally being allowed to view some great Olympic hockey on primetime NBC in HD.  Its about time. Connie_threaten.gif

As for home ice advantage, I'd definately give that to the Canadians (unless their fans turn on them).  Advantage Canada.

http://www.ctvolympics.ca...id=54109.html?cid=rsstsn

Thanks DianeNC, my snoopy avatar supplier has outdone himself for the occasion.

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I have seen the future. You will win . USA 5 - 4  CAN. Ryan with 2 goals, Timmy scores 3 which include the game winner in ot. Game winner bounces into goal from Crosbys butt.

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I have seen the future. You will win . USA 5 - 4  CAN. Ryan with 2 goals, Timmy scores 3 which include the game winner in ot. Game winner bounces into goal from Crosbys butt.

Nice visual laugh.gif

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Sorry Staal, I want Gleason to get a medal for my home country.

Go USA.

No injuries for anyone as well, please.

and we can all root for Miller for today at least devil.gif (just kidding sabre fans, I always have respected him. class act all the way)

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If you get a chance, before the game starts, check out the following article from the FanHouse website:

Paging Al Michaels: US Will Beat Canada

The article is way too long to post, but here are a few choice tidbits:

Ready for the most awaited hockey game in an American generation? Maybe the better question is whether Canada can handle the devastation if it loses to Team USA ... again ... for the second time in a week on Canadian ice. My gosh, Dudley Do-Right just might defect. And recalling the rioting in the Vancouver streets back in 1994, after the
lost to the
in a Game 7, well, I'll be avoiding that mess on Granville Street, thank you.

There won't be more than a few hundred U.S. fans in the stands Sunday, most likely, even though Vancouver is a short drive -- except for the messy customs stop -- over the border. Seems the Canadians, despite scalping prices going as high as $5,000 a ticket, won't be selling their seats for such a grand moment. If 1980 produced the victory to be forever known as the Miracle on Ice, winning gold on Canadian ice -- certainly possible, despite the can't-beat-them-twice nonsense -- would be a validation of America as a serious world player. We've had our moments in the sport, grooming future Hall of Famers and forging into the Olympic final eight years ago, where a Canada team pieced together by Wayne Gretzky finally won gold. But this would confirm that America can build champions, three decades after spinning a fairy tale.
The Miracle on Ice was a killshot against Soviet rule and helped make the world a better place. A gold medal here has a completely different meaning: It just might be the boon hockey needs to become big in America. There hasn't been a team this cool in the States since, dare I say, the basketball Dream Team.

Beating the Canadians, at their Olympics, would be one of America's epic international sports victories.
Now that NBC has figured out why Team USA should be aired live on the big blowtorch, the Sunday ratings will be gigantic, highest ever for a hockey game nationally
, helped by another snowstorm that has socked the East and fed the appetite for warmth and feel-goodism.

And if they lose to the U.S., a country that has merely 2,050 hockey rinks for 300 million people while Canada has 11,000 for 33 million people? They'll have to place guards on every bridge in the nation, watching for jumpers. In the height of irony, the local police don't want a gold medal. After the Russia victory, a screaming, marching mob took over Robson Street, chanting, "We want USA! We want USA!" Drunken behavior has been an Olympic sport these two weeks, and a Canada gold would launch a night of insanity involving people from throughout the region. "If Canada happens to lose, they'll cry in their beer at home and decide they're not going to get on the SkyTrain," Constable Lindsey Houghton, a spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department, told the New York Times. "If Canada lost [to Russia], Canada would no longer be playing and that would have brought a huge reduction in the number of people coming downtown."

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I'm just hoping for a good game, either way - whoever wins. (I don't know if I could handle a blow-out loss on our end, after everything our team has accomplished at this Olympics.) If we're not able to pull this one off, sure we'll remember how our guys were undefeated until the final game, never trailed in a game, the amazing six goals in under ten minutes against Finland - but doubt everyone will. Like the commentators are saying .... it's about earning that respect. 

With all that being said, LOL ..... Go TEAM USA!!!!!!!

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The pressure is on Canada. They are playing in front of their fans and they are expected to win it all. Interesting stat...Miller has made 103 saves and allowed 8 goals. That is not counting the many blocked shots our defensemen have gotten too.

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