The question that will linger over the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team for the next four years will likely be, “Would things have been different if Brianna Decker had been healthy for this game?” Decker, one of the best players in the game might have been the difference, or Team Canada might not have been denied no matter who they were playing against. Wednesday night they reclaimed Olympic gold, and bragging rights, as they defeated the U.S.A. 3-2 in the final.
Marie-Philip Poulin added another chapter to her hall of fame career as she scored twice and added an assist in the victory. The Canadian captain totaled 17 points in the tournament and became the first player in Olympic hockey history (men’s or women’s) to score in four gold medal games.
Canada played the exact first period that they wanted to, dictating the pace of play and grabbing an early lead on Sarah Nurse’s goal at the 7:50 mark. Poulin scored her first of the night late in the period and it looked like the 2-0 lead would be enough to hold off the U.S.
When Poulin scored her brace in the second period to put Canada up 3-0, the U.S. was up against it. They started to battle back and it was Hillary Knight that finally got them on the board. The American legend finished off a shorthanded two-on-one to give her team some life.
The Americans pushed to get back into the game in the final frame with Alex Carpenter rattling the post early on. Had that gone in, could they have pulled off the comeback? Yet another question that will never be answered. With three minutes to go in the period, they pulled the goaltender and then added another extra skater when Poulin went to the penalty box.
Team Canada held them off the scoreboard until the end when Amanda Kessel, aka The Best Kessel, scored with the extra skaters to make it a one-goal game.
Women's Hockey Gold Medal Game— This is the KHL (@KHLreplays) February 17, 2022
Amanda Kessel (Roque, Carpenter)
3-2 Canada pic.twitter.com/K0W0Mm1A0H
There would be no miracle comeback as the Canadians held on for their fifth gold medal in seven Olympic games (but first since 2014). The U.S. team took home silver while Finland won bronze with their victory over Switzerland.
Lightning / NHL News
Lightning find a way without lengthy break [Tampa Bay Times]
All things considered, it’s a bit of a minor bone of contention that the Lightning had to play three games in a six day stretch during the Olympic break. Coach Cooper would rather have made up the games right after the All-Star weekend, or wait until closer to the end of the Olympic break. Instead the three games were plopped right in the middle. That being said they are scheduled to have five days off after Tuesday’s win before they pick up practice again. That’s not too shabby.
Darren Raddysh re-assigned to Syracuse Crunch [Syracuse Crunch]
Raddysh continues his march to the top of the Evan Oberg Cup standings as he heads back to Syracuse in time for their stretch of four games in five nights starting this weekend. With Erik Cernak returning to the line-up, and the Lightning entering a long break, it makes sense to send him down to help stabilize the Crunch’s defense a bit.
Could the Lightning pull off a deal at the deadline? Sure. It’s not like they haven’t been up against the Salary Cap the last two seasons and they still managed to do something. Do I think they will? Highly unlikely. For one thing, any piece they bring in will require a roster piece to go out. Draft picks and prospects won’t get it done. Any team that they call will most likely demand a high price as well. Besides, the team assembled is pretty darn good.
Five takeaways from the Bolts win against the Devils [Bolts by the Bay]
Some solid points, but I would argue that the School Bus Line has been just fine over recent games.
That’s fine. Sure, we could pick some nits and argue that they should be in the top three, but it’s not like you get to hang a banner if you finish the season at the top of the power poll (well, Nashville might). The writers did point out that the Lightning are a true tale of the sum being greater than the parts, and they have some pretty darn good parts on the team.
Vegas Golden Knights fall to Colorado in Jack Eichel’s debut [Knights on Ice]
Jack Eichel made his Vegas debut against the Colorado Avalanche and was held off the scoresheet (as were all of his teammates) as Darcy Kuemper posted a shutout in the 2-0 Avalanche victory. Eichel played 17:32 in his first game since March 7th, 2021.
Looks like Erik Cernak has some bragging rights in the Lightning clubhouse as Slovakia scored with just 43.7 seconds left in the game to tie the game at 2, and then won the game in the shootout to end the U.S. Men’s Olympic dreams. The only member of the Lightning organization, defensive prospect Nick Perbix, is now out of the tournament. The Minnesota native finished with 1 assist in the team’s 4 games.
Sweden eliminates Canada in Men’s Olympic Hockey, 2-0 [The Hockey News]
In a show of solidarity with their North American hockey brothers, Canada was also knocked out of the tournament as they were shut out by Sweden. This is the first time since 2006 that neither the U.S. or Canada will compete for a medal. Sweden’s reward will be to face another one of the favorites to win the tournament, Russia. Slovakia will face Finland in the other quarterfinal semifinal.
First it was Jeff Greenberg, Chicago Cubs assistant GM, who interviewed for the vacant GM spot in the Windy City, now Elliotte Friedman is reporting that they are interested in Teresa Resch, the VP of Basketball Operations & Player Development of the Toronto Raptors. Considering people from outside of the sport is commendable, something we haven’t been able to say about that organization for quite awhile. Still, there is a better than average chance they hire someone along the lines of Peter Chiarelli, who they have also interviewed.
2022 Memorial Cup update [CHL Memorial Cup Website]
The annual tournament that brings together the best teams in the OHL, QMJHL, and WHL has announced new dates for the tournament. It will now be held starting June 20th with the championship game scheduled for June 29th.