Panthers play-by-play man Steve Goldstein is in Vancouver to cover the Olympic games for Westwood One radio. And while he's there, he'll be blogging on his experiences and his thoughts on the hockey tournament and the Olympics in general. Only seen on floridapanthers.com, enjoy as Steve brings you closer to the action (unless you're actually in Vancouver and at the games that is).
What a Super Sunday of hockey, highlighted by team USA's huge upset of Canada.
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was awesome, making 42 saves and the U.S. got a huge shot in the arm early when Brian Rafalski scored on Martin Brodeur 41 seconds into the game. The U.S., despite having only three players with Olympic experience, never wilted under the pressure of Canada coming back at them and the seas of red, pro-Canadian crowd. Chris Drury, Ryan Kesler, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter all played strong games but it was goaltending that decided this one. Flat out, Miller beat Brodeur. Canada may go with Roberto Luongo against Germany on Tuesday.
The win, coupled with Sweden's dominating 3-0 win over Finland in Sunday's nightcap puts the U.S. in great shape. They are the #1 seed and will play the winner of Switzerland-Belarus on Wednesday, 3pm EST on NBC. I will be doing the game on Westwood One radio with John Vanbiesbrouck. If the U.S. wins, and here is the real advantage to being the #1 seed, they play the winner of Czech Republic (yes, Tomas Vokoun's their goalie) vs. Finland in the semis. Team USA will not play Canada, Russia or Sweden, the three favorites going into the tournament, until the Gold Medal game. It is a huge advantage.
What a day. I got to the rink at 11:30am, and got back to my room after midnight. The streets of Vancouver were as quiet as they've been during these Olympics thanks to the red, white and blue coming up HUGE, beating Canada in the Olympics for the first time in 50 years. That would be 1960, and if you don't know how those Olympics ended for the USA, look it up!
Men's hockey get a day off Monday so I will be at the women's semi-finals. Team USA and Canada have been routing their oponents every game and are on a collision course for a gold medal showdown.
USA hockey feels great overall as the women and men are undefeated here in Vancouver and the US beat Canada in January in the World Junior Chamionships. The US also has won the last under 18 and under-17 championships as well.
Hockey in America is alive and well indeed!