On a number of occasions, Team Canada really demonstrated some serious character in this tournament, especially in the third period against Russia in the semi-final game when they fell just short in their comeback bid.
But they came into the bronze medal game and were ready to play and I think the fans sensed that, too. In the final minute of their 4-0 victory, they got a standing ovation from the fans and when they received their bronze medals, they got the same reception.
I think the fans recognized that, unlike the 1998 Olympic team that lost to the Czech Republic in the semi-finals and then couldn't muster up the enthusiasm for the bronze medal game against Finland, these kids somewhere found that dedication.
Surprisingly, I didn't think the Finns came with their best game and traditionally, they play bronze medal games like gold medal games.
Defining Team Canada
I would say Team Canada could be defined by a bad 25 minutes and 17 seconds. That was the amount of time during the game against Russia when Team Canada simply lost their game.
When Brett Connolly scored early in the second period, the score was 2-1 in favour of Russia and Team Canada was in good shape. But two goals by Kuznetsov and one by Khokhlachev made the score 5-1. Then, Canada lost their composure with Boone Jenner's spear and Jonathan Huberdeau's 10-minute misconduct. In the third period, Nathan Beaulieu tripped a Russian player and then let up, thinking he heard the whistle but play continued and Russia made it 6-1. All of that happened in the span of 25 minutes and 17 seconds. That is when Canada lost the gold medal.
They battled back valiantly and they showed a lot of character but in this tournament (and they found this out in the third period last year), you can lose the gold medal in less than 25 minutes and 17 seconds. That's the amount of time that Canada went to sleep this year and that's why they didn't win gold.
Props to Visentin
It's got to be disappointing for Team Canada goaltender Mark Visentin in the sense that he didn't get the New Year's Eve start against the United States and he did not get the start against the Russians in the semi-final game. But he was able to step up in a very difficult circumstance in the bronze medal game and delive a tour de force.
With Canada up 1-0, he stopped a breakaway and that was a huge point in the game. Early in the second period, he came up with another save on a point-blank chance and followed that up with the penalty shot stop and the circus save that was absolutely ridiculous.
In a game where you weren't sure how Team Canada was going to respond and you weren't sure how Mark Visentin was going to respond, he was an absolute ace and stabilized things.