Feb 22, 2014, 11:15 PM EDT
Ken Hodge and Dan Parkhurst sat down and talked to the @JrNDBloggers on Friday afternoon in Compton Family Ice Arena. They discussed their paths to their current roles with the NBC Sports Network. They also briefly discussed what a typical day of a broadcaster would be for them. However, the talking point around the U.S. on Friday afternoon was evident – the Sochi Olympics and, more specifically, the U.S.A. semifinal game against Canada.
Thursday afternoon the U.S. Women’s Hockey team lost in heart-breaking fashion to the Canadians in overtime for the gold medal. The gold was essentially one inch away with the United States team missing an open net goal by about one inch as it hit the post. This goal would have sealed the game and guaranteed the gold for the U.S. Women. Unfortunately, the end of this game did not go the way the United States wanted.
Lucky for the United States, they had a chance for not only retribution on Canada, but also for revenge from the Vancouver Olympics just four years ago. If you do not remember the gold medal game in Vancouver let me enlighten you for a moment. In 2010, with time running out, the U.S. was trailing Canada by a goal. With 24.4 seconds left in regulation, Zach Parise of the United States was able to slap in a loose puck to tie up the game. Unfortunately that is where their luck ran out as Canada’s Sidney Crosby scored the game-winning goal with 12:20 left in overtime and consequently winning the gold medal for his homeland of Canada.
Friday was supposed to be the United States’ day to even the score with Canada and knock them out of contention for the gold. The stage was set and everyone was predicting a high scoring duel between the two powerhouses. The broadcasters on the pregame show were predicting a four goal game. We were all wrong. Only one shot found the twine. Just 1:41 into the second period, Jay Bouwmeester shot a wrister from the left side of the net and was brilliantly redirected by Jamie Benn to put Canada up, 1-0.
This goal turned out to be the decider as the United States was defeated by the Canadians, 1-0. This game, let us be honest, was DOMINATED by the Canadians. Their defense was outstanding and it felt like they had the puck so much that the United States was on a “penalty kill” for the duration of the game.
I was able to ask Ken Hodge and Dan Parkhurst what they thought the reason why the Canadians just absolutely owned in every aspect of the game Friday.
Dan Parkhurst took it upon himself to answer first. “The U.S. was not able to make clean entries [into their opponent's zone] and when they did Canada did not give up any quality scoring chances in front of the net.”
Parkhurst went on to say, “The United States didn’t play a terrible game in their own defense either, but they didn’t play as well as Canada – there’s no doubt about that.”
Looking back at the United States and Canada’s path to this semifinal matchup, it is clear who had the tougher journey. “The United States’ path to this point was not the same level of competition that they faced today,” Parkhurst explained.
Ken Hodge added to his colleague’s point. “The Russian team… you can say we won; they’re okay.” Hodge continued, “Czechs won their one game; they’re all forty years old, and they had to play the next day.”
The level of competition was obviously raised up a little bit with this game for the U.S. Jonathan Quick played outstanding today, and if you ask me, he played better than Carey Price. The quality of shots coming at Quick were much more difficult to make a play on than that of Price. It just appeared like the Americans were rather apprehensive in their offensive efforts.
Hodge said, “I’m interested to see how the U.S. plays Finland because they [Finland] plays the same style as Canada.” That is an understatement because Finland defeated the United States in the Bronze Medal game by a score of 5-0. Still, when the United States lost against Canada, I could only think of one thing.
We’re stuck with Justin Bieber.
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