Affirmations of an Armchair Quarterback: The World Juniors

Mike Davies– Sports Editor:

Silver isn’t good enough, boys. How can you not win the gold after being up by three goals going into the third period—and dominating the first two? Why wouldn’t the coach call a time-out after the second goal to rally the troops? Or change goalies? What the [expletive removed] happened?

This is the first reaction that Canadian hockey fans had after the Russian team at the World Junior Hockey Tournament took down Canada in the gold medal match. And to a large extent this reaction has not passed.

Settle down, Canada.

Sure, we probably should’ve been able to win that final game and take home the gold. But there was another team playing that game as well, you realize. It’s not like a world championship caliber hockey team from a traditional hockey-powerhouse country like Russia is going to come into the third period down three goals saying, “Well, I guess we’ve lost this one, comrades. No point in trying now.”

Sure, as Canadians, we’re bound to focus on the Canadian team’s collapse rather than the Russian’s comeback.

Do you think the Russian team is thinking, “Wow, those Canadians sure fell apart in the third there, hey? Good thing, too. We never would have been able to beat them otherwise.”

Or are they maybe thinking: “We’re awesome! We came back from three down to beat a hockey dynasty!”

My guess would not be the former.

And make no mistake—we are a hockey dynasty. And those of you complaining about this year’s loss should remember that.

Do you realize that Canada has appeared in the last 10 gold medal games at the World Juniors?

Remember winning five in a row? Oh, sorry—remember winning five in a row twice over a span of 17 years?

When you’re a dynasty like that, you get every team’s best game when you step on the ice against them. And sometimes the other team’s best effort will be better than yours.

We might have had the better team overall, and in a best-of-seven series we might have won. But this isn’t the Stanley Cup finals and we have no way of knowing that.

This is an international hockey tournament, and those are decided by the winners of single games. I kind of thought that’s one of the things we like about it.

Personally, I’m okay with Canada winning 12 gold medals in the last 22 years of the tournament. And 6 silver medals. And 2 bronze medals.

So how about you back off these kids. I’m sure they’re being hard enough on themselves and they don’t need your help bringing them down for only being the second-best team in the world.

By the way—what are you the second-best in the world at?