I love Brian Burke, he’s a character and I would have him back as GM of my Canucks any day but I’m getting sick of him perpetuating this “underdog” nonsense. This isn’t 1980. For those that don’t know In 1980 the Americans were a bunch of amateur and collegiate players that beat the Russians and ended up winning the gold medal at those Olympics in their next game against Finland. That game against the Soviets was named the “Miracle On Ice”.
Now I know Burke is notorious for two things: great quotes, and mind games. This whole Olympics he has perpetuated this label that the Americans are some sort of under dog and what’s frustrating is how everyone just eats it up. Has anyone taken the time to look at their squad? In hindsight it’s a very smart move by him. It eases the pressure on the team, and gets them emotionally into the game if they buy into it. The interesting thing though was the overwhelming response by the media and writers who in some cases reacted like the American win over Canada was on par with the second coming of Jesus. The reactions that I saw about beating Canada at “Canada’s Game” just blew my mind.
The Americans while not having as deep a pool of talent to select from as Canada, have put together a team that’s on par with Canada’s in almost every facet. The Americans have an all-star cast of their own that have donned the red white and blue and the notion that they are some vast under dog is just absurd. Belarus in an elimination game, Latvia, Germany, those are under dog teams. A team that boasts Ryan Miller, Phil Kessel, Chris Drury, Patrick Kane and Zach Parise amongst others is not some sort of under dog.
When the USA and Canada face off on Sunday in a rematch of the Salt Lake City gold medal game one thing’s for sure – we are going to be witness to the best hockey game played in North America, ever. May the best team win and if that does turn out to be Canada, I hope Brian Burke’s underdog label makes Team USA feel better about second place. This is Canada’s game and to quote Swiss alpine Olympian Didier Couche “second is the first loser”.