This photo (of and by my fellow Goaltender Wil Wheaton) best represents today’s Olympic Gold Medal game in Men’s Ice Hockey that wraped up the 2010 Winter Games just over the border from me in Vancouver, B.C. If you missed it, you missed an epic game, filled with more thrills and excitement than can be described. Team USA came back from a 2-0 deficit and tied the game with 24 seconds to play. This forced the game into overtime.
Overtime. Sudden Death. It is how the ultimate games should always finish. Play until you score. None of this shoot-out stuff. The 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway ended their Gold Medal game with a shoot-out after overtime expired, with Sweden edging Canada for the Gold. As a hockey fan it was awful to watch, as games should be played to win, not forced into an artificial conclusion via a shoot-out. Overtime play however is never artificial. It is thrilling beyond belief because it is real, it is intense, and the end can come at any moment. Some of the best games ever were decided in overtime. Many have become legend: The Easter Epic. Bobby Orr’s flying goal on May 10, 1970. The Miracle on Manchester. The “Monday Night Miracle” in game 6 of the ’86 Conference Finals. The epic goaltending battle between Hasek & Brodeur in the ’94 Playoffs (both had shutouts going, and Buffalo won in the second overtime 1-0 over the New Jersey Devils.) The five overtime Flyers-Penguins game of the ’00 Playoffs. The Canucks quadruple-overtime win over Dallas in ’07.
Nothing is more thrilling than overtime hockey.
Team USA played very well today. Our Goaltender Ryan Miller won a well-deserved tournament MVP award. They put on a show that nobody expected, and that delighted everyone who watched. They played their game, and took the heavily-favored Team Canada right to the very brink. Thank you Team USA. You earned every ounce of the silver around your necks, and then some.