Posted by: Jennifer | February 23, 2006

the end of hope

Dear Men of the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team,

Four years ago, Canada was on top of the hockey world, with Olympic gold medals in women’s and men’s hockey.

It’s funny how things change.

We can’t blame the Russians — they simply outplayed you guys. We can’t blame the officiating — the refs did an awesome job. We really can’t even blame you — it was the first game that any of you have shown up for since the tournament started.

I have decided to blame a lack of leadership. This was a different hockey team from the squads of old, where Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman and Ed Jovanovski and the Great One himself ruled the ice. The players on this team were all proven goal scorers (despite complaints from others about how the “best” of the NHL was left home). But you just couldn’t seem to jell with each other. Joe Sakic did the best that he could, but you can’t lead a team of twenty guys all by yourself. Everyone has to participate in the process, and it really seemed to be every man for himself out there.

This has led me to one conclusion: NHL players should not be a part of national hockey teams. I would say that the key to the success of the Canadian Women’s team is the fact that they have been playing and practicing with each other on a daily basis for the last eight months. They were a true team that knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They knew how to play together. You guys may have played together in the past, but a person still can’t throw a team together and expect you to start winning games within days of your first practice. It takes time and patience and that is something that cannot be given with a demanding NHL schedule. Maybe the 2010 team should be made up of more up-and-comers than veteran professionals who have their minds and priorities somewhere else.

In the meantime, I feel that someone should say what we are all thinking right now: no matter how badly you played, no matter how much we hate the fact that our gold medal slipped away — the entire country is still so proud of all of you. It takes a lot of talent and skill to be able to represent your country in the Olympics, and you all did the best that you could. You may not be the men of the hour, but we’ll be over it and back to loving you by tomorrow.

Well…maybe the day after that.

Sincerely,

A Flabbergasted but Resigned Olympic Junkie

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