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Entries in Mike Loomis (3)


Team USA Wins Silver In Hockey, Gold In Respect

Canada Beats Team USA In Overtime, 3-2

Special To One Great Season


More than all the games, the No. 1 seed and the silver medals draped around their necks, the Americans won respect.

Canada was a team built from the ground up for one thing: to win gold. Even after the United States shocked everyone and beat the Canadians in the preliminary round, I wrote that ultimately the road to gold still would have to go through Canada. (this article continues below...)


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Team USA put up a valiant effort, but ultimately lost to the best team in hockey, on a goal scored by the best player in hockey. A fitting end for both sides, really.

The Americans have nothing to be sorry about. Every achievement in this Olympics was earned, every goal was hard-fought (except for the Finland game, when goals were being given out like candy), every win was another notch on their belts. Team USA earned its place on the podium, and now the world knows where the Americans stand among the hockey hierarchy. This much is true as well: they aren't going away any time soon.

While Canada was built to win gold, the US team was built to compete, and compete it did. Even after Sunday's final, I think even the most die-hard Canadian hockey fan would concede America had the best team overall. It played smart, tough and determined, and only a handful of its players are over the age of 25. 

This Olympics represent a true changing of the guard in Olympics hockey, and I would think the Americans are only going to get stronger from now on. 

Respect. It's more important than any gold medal, at least until the next Winter Olympics.

Four years will never feel so long.

Mike Loomis is a freelance video editor in Cincinnati who has become "useless around the house since the Olympics started." Follow him on Twitter at @Loomis2.


Great Win For USA Hockey, But Road To Gold Still A Long One

USA Hockey Defeats Canada, 5-3

Special To One Great Season

The United States hockey team just won a few extra days off with its defeat of Canada, and nothing more.

Going into this tournament, I had the Americans as the seventh-best team behind Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Now at least I feel a little more comfortable using the words "United States" and "medal" in the same breath, but so far all these games have been nothing but Olympic preseason. The United States could have lost all three games and still would have just as good of a chance of winning a medal as any other team.

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Still, it was nice to see our Boys in Blue put together such a solid team effort in Sunday's thrilling 5-3 victory. Ryan Miller was spectacular in goal, which he needs to be, and for the first time in the tournament, the defensemen played smartly. If those trends carry over into the next round, good things should happen.


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Yes, there is a murderer's row of teams the United States has to somehow navigate through to get to the medal stand, but every other team has to run the same gauntlet, and having one fewer game to play to make it through will be helpful. Ask the Canadian players how they feel about playing one extra game. Lowly Switzerland gave them all they could handle earlier in the week, and every Canadian player looked like he just went nine rounds with Muhammad Ali by the end. These things take their toll.

Last week, after the first day of games, I wrote how I thought the ice might not hold up very well. Overall, the ice really hasn't been a factor, but after seeing all the teams there is one intangible that could make a difference in this tournament: the number of legendary players competing in their final Olympics.

Guys like Teemu Selanne, Sergei Federov, Peter Forsberg and Jaromir Jagr have become heroes to their respective countries, and every teammate of theirs wants to see them go out with a gold medal draped around their necks. That kind of heart and dedication go a long way, more so than the amount of skill any team might have. At this stage, all seven teams I mentioned above are loaded with skill, so what better motivating factor to block a shot or lay a thunderous check, or even just want to muck the puck out of the boards more than your opponent is there than to do it for a teammate you want to see go out in style?

Talent took all these teams to where they are right now; heart will take them the rest of the way.  Whoever has more of it wins, plain and simple.  Canada may have lost today, but the road to Olympic gold should still go through the host country for whomever wants it badly enough. Now the games count for real.

Mike Loomis is a freelance video editor in Cincinnati who has become "useless around the house since the Olympics started." Follow him on Twitter at @Loomis2.


Olympic Hockey: Who (Or What) Is The Real Wild-Card?

USA Hockey Beats Switzerland

Special To One Great Season

I love the Winter Olympics.

It is so much more bad-ass than the Summer Olympics.  You've got the luge, skiing with guns and curling. I know curling is nothing more than shuffleboard on ice, but if a senior citizen tried it he'd fall and break a hip or something. See? Bad-ass.

Opening ceremonies may have been on Friday, but the Olympics didn't officially start until Tuesday afternoon when the USA men's hockey team took the ice against Switzerland. Nothing is more intense than Olympic hockey. Nothing.

Olympic hockey is six different All-Star teams, except the players actually try. And saying they "try" is really selling the whole thing way short. It's the fastest, hardest-hitting and most amazing display of skill you will see anywhere.

It is generally accepted that Canada and Russia are the two teams to beat this year, and it's hard to argue with that, but I will try. Russia is fast. Real fast. But I don't know if fast is going to work on this ice. I was surprised at how poorly the ice held up in the USA-Switzerland game, but those conditions were partly why the Swiss were able to hold the Americans to just three goals, and why, later Tuesday, Norway was able to keep Canada scoreless for an entire period.
The sloppy ice slows everything down and evens the playing field a bit for the less-talented teams.  Making a case against Canada is a lot harder though. The Canadians are so well-rounded that they can play any style and win, and essentially playing on home ice only makes it that much harder to bet against them. 

It should be Canada winning the gold, but silver and bronze are a little harder to call because invariably, one pretty good team will ride a hot goalie en route to an upset win or two. In the 2006 games in Torino, the hot goalies were Switzerland's Martin Gerber and Finland's Antero Niittymaki. This year, fellow Fin Miikka Kiprusoff or Tomas Vokoun, of the Czech Republic, are the best bets to lead a surprise run. Even Peter Budaj might get hot for Slovakia.

Every one of the aforementioned teams has enough of a supporting cast to test the superpowers of Canada, Russia and Sweden. If the underdogs can keep their games close, crazy things can happen.

One of the more interesting storylines to me is the return of Peter Forsberg, who has spent this season back at home playing for MoDo. This will be his last Olympics, so we'll see if that has any impact on his play or that of his teammates. 

One more thing to keep in mind with Olympic play: goal differential is very important in seeding for the medal round, leaving one to wonder whether Tuesday's pedestrian 3-1 effort will come back to haunt Team USA.

The biggest wild-card in this tournament may not be a hot goalie or a veteran center. It could very well be how well the ice holds up, and what affect it will have on the teams that rely on speed and stick-handling to win. No matter what, I plan on savoring every Olympic hockey moment, because it won't get any better for four more years.

Mike Loomis is a freelance video editor in Cincinnati. Follow him on Twitter at @Loomis2.