Don't Count Your Money While You're Sitting at the Table

>> Sunday, February 21, 2010

While I can understand the enthusiasm about the first American win against Canada since 1960, I think prudence dictates leaving this kind of post until after the medal round.

Still, the game amplifies two points that could be seen before the tournament. One the one hand, the Americans aren't as good player for player as Canada or Russia, but Miller is as good as any goalie in the world right now, which makes the Yanks as live an underdog as they looked tonight -- one can see something like the Czechs in Nagano happening. On the other hand, the game won't comfort any Canada rooter who (like me) was concerned about the team dipping into its nostalgia file. It's pretty hard to argue that at 37 the immortal Brodeur is as good as Luongo. But it's even more clear that Brodeur's former teammate and fellow aging player of immense career accomplishment Scott Niedermayer (-17 this year) isn't close to being an elite defenseman anymore, but seems to be on the ice at crucial moments. (This isn't just about age, of course; the unlikely American star Rafalski is 36 too, but unlike Niedermayer is having an excellent year.) They're certainly good enough to win anyway -- and playing these declining first-ballot Hall of Famers is nowhere near as egregious as, say, going with a washed-up Todd Bertuzzi in '06 -- but these marginal choices mattered tonight and may keep mattering.


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