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Team USA stuns host Canada, 5-3


(Ryan Remiorz/AP)


Brian Rafalski scored two goals and set up another to lift the Americans to a victory over Canada and into the quarterfinals. Here's a quick excerpt from Amy Shipley's gamer, with more to come soon:

When U.S. Olympic hockey player Jamie Langenbrunner scored in the final period Sunday night, a shot ricocheting off his skate blade into the net, he about jumped out of the arena. This wasn't exactly a miracle on ice, but elements of it had become pretty difficult to believe.
An underdog U.S. team hadn't merely given a star-laden Canadian team a fight in a roaring, red-decked arena. By night's end, it had left an entire nation bruised.
The Americans claimed their first Olympic victory in men's hockey over Canada in 50 years with a resounding 5-3 victory that featured opportunistic, inspired play by a team described as too young and too rough around the edges to achieve much here.
"We supported each other really well and we responded really well when things went against us," said U.S. goalie Ryan Miller, who stopped 42 shots. "I like that from our team. Maybe it was because the pressure wasn't on us."
The victory pushed the United States into the gold-medal discussion, while sending nearly all of Canada reeling at the result. In an Olympics in which Canadian athletes have thus far failed to meet medal expectations, hockey was figured to represent the one sure thing.

Read more on the victory here.

Also, check out more on Russia's 4-2 win over the Czech Republic here.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  February 21, 2010; 10:26 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps return to practice Wednesday

Comments

Amy, may I suggest you change your title for the post?

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | February 21, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Canada really could have used Mike Green on their power play, especially late in the game. The kid they went with, Doughty, looked WAY over his head. Never shot the puck. Nice!

Posted by: caps1974 | February 21, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

well Doughty was okay but they could have used Green instead of Pronger on the PP...

Posted by: joek443 | February 21, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

TAKE THAT CANADA!

HA!

MAYBE NEXT TIME YOU'LL GAS UP THE

LAM-BO-GREENIE!!!!


YUP, STILL BITTER!!!

GO USA AND GO CAPS IN THE OLYMPICS!

Posted by: real_wtf_fehr | February 21, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree w/ you caps1974, they should be kicking themselves for not making a part of the team.

As for Doughty I also agree there but Pronger also is not a stand-up or go-to guy in my opinion. He may have some great NHL numbers behind him but when the rubber meets the road I'd much rather have Mike Green on my side.

Just my $.02...

Posted by: BlueDeuce | February 21, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh yea, lol, I love yelling "Crosby Sucks", cause he does..

Posted by: BlueDeuce | February 21, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil,

I never once claimed to be a hockey expert but I do know "something" about the game. I've been a Caps fan since the very early 80s and my father was going to games since the team was founded. I must've learned a thing or two about the game along the way.

More importantly, you don't have to be an expert to be a fan. You can have minimal knowledge of the nuances of the sport and be a tremendous fan. I am not planning to become a hockey coach or a TV analyst although I have enjoyed looking at the game a bit more technically as I've gotten older.

It actually sounds like you want to be the expert and prove you know more than me. Go ahead, my friend. Be the expert. That isn't my concern. I just want to see the Caps win hockey games and cups.

When I was a kid watching games, it wasn't about th Xs and Os. It was about going to games with my pops, getting some popcorn and seeing my favorite Caps' players. And, of course, seeing the Caps win. For the most part, those are the exact same reasons I still watch games. I'm not watch to become a hockey expert.

I just get tired of comments like "they're talking too much about the Russians" and "Ovechkin is an idiot" or "Kovalchuk is my most favoritest player in da world" and "I luvz da King and da Caps."

And, no, it does't make any sense to me that a lifelong Caps fan can be as into another team as you are or have a favorite player that doesn't play for the Caps. If Ovechkin or Backstrom or any other Caps player ended up on another team, I'd still like them but there is no way they would be my favorite players. It's all about the Caps for me and it will always be that way until I'm 6-feet under.

The Caps > Any other team and any indvidual player (and that includes former Caps)

Finally, I never said I didn't like Team USA. I was just trying to counter your anti-Russian comments as if it was absurd to be pulling for a team other than Team USA.

How's that for a long post? ;)

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 21, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

How about getting Rafalski in a deadline deal?

Posted by: ccCapsfan | February 21, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Some great hockey today.

