And it’s a shorty at that!
Marius Holtet brought a sleepy majority of Canadians in this crowd to life by snapping up a loose puck, using his linemate as a decoy and placing an utterly perfect shot high on Ryan Miller’s stick side.
Tore Vikingstad (what a name for a Norwegian hockey player) was in the box.
They’d played 88 minutes and 37 seconds in these Olympics without lighting the lamp, in case you’re keeping track.
This is a surprisingly chippy game, given the Norwegians size and reach deficit. They keep throwing themselves at the Americans, which lands them in the box. But hey, if shorthanded is how they score in Norway, whom am I to criticize.
Meantime, the Canucks in the crowd are stirring the cousins, chanting “Let’s go Norway!” The deafening, if rather predictable riposte: “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
The folks who run the sound system started playing the dueling banjos from Deliverance. Coincidence, I’m sure.
Before the Holtet goal, Kane tapped in a rebound for the Americans. Couldn’t see what he was doing with his mouthguard.
3-1 Uncle Sam.
This is looking like a chemistry builder for the Americans. Goals by Phil Kessel (he’s here, Leaf fans!) and Chris Drury gave them a 2-0, and they probably should have had more. Shots were 15-2.
The Norwegians are just too small and slow to play NHL players. They’ve done a passable job jamming the neutral zone, creating the occasional odd-man rush. But they can’t keep the Drurys and Ryan Malones off Pal Grotnes’s front step, while the Kessel goal exposed the inability of their defencemen to pivot and keep pace.
They do have in their lineup Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, a rangy defenceman who has seen time with Columbus and Philadelphia, and whose rights now belong to Detroit. But that’s about as good as it gets for them.
Leaf fans may also be glad to hear Brian Burke is here, and is doing an interview with a game host over the PA at Canada Hockey Place. He looks drawn—imagine coming here the week after you lost your son. But he’s composed. He got a big cheer by declaring Vancouver, where he once lived, “the most beautiful city in North America.”
“I’ve heard these described as problem Games,” he added. “I’ve been to others and I just want to say these are by far the best I’ve been to.”
A bit of stretch, but nice nonetheless.
Notes: something I didn’t know about Patrick Kane, the uber-gifted forward for the U.S.: the kid skates around during play with his mouthguard hanging end-ways out of his bouche. It’s a strange sight—like a piece of white licorice, if you can feature it—and he only does it when he’s not near the puck. Then he sucks it back in.
Probably a nervous tick. But I like to think of it as a mark of Kane’s nonchalance: hit me if you think you can.