USA vs. Czech Republic 4:3 – final.

There were a few times when the US was scrambling, but over all they were controlled and controlling the game. 
I think the Czech team played a lot better against us than they did Canada. I haven’t seen any of the buildup games before the weekend, but the Czechs looked mentally beaten and, I thought, gave up early in the Canada game. In the Czech/USA game, they were digging deep rather than giving up the ghost. For the Czechs, it was either start playing, or go home. I don’t know if they’re mathematically alive for the next round, but at least they have something to build upon by coming back and threatening in that game.
I liked that Czech d-man Gulas (or something close – #3). 
The USA, its true, were guilty of thinking the game was over, and that’s definitely something that needs to be addressed.  But it was only on mistakes and power-plays in which the Czechs seemed to threaten.  Mistakes, of course, are the bane of any team and coach that wants trophies, so there will be plenty to work on.  For the USA, going into the Khazak game will be an exercise in building more chemistry between the players and working on decision making, hopefully.

Canada, on the other hand, will enter their next game flush with their own greatness.  I’ll have to check who is next on the schedule, but if a team comes in determined to skate with the Canadians, we could be in for a great game.  I’m still looking forward to the Canada/USA game with relish as a Kings fan because it will give us a chance to see two Kings prospects up against a formidable lineup.  The US team looked very skilled and very large and that is sure to create some chaos in the Canadian end.  I still need to get a better look at the Canadian team, but for now I’m tabbing the USA for that game.  

A final aspect of this tournament is how amazingly great the hockey is.  I’m hoping the NHL continues to get younger, and the great talent coming through these youth programs is amazing.  ESPN and ABC are really guilty of dropping the ball with hockey.  The USA National team gave the american media one of the greatest sports stories in WORLD history and we’re repaid by being ignored.  Yay!

Hockey could really be on the cusp of greatness throughout the world.  I think the people who run hockey both in the Americas and Europe need to believe that this sport has everything the world loves in a sport and they need to do a better job getting tournaments like this seen.  There are too many people getting to see this type of tournament for the first time in their lives, and as hockey fans, they’re amazed at the level of skill, speed, physicality, determination, and sheer beauty of what’s taking place on the ice.  And the most amazing part is that nobody mentions missing Fights.

PS – The game was especially great to watch as I just saw Miracle for the first time last night. I’d love to see that pride and belief Brooks gave us as the foundation for our National program. I think we belong on the same ice with all these great hockey nations.

And from the “Inside the Kings with Rich Hammond” blog I poached this quote by writer “JDM,” who’s a standup guy, just to show an example of what I mean:

 

“I must say its really fun to watch all these kids. Their level of play is much higher than I imagined it could be. Lots of speed in the game. They look like pros out there. Its great to get a glimpse of all the talent from the last draft as well the guys upcoming in this draft. It’s gonna make the next draft day all the more exciting, regardless of where the Kings end up.  BTW, anyone know if that kid Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi playing in this tournament? I’d love to see him.” – JDM from “Inside the Kings”

http://www.insidesocal.com/kings/

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