Well, another Olympic games have come and gone and we have to wait another four years until we get to see Team USA’s best on the ice against other countries again.
Unfortunately, this year might have left a bitter taste in American’s mouths more than 2010 did. Well, at least it does for me. Not even medaling? For shame.
But I don’t want to talk about that. I’d much rather talk about how Team Teal did for their respective nations. Unfortunately, this article won’t be as long as I would like it to be because I can only truly write about three players instead of the four they sent. But I’ll do my best.
Canada: Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic
The Canadians brought home gold for the second straight Olympics, and Team Teal played a small but very important role in their quest for gold. Let’s start with the most awkward man in the world, Patrick Marleau.
Marleau had four assists in six games, and three of those four assists came from a Jeff Carter natural hat trick in a 6-0 trouncing against Austria. But you can’t look at one assist in the other five games and say Patrick Marleau didn’t play well, because the Canadians had a hard time scoring all tournament, including a 1-0 victory over the USA and a 2-1 victory over Latvia. Yes, the team that won gold beat Latvia 2-1.
So goal scoring was difficult for them in the Olympics. But how did they win the gold medal? They won it thanks to fantastic defense, which is where Marc-Edouard Vlasic comes into play. The Canadian defense was very, very stingy, and while Vlasic didn’t have any points, he did have a +3 rating and had over 90 minutes of ice time during the Olympics. The Canadian defense is the reason they struck gold in Sochi, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic played a small but crucial role in that victory.
Finland: Antti Niemi
Finland won the bronze medal and Antti Niemi played a CRUCIAL role in their run. Antti Niemi made zero saves on zero shots and played a whopping zero minutes for the Finnish team. Most Valuable Player of the tournament? I think so.
USA: Joe Pavelski
Joe Pavelski was the most productive Shark in Sochi with five points in six games with one goal and four assists. He played on a very productive line with Toronto Maple Leaf forwards James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel, but he did the most damage in the third period against Russia while playing with Patrick Kane. His one goal came on a gorgeous pass from Kane in the third period, and the next shift he got a breakaway opportunity that almost made it 3-1 USA. He barely missed, but the Americans still won the game, and Pavelski’s goal was a key factor in the one bright moment of the American hockey campaign.
While some Sharks were more productive than others in Sochi, the four players return very proud to have represented their countries and have made their fans all proud.
But more importantly, us San Jose Sharks fans are glad they’re all back. Sharks hockey is back, ladies and gentlemen. BRING IT ON, PHILLY!