Mr. Jagr, meet Mr. Ovechkin.

Posted by: zmega | February 21, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I was just thinking that the entire game ccCapsfan..how nice a Raflaski would be.
Babcock must wish he were Canadian.

Posted by: Rocc00 | February 21, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

A Rafalski type would do wonders for the Caps in terms of improving their decision-making with the puck in their own end. A player like him would seem to fit Boudreau's system perfectly as he'd facilitate our quick transition game with his ability to skate, see the ice and get the puck up to the forwards quickly. He's also an able defensemen with experience playing for great coaches in great systems.

A lot of people talk about the Caps needing more gritty, stay-at-home defensemen. While that would help, I think they could just as much use another puck mover on the backend who is capable of making good, quick decisions under pressure. Good forechecking teams often create havoc with our defense, pressuring them into making bad decisions.

We do have Pothier, who is a good skater and puck mover. The only problem I see with him is that he's simply too soft and inconsistent, defensively. If not for his defensive issues, I wouldn't see as much of a need for another puck mover as we could just move him to the 2nd line and have him and Green on the top 2 lines.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 21, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the type of a d-man is what's important as much as the quality of of the player they may acquire... they just need someone who's better and with more playoff experience than their current 5th and 6th d-men

Posted by: joek443 | February 21, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

I've agreed on this with you before but just want to do it again. A capable puck moving defenseman is more important than a big, crease clearing defenseman.

Ideally you want a guy who can do both but it isn't likely the Caps can get a guy like that at the deadline.

Now, I'm not saying to get a defenseman who doesn't play physical at all or is poor defensively, but somebody in the mold of a Niedermeyer, Kaberle, or Zidlicky.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 21, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I've got nothing against Canadians but it's so easy to dislike their team: crybaby cindy, punka** Richards, Pronger the goon, and the snub to Greenie seals the deal. You watch, if Canada doesn't get gold, suddenly the NHL will have a big interest in going to Sochi...

Posted by: CAP-lanta | February 21, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

That is exactly how I see it. Like you said, I'm not saying the puck mover/good decision-maker shouldn't have good defensive skills. If he doesn't, we might as well go with a guy like Pothier.

We want a good overall defensemen who can better help us when it comes to getting the puck out of our own end and up to our forwards. He doesn't have to be the best defensive defenseman on the market but, ideally, he's a little better, offensively, than Pothier and quite a bit better, defensively.

A stay-at-home, gritty type would be fine, too. richmondphil and others have mentioned Volchenkov on a number of occasions. I'd love to get someone like him, as well.

That ties into joek's. There is more than one type of defenseman we could use. I'm leaning towards a puck mover but any kind of upgrade would be great, if not necessary.

Overall, I think that what McPhee does before this trade deadline will be among the more important decisions he has made in recent history. We are clear cut contenders this season. We basically should go all in as far as I see it. It will likely cost us picks and prospects but it's worth it. This is the time. Backstrom is on the last year of his small contract much like Malkin was last season, allowing the Penguins to spend more freely to fill in the gaps.

On a side note, where is that Penguins fan that was criticizing Ovechkin during and after the loss against Slovakia?

Crosby was awesome tonight. He had a number of great deflections. One of them even went into the other team's net! lulz

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 21, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Big bonus for tonight's victory: multiple shots of Crosby looking like he's about to cry, multiple shots of Crosby getting pasted in front of the net, multiple shots of Crosby wondering why he's not getting ALL the calls--although he did score on a nice marginal call that featured Langenbrunner (I think) repeatedly yelling the same thing everyone else in America was... "That was a dive! That was a dive!"

Posted by: TheGJ | February 21, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Edit: That ties into joek's point.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 21, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Assist, Backstrom.

He looks terrific again. I thought he was the best forward in the first period of their last game. He's been one of the best to start this game, as well.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 22, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Backstrom roofs it through traffic. Awesome.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 22, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

That was a sweet shot. Perfectly placed by Backstrom.

Posted by: cbs75 | February 22, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Backstrom with a goal and an assist so far--yay! Go Sweden!

Posted by: dc33 | February 22, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

I believe Backstrom just picked up another assist. He's factored into every goal tonight. Awesome.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 22, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Great game by Sweden, and especially by Backstrom - 1 goal, 2 assists. Fantastic job!

