I said more than once in the run up to last night's semi-final game between the U.S. and Canada that it could be the best hockey game we ever see in our city. This was based on the last three games between these two teams, played over the course of the previous two World Junior tournaments, being the three best hockey games I had seen in years. Last night's game didn't even come close and that is because Canada was just too good.
Much of the charm of this tournament to me is found in the loose and at times, flat out sloppy play. This often produces a wide open game featuring lots of odd man rushes and scoring chances galore. Canada was near perfect in beating the U.S. and the result was a completely dominating performance that left me feeling like I often have after particularly bad Super Bowls. Credit to the victor but as a compelling sporting event with loads of drama this just didn't even come close.
The winner of the game mattered little to me. I was just looking forward to the show. Being a life long hockey fan and having this tournament in our city has been a big deal to me. The make-up of the crowd has been of no concern to me. A teenager from California saying Buffalo is a ghost town? News flash. The price of parking has been obnoxiously high and that's too bad. All in all though, I had enjoyed what I had taken in of the tournament, in person at both venues and on TV.
It was building towards last night and it just didn't happen. Canadian fans surely don't care. They got what they wanted in seeing their team get revenge for last winter's OT loss to the Americans in the final. American fans are mad that they got run over in their own building, on the ice and in the stands.
I'm just a hockey fan from Buffalo that was hoping to get a game that would be memorable for more than just how dominant one side was. Maybe Russia and Canada can provide that for us on Wednesday.