...please for the US women's national team that lost in a shootout to Sweden today 3-2. Alas I did not get to see the game (these damn academic things like teaching and studying are truly getting in the way of my own Olympic experience). But, like any good blogger, I certainly have some things to say about the loss.
First, I am truly sad and actually almost glad I was not able to watch because I would have been devastated. I had a firm plan to ditch all things school-related Monday and make it home (or to the nearest sports bar) to watch the gold medal game. I don't even know when the bronze medal game is being played. And I am very nervous about this game given that Finland was a tough opponent for the US a few short days ago. The team is going to have to very quickly go through all the stages of mourning in order to get psychologically ready to compete in the bronze medal game.
Second, the numerous comments about the lack of depth in women's hockey should wane somewhat now. Sure Canada is still leagues above the rest but the outcomes of certain match-ups now will not be as predetermined as once they were. Unfortunately, it takes a US loss to prove this but maybe in the long run it will be better for the sport...I hate that I have been forced to use such logic and is not much (or any) consolation to Chanda Gunn, Krissy Wendell, Angela Ruggiero and the rest of Team USA, I know.
And lastly, this tournament and the US team's performance in it suggests to me that it is time for Ben Smith to leave. Canada, I believe, had changed their Olympic head coach every time since Nagano. I am not suggesting such dramatic turnaround but I think the national team needs some new blood--and please don't bump up asst. coach Mike Gilligan--how he ever got that position with no experience coaching women's hockey is beyond me. Maybe it's time to bring back former asst. coach Julie Sasner who was forced to leave her post because of the off-ice relationship she had (has?) with Smith. The pool of good coaches in the US is pretty deep. USAHockey should try taking a swim--and soon.