Posted by: timmyv38 | February 22, 2010 2:14 AM | Report abuse

It can't get any more bittersweet as a Caps fan from Canada. OV was awesome, Backstrom had 3 points, and the Canadian PP could not need Green any more clearly. However, as I am Canadian, it sucks they lost, but the team needs Green big time. Seabrook and Boyle have been horrific.

Posted by: Aldred15 | February 22, 2010 3:11 AM | Report abuse

Congratulation for american's players from Russia,thanks,your team is great really this year,but Russia better,sorry :))))

Posted by: ErwinoffRussia | February 22, 2010 3:29 AM | Report abuse

I'll bet Canada never again puts Yzerman in charge of anything. Regardless how it turns out, the Canadians have 8 defensemen on their roster. Not 6; not 7; 8.

That means you can ice three regular pairs and then, on top of that, you can pick two spare defenseman. Any normal person might say, "Yeah, let me get one guy great on the PK and one guy great on the PP." You don't even need to use those guys in the rotation if you don't want. They can just be there to fill their niche.

How could any team on Earth not use the world's best offensive defenseman as one of 8 d-man? OK, if it's 6, you might say, "He's not one of the best six for my three pairs." But you have two extra. And you don't need four pairs, nobody in normal hockey rotates four pairs.

Yzerman is looking like an idiot. Meanwhile, the Russian coach swapped his lines just in time. Ovi-Semin-Malkin looked fantastic. The hit on Jagr will go down as one of my favorite all-time moments. It shows everything that's wrong with Jagr in a nutshell. And everything that's so great about Ovi.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 22, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

I thought too that Greenie would have made a difference for Canada yesterday. That was a fast game and Canada got a lot of shots off but team USA was more opportunistic. Miller made quite a difference for USA--he was definitely in the zone. I kept thinking about if he's this good in the playoffs, other teams will have their hands full. But I still thought team Canada was quite dangerous. The game could have gone either way.

And our Ovi--all I could say after that hit is how glad I am that he's a Washington Capital. So many ways of being a difference maker on a team and Ovi knows how to exploit them all. The line change-ups seemed good IMO--I liked Malkin, Ovi, Semin better. And the second line had I believe more chemistry too.

I'm looking forward to watching the Swedish game later, especially because it sounds as if Backstrom had a great game. I don't think he will be so underrated after the Olympics. Ahh if I were younger I might have been able to stay up to watch it live!!!! But thank goodness for technology.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 22, 2010 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Here's what I found:

Switzerland (8) vs. Belarus (9), 3:00 pm ET, Canada Hockey Place

Canada (6) vs. Germany (11), 7:30 pm ET, Canada Hockey Place

Czech Republic (5) vs. Latvia (12), 10:00 pm ET, UBC Thunderbird Arena

Slovakia (7) vs. Norway (10), Midnight ET, Canada Hockey Place

Now, Russia is 3rd so they would play Canada. Finland is 4th so they would play Czech (assuming Canada and Czech win).

The all-important question - is US or Sweden the first seed? It's all the difference on Earth. 1st seed plays Belarus - Swiss winner and the 2nd seed gets, very likely, that tough Slovakian squad.

Wow. Russia vs Canada in Qtr Finals. That's two of the top three (Sweden, other) going in.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 22, 2010 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Capsyoungguns: I'm an idiot. Not a "Steve Yzerman" kinda idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

I didn't record the SWE-FIN game. Maybe my daughter did when I was asleep. I'll see when I get home. Otherwise, what is there to do tonight?

The other sports the show don't have the excitement. Curling? It's OK, but it drags on like baseball. Ice dancing? Put Ovi in there checking them into the stands, I'd watch. Cross-country skiing? Nah.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 22, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Hockey Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman won three Stanley Cups as an NHL player, but the Detroit Red Wings legend is hoping his success on the ice translates into success off it as well.

According to ESPN.com, Yzerman wants to be an NHL general manager.

"I would like to run a team one day," Yzerman told the Web site. "But who knows when that will be, if at all."

Anyone who wants to contact him and let him know about his chances of getting an NHL GM job, you can write him at:

S_Yzerman19@havenoclue.com

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 22, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

tominfl,

Great info. Thanks. I'm wondering the same thing because the 2 definitely has the tougher semifinal game; however, does the Olympics re-seed like the NHL?

