One would have thought that America’s historic gold medal win over Canada in overtime last year would have been enough to spark some interest in the World Junior Championship Tournament. The Americans were returning about half their roster and were picked as slight favorites to defend the gold on their home turf in Buffalo. Team USA was strong in the round robin, but stumbled against Canada in the semi-finals. I was bummed American fans did not turn out to support Team USA in their biggest game, but with the performance Team USA gave against Canada, I would have felt cheated if I bought a ticket. The lone exception was America’s goaltender Campbell, who was strong all tournament. My guess is that Ryan Miller will hand over the reigns of Team USA to Campbell maybe after the next Olympics. The United States rebounded to win the bronze medal, and while it was not the medal they came to win, the kids can hang their head high being the first US squad to win medals in consecutive years.
The Sully’s Crew has to tip our caps to Team Russia for rallying from a 0-3 deficit in the third period, scoring FIVE unanswered goals to defeat heavily favored Canada. Just when you thought Russia was off the map as a hockey power, they storm right back and grab the gold. And if you thought that the Russians did not know how to party, wrong again. Their “unruly behavior” got them bounced from their Delta Flight home. Apparently they missed Russian Christmas; way to have a heart Delta. Most of those kids just won the biggest game of their lives, let them enjoy it. It is a LONG flight back to the mother land and I am sure they would have passed out and snored most of the flight.
Chalk up another silver medal for Team Canada, who can still be heard whining about the players in the NHL who were eligible for the tournament but not allowed to participate.