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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

To Wrap Up These Two Weeks...

Thursday night was an epic rematch between two backyard rivals- the U.S. and Canadian women's teams. Four years ago, the U.S. women received a shock when they failed to get to the gold medal game, losing in a shootout to an upstart Swedish women's team. Canada, of course, won gold that year. 2010 was a chance for a much younger and fresher American team, coached by none other than 1980 men's Olympian Mark Johnson, to exact revenge.

And by and large, they did, blasting aside everyone in their path (including a much different Team Sweden) to get a date with Team Canada on Thursday. However, the relaxed and composed team we saw throughout the tournament was much different- tense, nervous, playing with a ton of pressure- and as such, they were shut out, 2-0.

No doubt the disappointment on the faces of the U.S. team that night is as hard to describe as the joy on the Canadian side, as well as in the stands. But there is so much reason to be proud of the women for a job well done. It may "suck to win silver" in the words of captain Natalie Darwitz, but there is a comfort in knowing that you got that far, even if you didn't have too much competition. (Speaking of which, there's a great article on talkhockeytome.com about the usefulness of a mercy rule in women's hockey, including a comparison of development in North America to countries in Europe.) Overall, the women should still be proud of their achievements.

On to the men's game, and yet another North American matchup on the ice. Today at 3 p.m. the American and Canadian men clash in a gold medal game that the NHL is likely drooling over- after all, both teams are fully comprised of professionals from teams all over the continent. This is a great opportunity for the entire country to see what the NHL is made of- though many NHL fans will be watching, casual sports fans (like my dad) are also interested to see what will happen.

This is both good and bad- it allows the NHL more exposure, but it also makes the Games seem commercial when three decades ago, amateurs were the ones we cheered for. Indeed, the argument is that the Olympics were more entertaining and romantic when college players skated, and that could be true. But nonetheless, we will root for Zach Parise, Ryan Miller and the U.S. today at 3, and leave the debates for afterward. Right now, it's all about the game, and avoiding the MAJOR amounts of trash talk on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere!

After that is the closing ceremonies, and then this two-week whirlwind of dreams, both come true and deferred, that we call the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics will be over. I always seem a bit down after the Olympics end, because it's simply great to watch all of the events and feel as though you're a part of it all. But we'll have Sochi in 2014 to look forward to (and of course, London 2012 in the summer!). As for right now, enjoy the gold medal game and the rest of the events, everyone!

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