Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Every player on Team Canada has been drafted by an NHL team, except for the 2 who aren't yet old enough to be drafted. That's how good they are.
How often do we in the US see our sports teams playing the role of David against Goliath? How often are we the plucky underdogs, fighting against all the odds, against a mighty opponent who seems almost unbeatable? Sure, we're massive underdogs in soccer. But in that sport we don't have much of a chance to win. We struggle with Ghana and Mexico. Beating giants like Germany and Spain and Brazil is nearly impossible. But in hockey, we're the underdogs, but we still have a legit chance. We can actually beat Canada.
This is a group stage game. Both Team USA and Team Canada have clinched advancement into the elimination rounds of the 2015 World Juniors. So what's on the line is pride. Two top hockey rivals fighting for pride, holding back nothing because there's nothing to lose. That's a recipe for high quality sports entertainment.
The winner of this game wins Group A and gets a top seed in the quarterfinals. The loser finishes second.
More importantly, the winner will have beaten the loser. In this rivalry, that's serious motivation.
So, if you have some free time from 4 to 7, turn to NHL Network and watch a bunch of young Americans play against a bunch of young Canadians in front of a bunch of older drunk Canadian fans.
If you like hockey, this is as pure and as competitive and as spirited as it gets. No fights, no contracts, no holding back, just a bunch of kids playing for national pride on an international stage.
Happy New Year.