If Canada doesn’t win Gold…

February 12th, 2010 by Burgundy Leave a reply »

First and foremost, I’m a proud Canadian. Secondly, I absolutely love the team Steve Yzerman and co. have put together for the Vancouver Olympics.

But one thing bothers me about Canada’s search for Olympic gold in Ice Hockey. I think many Canadians and media seem to both expect a Gold medal win and think anything less is a failure. Before going any further, someone will probably say “Well Burgundy, the Olympics are on home soil”. I guess. However, I doubt most people’s expectations would change if the 2010 Olympics were held anywhere else around the world.  Perhaps the pressure would reduce a bit, but not that much.

I want Canada to win. They have as good of a shot to win as any other team. But frankly, there’s at least 5 teams who could win this tournament. 5 teams, 3 medals. Obviously, that’s 2 very good team’s who won’t even get medals. And 2 other teams who don’t achieve the primary goal of Gold. (forgive the pun).

People seem to be saying all the right things with regards to the level of competition. Most admit the Russians are scary and people give Countries like Sweden and Finland benefit of doubt. Some Canadians actually think Team USA won’t be bad either (for the record, I don’t have them in my top 3, but I like their team a lot – they will surprise many). Despite this, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest many Canadians aren’t prepared for Canada to lose.

I think back to the 2010 World Junior Championships earlier this year. Team Canada played pretty well, but were beaten by an even better US team. These kids came back home with 2nd place medals in their pockets. They weren’t proud. Yes, losing is difficult, but that’s still a hell of a team. I truly believe Canada as a nation had difficultly accepting that loss to the US, as well as two losses to Russia at the World Championships in 2008 and 2009. And let’s not kid ourselves, that loss to the US won’t be the last at the World Junior level or at bigger stages like the World Championships or… the Olympics. No, I’m not saying US will be Canada for gold in Vancouver, but the day will come where other Nations (US, Russia, Sweden, etc…) will be better than Canada at hockey.

For too long, Canada has looked at hockey as “our sport”. In case you still think that, it’s not. Many other Countries around the world have gotten better at hockey, hockey development and understanding the game. For the sake of hockey, I think it’s great that the sport is growing. And the way Countries are pumping out young talented players only makes for better hockey for fans.

But for all Canadians, a few simple questions. If Canada doesn’t win Gold, can you handle it? Will you still celebrate a Silver/Bronze medal (if they win a Silver or Bronze)? You should. That’s a terrific achievement in what might be the toughest hockey tournament ever. It certainly shouldn’t be considered a failure. Will you call for Yzerman’s head and declare he should never assemble international hockey teams again? And finally, are you willing to accept that Canada’s absolute best may not be enough? (If that’s the case, we are in for some amazing hockey over the next few weeks).

It’s OK if Canada loses. As long as they play hard and represent our Country with passion. It’s a very real possibility – one I don’t think many are ready for.

Stay classy, Team Canada.

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8 comments

  1. Sens19 says:

    If Canada losses I may end up in a psychiatric ward for the rest of my life :P

  2. Burgundy says:

    It’s gonna be interesting to see how people react if Canada doesn’t win Gold…

  3. Fantana says:

    If Varlamov plays as well for the Russians as he did against the Sens last night, I think Canada has an excellent chance to take gold!

    Seriously though, I’ve got this feeling that the Russians might win this tournament. I’m still mulling this over, but like the WJC, I have a feeling Canada may not take the gold.

  4. GelatinousMutantCoconut says:

    I’m probably the only person who doesn’t think the Russians will finish with a medal at all. I even feel a little silly saying it…but I don’t think the team has enough depth. It’s too top heavy.

    They can score a lot of goals, but Canada, the US, Sweden have better defense and goaltending, but are no slouches offensively.

    Gold: Canada
    Silver: Sweden (Unless they play Canada in the semis, in that case USA is runner-up)
    Bronze: USA ( see above)

  5. Nock4Six says:

    Well, for starters, I could say what you’re thinking and introduce this comment with the, “hey…I’m a Leafs fan so I’m used to losing”.

    But I won’t give you that satisfaction.

    Sure….lots of countries are finally catching onto the glorious game of Hockey (see? I even capitalized it simply because it deserves it)…but it’s still our game. And you’re right….Canadians aren’t prepared for a possible loss this year at Van2010. But I think we got a rude awakening with the Juniors so……maybe.

    I know I’ll cry if we don’t get the gold. In fact, I will wail. You will hear me. ;)

  6. Mantooth says:

    I said it months ago, that it was going to be a close one… So much talent, across many countries. People for continuously under estimate Sweden, and I am personally scared of them more then Russia. The home country advantage will be playing huge in the Olympics this year.

    I am still holding on 2 hockey Golds this year, the Men and the Women are going to take them!

  7. Burgundy says:

    @ Mantooth – Good point on Sweden. They play so well together.

    @ Nock4Six – Kym, that sounds dirty :) Will I have to console you if Canada doesn’t win?

    @ GMC – I’m skeptical of the Russian defense and goaltending. I’m assuming Nabokov gets the start and we all know his playoff record. Not huge on their defense either, other than Markov.

    @ Fantana – Your feeling probably comes from the World Championships. And yeah, its a very real possibility.

    @ Sens19 – Will you still be able to access Stayclassy.net and twitter from the Psych ward?

  8. johnnyspoons says:

    Any medal is good, but I’m fully prepared for an upset.
    I can accept a silver medal as long as the game isn’t a blowout.
    I’m kinda glad we lost the WJC to the US; it makes it less exciting when my team is the overwhelming favourite.
    Did you see the Canadian women destroy Slovakia a few days ago? For me, It’s hard to watch games like that.
    I want to see a close, hard fought competition and if we come out on the losing end, so be it.

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