For example, let's say 1, 2, 4, 6 and advance to the semi's. In a bracket format the 2 seed would play 6 (Canada), but in a re-seeded tourney the 1 seed would play the 6 (Canada).

Any thoughts??? To both what seed the U.S. has and whether or not they re-seed after each round. Thanks.

Posted by: RickyBobby | February 22, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

RickyBobby: The one article I read said Russia has bye and then plays Canada-Germany winner. I don't think they re-seed because the play-in games are on Tuesday and the qtr finals on Wednesday. Re-seeding could mean the team winning the midnight game Tue could conceivably play the 1st game then on Wed. I'm pretty sure the answer is "No re-seed."

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 22, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Just read that US is #1 seed going forward due to "goal differential" over Sweden. Maybe this means we had more goals, a better goal margin or our goals were prettier.

HUGE difference. Sweden must play the Slovakia-Norway winner and we get Swiss-Belarus. Then, assuming higher seeds win, Sweden plays Russia-Canada winner in semi-final and we get Finland-Czech winner.

I don't think anyone (even Steve Yzerman) would disagree that the Canada-Russia-Slovakia-Norge path is tougher for Sweden than Swiss-Belarus-Finn-Czech path for US.

Do you believe in goal differential miracles?

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 22, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

The US is #1 seed based on goal differential and SW is #2.

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | February 22, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

There is no re-seeding in the Olympics.

@tominfl1

USA has the #1 seed and Sweden has the #2 seed,

Posted by: sgm3 | February 22, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Let's talk for a minute about Chris Pronger. Both with the Flyers and with Team Canada, he's looking old. OK, he's 35 and I'm 52, where does that put me?

Hey, he makes more but I look better :).

Now, let's not forget, that new 7-yr deal doesn't even begin until...next year! Forget that the Flyers "cheated" on that one. He's not the average salary including the bogus years much less the 7.5 for the first five years. The Flyers have Pronger AND Breire, two contracts that will hamper them for years.

What does this mean? The Flyers need goaltending and they can't buy it! Unless they develop from within (Varly, Neuvy, Holtby), they can't get goaltending that's good and reasonably priced! Finally, Holmgren makes a mistake and he makes two of them!

And Brodeur...he looked worse yesterday than I've ever seen him. Never such shoddy stickhandling! He was the master, but no longer!

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 22, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Sorry about the seed posting. I didn't read the top of your last post (I was browsing through a bunch).

Posted by: sgm3 | February 22, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

"Do you believe in goal differential miracles?"--LOL Tominfl1--you are quite a roll today. Good hockey will do that!

The route to the gold medal has developed quite differently from what I was expecting.

Hope your daughter recorded the Swedish game.

I love how much love our Nicky is getting. And I am also grateful he's a Washington Capital. Makes me realize just how strong our team really is. Not that I really doubted it but we do seem to get more criticism than recognition across the league.

I am enjoying seeing great NHL players play each other in such different ways. It was great to see Chara and Ovi square off in the last game. And of course Jagr/Ovi yesterday. But I love seeing the Swedes come together--that country produces fine playmakers. And team USA--such speed to go with that youth. I didn't think the Canadians were slow (well maybe their d-corps with the lack of a certain speedy Greenie), but the USA players kept that game uptempo.


Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 22, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

The Canadians missed Mike Green as it seemed that they did not have a D-man that could shoot the puck from the point and I don't remember any shots on goal from the point on any of their Power Plays.

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 22, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I agree on Brodeur and his poor stickhandling. The second goal in the first period for USA was on him and none of the annnouncers seemed to call him out on it.

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 22, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

MReilly: That play by Brodeur was almost as bad as when Theo handed a goal to the Pens a few weeks back. It was a poor decision and a worse play.

Interesting with Brodeur is they showed a cloe-up of the knob of his stick and it had "USA' written their. Emrick's speculation was that Brodeur keeps all the sticks from big wins so he had this stick pre-marked for such occasion.

Were we counting our chickens before they hatched, Marty?

Also, Emrick said that Brodeur has saved all the pucks from his shutouts and that he and Hasek once had a mutual 0-0 shutout where they had to saw the puck in half so each goalie could have a piece of it. Not quite as dramatic as the King Soloman tale but still a good story.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 22, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Canada might want to call up Mike Green...

