It was mentioned in the CBC's broadcast of the bronze-medal game and I tend to agree. Given that the NHL doesn't have a third-place game for those teams that lose in the Conference Finals, playing for a bronze medal game is an unusual scenario for North Americans (even though many Europeans also play on this side of the pond). With that said, however, it is hard to imagine how Team USA laid another egg on Saturday as they couldn't crack the podium in men's hockey, losing to Finland 5-0.
After a scoreless opening period where Jonathan Quick made some outstanding saves to keep a determined Finnish squad at bay, the Americans couldn't keep their opponents off the board for long.
Early in the second, it was Teemu Selanne (playing in his final Olympic game) who scored after capitalizing on a defensive mistake by Ryan Suter to put Finland out in front. But it was just 11 seconds later when another Suter lapse resulted in a Jussi Jokinen tally to put the Finns up by a pair. Just like that, Team USA was deflated - and they never recovered.
The Americans did have their chances - the usually-reliable Patrick Kane had two penalty shots but missed on both - but Finland played this game as if the bronze were the gold. They skated around Team USA like they were a bunch of amateurs playing together for the very first time. It was, for lack of a better term, embarrassing.
CBC broadcaster and former NHL netminder Glenn Healy, who was stationed in between the two benches during the game pointed out the stark differences between the two sides.
Healy pointed out that to his right (the Finnish bench) was "full of chatter" while the Americans were so quiet that there was no passion evident. In addition, Healy mentioned that only a select few Americans were listening to head coach Dan Bylsma when he spoke. With the game just over halfway through, Team USA already appeared to be flatlining.
Jonathan Quick continued to play well for the duration of the game but realistically, there is only so much a goaltender can do for his team. While the result of Friday's semi-final was a letdown, Saturday's contest took the cake.
Had Team USA won, or at least made it interesting, the pain of losing to Canada the previous day may have been a bit more tolerable. But that's not how it worked out as Team USA's offense suddenly - and unfathomably dried up - after putting on a clinic for much of the tournament entering the semi-final.
A team that made American hockey fans so excited for much of this tournament that suddenly turned into one forcing these same fans to long for the return of the NHL speaks volumes. Jonathan Quick did everything he could but received next to no thanks for his efforts in the medal round. That itself is a disgrace.
While I certainly hope Team USA fans don't claim that they are ashamed to be Americans, I certainly cannot blame these fans were being more than a little miffed with their team. The credit for Finland is certainly deserved, especially the 41-year-old Teemu Selanne who, after six Winter Games, finishes off his Olympic career with a two-goal performance en route to his country's second-straight bronze medal. Also, with their silver in 2006 and bronze in 1998, the Finns have earned medals in three-straight Olympics and four of the five Games since the NHL began its participating in 1998.
Having said that, Team USA's showing on Saturday was beyond disappointing as it pains me to see a workhorse like Jonathan Quick be forced to swallow such a bitter pill.