The next generation of hockey fans won’t be provided anecdotes of the great game of ’72, the World championship wins, the Gold Medal game in 2004. No, fans of tomorrow will all hear about the clutch performance by the 2010 Gold Olympic Medal Men’s hockey team who beat their new rivals Team USA. In fitting fashion, the Olympic Games wrapped up with the tournaments two top teams squaring off in front of a sold out stadium and a country that stopped in its tracks to watch and wait.
The game was a highlight. I had mentioned in the second period that, “I hope we don’t win 3-0, I’d prefer a nail-biter the heads into the 13th hour.” Little did I know I was a prophet.
What’s better for sport and fan? 3-0 win in regulation, or a 3-2 win in overtime?
It’s far more stressful but I’d opt for the 3-2 win in overtime because then the victory tastes that much better and the memory lasts that much longer.
Crosby on GWG, Iggy on the GWG Pass
Team Canada started to turn around their Olympics after facing Team USA the first time suffering a loss. A few changes to the lineups and the goalie propelled Canada all the way to the Gold Medal game.
Many rabid fans were anticipating great things on home soil, and in the end the team delivered in fitting fashion.
This 2010 version of the Olympic team included far more fire power and youth than in previous years. Tournament forward MVP Jonathan Towes lead Team Canada with 8 points and the first goal in the Gold Medal game. He along with the likes of Doughty, Nash, Richards, Getzlaf, Perry, and more, were all new faces in the line up and all capable of scoring big goals.
The depth proved crucial in Team Canada’s advancement. When opposing teams shut down the top line of Crosby-Iginla-Staal (Nash), it was the Sharks line, or the Ducks line, or the fourth line who pulled through with timely goals.
Time goals, however, was what the Crosby line finally delivered.
Zack Parise tied the game up with 30 seconds left making fans wait a little longer to taste Gold. 30 seconds away from victory and the nation together held their breathe nervously.
A brief intermission and a 20 minute OT was to follow, but the OT would be played entirely 4v4. Flames fans were curious if Jarome Iginla would factor in the lineup or, would he be sat like in games against the Swiss? The answer was provided on the first shift when he lined up beside Crosby.
The pace of the OT frame was quick, nervous, and stressful to watch!
But then it happened.
In true ‘Don Cherry Rock ‘em Sock ‘em fashion’ Canada turned the puck up ice after Lungo made a nice shoulder save after Neidermeyer giveaway in the Canada zone, then the team streaked down the ice for the eventual overtime winner.
Crosby picked up the loose puck and tried to split four defensive players. He was stopped but he still managed to retrieve the puck in the offensive zone where Iginla caught up after a line change. Crosby lost the puck momentarily in the refs feet but shoveled a pass Jarome along the board.
A whole nation heard it on the replay–Crosby shouting, “IGGY!” to get the puck back.
Jarome Iginla, the hero in the 2002 Olympics with 2 goals and 1 assist, was instrumental to give Canada a 2010 gold medal on home ice. He sent a no look pass on his back to Crosby who got a step on the American defender behind him. Goalie MVP Ryan Miller was expecting Crosby to come in close and had his stick out for the poke check. Crosby instead barely touched the puck before shooting a no look snapper that somehow found the back of the net.
A nation erupted.
History was made.
Canada’s team poured over the boards to celebrate. Canada Hockey place went into a frenzy.
Equally loud was just outside the arena in Vancouver.
It was won–Gold was ours–everyone could breathe a sigh of relief and start the victory celebratinos. The partying lasted into the wee hours of the night for some, but what was more important was how the entire nation came together to experience firsthand a landmark cultural event that will become etched into the minds of Canadians for at least another half century.
Where were you when Canada won the Gold? Many cool stories out there, share yours.
Props to s.yume for the picture.