When it comes to hockey, Team USA and Team Canada respect each other as athletes and professionals. They kind of have to. Many of them on both squads will be heading back to their NHL teams where they will resume their lives. (We can probably expect a little drama from the Los Angeles Kings locker room after Slava Voynov accused Johnathan Quick of cheating in the USA-Russia preliminary game earlier in the competition.) When it comes to the women’s Olympic teams, there is respect for each other but a solid loathing that has led to several dust-ups in the past. But is there loathing between the squads?
“I think intense is probably a better word than hate because we all do respect one another at the end of the day,” U.S. forward Hilary Knight said during the press conference announcing the US-Canada match. “They’re at the top of their game and we’re at the top of ours. It’s a great battle of the border there. It’s definitely a hot ticket.”
All that talk about respect aside, we may see another dust-up in our immediate future. Both Team USA and Team Canada defeated their opponents (Sweden and Switzerland respectively)to meet again in the gold medal game. Team USA lost to Team Canada in a squeaker on February 12th, 3-2. Team Canada also had Team USA’s number in the 2010 Vancouver games, where Canada won in both the preliminaries and the gold medal game.
It’s the Olympics. It is expected that both teams will represent their countries and be professional. This will undoubtedly happen. They are the two best teams in the world. Will it be a physical game? While there is no body-checking “allowed” in women’s hockey, I dare say we will see action and aggression that will rival any old time Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens game.
“There are 11 of us returning from Vancouver that in our minds came up short, so that’s something that has driven all of us over the last four years,” USA forward Monique Lamoureux (who had seven of the seventy shots on net and a goal in their 6-1 win over Sweden)said. “That feeling of coming up short doesn’t fade over time, it’s something that really sticks with us.” The women’s team will have their shot at redemption(and maybe a check or two) when they take on Team Canada for the gold on Thursday at noon EST.
Tags: Sochi Olympics