Thoughts on Canada’s women’s hockey team and their shootout loss in the gold medal game against the U.S.:
• I was more disappointed for Blayre Turnbull and assistant coach Troy Ryan – the old Junior A Crushers bench boss – than I was for Team Canada missing out on Olympic gold. We’ve won so many, losing one normally would not sting very much.
Except this one did, mostly because of the Pictou County connections on Team Canada.
We can still feel some measure of pride for a silver medal (just getting to the Olympics is a huge accomplishment), but let’s be honest here: Canadians don’t care about silver medals in hockey and we might even be allergic to them.
I’m not even sure Canadian hockey players care about them, either. They won’t come right out and say it, but that’s pretty much the deal-io.
Canada’s Jocelyne Larocque certainly doesn’t care about silver. She later felt she had to apologize (an apology that sounded like it was written by every public relations hack who ever lived) for refusing to wear the silver medal after the game. I suppose it would have been easier – and probably the right thing – to put the medal around her neck and just be done with it, but you can’t blame her for wearing her emotions on her sleeve, and she doesn’t need to feel too sorry about it, either.
• On the other hand, it’s not like the Canadian women lost to a hockey-weak country such as, oh I don’t know, Germany.
• The Americans out-quicked Canada in overtime. Playing four-on-four, it was an advantage for the U.S because they have more team speed. This might sound a little biased here, but Turnbull might have helped neutralize some of that had the coaches not stuck her on the bench and kept her there.
Plus, shortening the Team Canada bench might have further worn out the top Canadian lines.
• As the U.S. paraded around the ice in the early hours of Thursday morning, waving the Stars ‘n Stripes, the song ‘Born in the USA’ kept blaring over the arena’s sound system. Obviously, someone in the civilized world still thinks the Bruce Springsteen classic is a flag-waving, chest-beating song of patriotic zeal, when it’s not even close to that.
• Shootouts are not the preferred manner of deciding hockey games of such magnitude, but those are the rules that have been set out, and so they must be tolerated. You win some of them, you lose some of them and that’s the way she goes, boys. The U.S., who were due to take home an Olympic gold medal, got the win and they deserved it.
• Turnbull will quite likely get another chance at hockey gold, just four short years from now (and the older we get, the faster time seems to fly, so those four years will seem like three).
* * *
Non-Sports Thought of the Week:
• Do you like snowmobiles? Or stumbling through the woods with snowshoes strapped to your feet? Of course, those are worthwhile endeavours, if that’s what you’re into - snowshoeing is good exercise and fresh air, snowmobiling is simply having fun as long as you don’t break any ribs.
If you are a fan of those sorts of things, you probably don’t think much of the winter we’ve been having. Everyone else, however, is pretty okay with it.
Kevin Adshade is sportswriter with The News. His column appears each Saturday.