I guess he is D.C's secret....that is as long as you dont look in the points column...

Posted by: SA-Town | February 22, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

@tomasinfl

CAN if they beat GER, will play RUS (likely).
CAN v. RUS
Now, the unfortunate winner will likely play the winner of the SWE v. SLV matchup.

The US will face SUI or BLR, then play the FIN vs CZE winner.

What a damn coup.

Posted by: JSchon | February 22, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Yzerman fault so far. This team is damn all-star team, lots of puck possession, zero toughness. In a one game situation when there is so much riding on the result, I'd like to have some character guys on the team, some soldiers. Canada has none.

I congratulate Burke for putting together a great "team". He went young and I bet one of the questions he asked every player was "Do you hate Canada?", if yes, you're on the squad. Guys like Backes, Brown, Kesler and Johnson are the character guys a tournament team needs to win.

Asking a guy like Richards to be the grinder? Whatever.

Posted by: JSchon | February 22, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I'll eat my words regarding the not-so-importance of the preliminary round. Getting a top seed is huge -- much better than being in Canada's shoes.

All the USA has to do is beat Switzerland or Belarus, and they'll be in the final four ... with two chances to win a medal.

I like that.

Posted by: Cerealman | February 22, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: If Steven Spielberg had written this for a movie, it couldn't have been any better so far than it has been for USA.

Goal differential? I didn't watch the Sweden game last night, as it ended two hours before I got up for work. Did they talk about this goal differential stuff? How much goal diff did we win by? Did Sweden play like crazy at the end (maybe pull their goalie? I doubt it) to try and score and catch up? The difference, as I put above, is HUGE.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 22, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

One of the worst players for Canada last night was Corey Perry, who seemed to take a lot of penalties and not really contribute in a positive way for his team.

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 22, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

@tomasinfl
I was at a bar last night watching the SWE v. FIN game, couldn't hear, but there is no way the Swedes and Fins didn't know what was at stake prior to the game, no way. Seeding and point differential had to have been talked about, especially with Canada losing.

How bad is this, SWE won last night and will have to play RUS or CAN in all likelihood.

Posted by: JSchon | February 22, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: Kudos to you if you watched Sweden game and then made it to work this early.

US won their games 14-5 total and Sweden won theirs by 9-2. US goal diff was +9 and Swe was +7. I assume then Sweden would have pushed full speed to the end last night. What hurt Sweden was they only beat Germany by 2 and we beat Norway by 5. The late and otherwise meaningless goals vs Norway were the difference. Not using Lundqvist against Belarus also hurt.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 22, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Was Crosby really on the ice for four goals against last night? I seem to remember him being on for two but the site I was just looking at showed him as a minus 3 for the game....I know he scored once so that would mean he was on the ice for four against...can anyone confirm this and if so LMAO!!!

Posted by: PhilR | February 22, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The U.S.-Canada game was about as great as hockey can get. And it wasn't even a medal round game! How can you not be rooting the U.S. team after last night? Ryan Miller was standing on his head.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | February 22, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The U.S.-Canada game was about as great as hockey can get. And it wasn't even a medal round game! How can you not be rooting the U.S. team after last night? Ryan Miller was standing on his head.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | February 22, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Crosby's goal was a PPG so it didn't count as a +. So Crosby was on the ice for 3 of USA's goals.

I don't know why the announcers didn't put more blame on Crosby for the first goal.

I thought it was a well known rule in hockey that if a shot is that close to the goalie you aren't suppose to try to block it with your stick if you are on defense because of the defelction possibilities.

If Crosby doesn't deflect that puck it is saved by Brodeur.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 22, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Wednesday at 7:30pm ET: Canada-Russia (no disrespect to Germany). Get your pop-corn ready...

Posted by: rademaar | February 22, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Thanks sgm3 for the clarification.....by that point in the third period I had about six Spaten dunkels in my system so didn't realize the Crosby goal was on the pp....three goals while on the ice is still hilarious to me though....didn't they say Ovie was the one who didn't know how to play defense?!

Posted by: PhilR | February 22, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

My favorite moment from USA-Can yesterday?
Pretty Boy Sid taking a high-sticking penalty for chopping Orprick in the head.
Who is the bigger tool between these two?
The world may never know.

Posted by: chucktownCAPSfan | February 22, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

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