GLENDALE – The Coyotes practiced for about an hour on Friday but not until after they watched the Olympic semifinal game between the United States and Canada together as a group in the player lounge inside Jobing.com Arena.
Canada won 1-0 to advance to the Gold Medal Game against Sweden, which beat Finland, 2-1, in the other semifinal on Friday.
“It was fun because there was some pretty tense moments there in a close game, which we all expected it to be,” said forward Kyle Chipchura, one of the team’s proud Canadians. “There was jabbing back and forth (with the American Coyotes), but for the most part it was lot of fun to have a few guys cheering for the U.S. and a few guys cheering for Canada in the same room.”
Captain Shane Doan, who played for Canada’s Olympic team in 2006, said he, too, enjoyed watching the game with teammates.
“Everyone was having fun ribbing everybody,” Doan said. “It’s always fun to watch with friends. Everybody enjoys it more.”
Defenseman Chris Summers, an American, also liked the viewing party.
“There’s not too many of us (Americans) so we have to stick together,” Summers said. “… Even the Europeans (on the team) were cheering for Canada so we were kind of outnumbered. But it was a good matchup for sure.”
Head Coach Dave Tippett watched the game (away from the players) and was impressed by how Canada shut down the high-scoring U.S. team.
“I thought it was a very good hockey game and I thought the team that deserved to win won,” said Tippett, who played for Canada at the 1984 Olympics and again at the 1992 Olympics. “I thought Canada carried a big portion of the play and I thought Canada’s defense was really strong and (Carey) Price made saves when he needed to.”
Defenseman Keith Yandle, whom many observers believed should have been picked to play for the U.S. team, said he only watched a little bit of Friday’s game – at the beginning and then the end with teammates.
“It’s (been) a tough couple days for the Americans… but I think the U.S. is doing pretty good in the medal count,” Yandle said, in reference to the Americans losing to Canada in men’s and women’s hockey in Sochi.