WEISS: USA/Canada Might Not Be Miracle II, But It's A Must Watch

To the best of my knowledge, Al Michaels is not calling any of the hockey games in these 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  So those of you hoping to hear a re-creation of his famous "Do You Believe In Miracles?!" call from the now legendary Miracle On Ice, a United States triumph over the hated Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY, will be disappointed.  The absence of Michaels aside, I don't think it's fair to attempt to compare today's gold medal match between the United States and arch-rival Canada to the Miracle On Ice, as many have already done.  That 1980 US team was made up of a bunch of inexperienced college kids who came together and played out of their minds, taking down an absolute Goliath in the Soviets.  That team from Russia was perhaps the most feared collection of talent in the history of team sports.  Like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, whatever they hit, they destroyed.  You think it was a coincidence that Drago was also Russian?  Neither do I.

In any event, that US victory in 1980 was so unlikely, that it has gone down as arguably the greatest moment in US sports history.  They made a movie about it (Side note: Miracle is one of the more underrated sports movies out there.    If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend).  Miracle Fast forward 30 years and here we are today.  In a rematch of the gold medal game from the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, the United States faces off against hockey royalty in Team Canada, a country that believes that they are the only ones out there who have any business winning hockey matches of any kind, let alone gold medal games, and who could never lose to America of all countries.  Uch.  Hockey snobs.  And then you have the United States fans, who think that they should never lose to "America Jr." in anything.  For two countries that get along so well in just about everything, there is certainly no love lost in this upcoming game.

And while this might not be the greatest hockey match of all-time, deserving of historical accolades and films starring Kurt Russell, I believe that this still Must See TV.  The winner of the Cold War and future of the free world might not hang in the balance this time around, though I do believe that the fate of hockey in the United States is at stake.  If the Americans can capture gold, it just might rejuvenate the country's love for a sport who's interest has been severely lacking over the past decade. 

It will not be easy though, as the United States has only beaten Canada one time in international competition since defeating them in the finals of the 1960 Olympics, with the lone victory coming in the 1996 World Cup.  One win in 50 years (who do they think they are, the Detroit Lions?).  Unlike 1980, this year's US squad is made up solely of NHL players, as is their Canadian counterparts.  It will be an all-star game of sorts.  Team USA might not be as talented or experienced as a Canadian team featuring the likes of Sidney Crosby and Jerome Iginla, but they are physical and are playing with a ton of momentum, fresh off of their 6-1 drubbing of Finland in the semis.  Canada, on the other hand, held off a furious late rally from Slovakia and barely squeaked by.  0224-miller-grid2_rp350x350 For the United States to pull the upset, they must continue to rely on the strong goaltending of Ryan Miller, who has been the most outstanding player in the tournament to this point.  Yes, it's true, myself as a proud Michigan Wolverine will be rooting hard for a goalie who played at Michigan State.  But this is what happens in the Olympics.  Differences aside, it's country first.

So why don't you settle in around 3PM EST for what should be a hell of a hockey game.  It's Canada vs. the USA.  Tim Horton's vs. Big Boy's.  Politeness vs. Rudeness.  Aboot vs. About.  Universal health care vs......whatever it is that we have.  You get the point.

Just because we won't see another Miracle, doesn't mean that this won't be epic.  Enjoy.

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