For the first time since 2001, Canada won’t play for a gold medal at the World Junior Championship. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. Do I see it as an annual Canadian right? No way, not for a second.
The 6-5 semifinal setback to the Russian’s at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary will always stick with me for a couple of reasons.
To watch brilliant talents like Yevgeni Kuznetsov and Nail Yakupov was, if you could remove the emotion, beautiful hockey to watch. Even more beautiful was Canada’s will to turn two less than stellar periods and a 6-1 deficit into a nearly miraculous comeback.
Canada was literally an inch away in the last minute when Ryan Strome ripped one off the post from sending the contest to extra time.
Here’s what I have always known. The fine line between achieving your goal and not achieving your goal is so minute. When Canada reeled off five straight gold medals, it appeared to be easy.
In 2007, Jonathan Toews scored three times in the same shootout in a semi final win over the Americans. In 2008 Canada required overtime to beat Sweden in the title game, and then in 2009 in Ottawa we all remember Jordan Eberle’s tying goal with five seconds left in the semifinal against Russia that paved the way.
Now its three straight years without reaching the top of podium.
In 2010, it was an overtime loss to the United States in the championship game. The third period collapse a year ago in Buffalo, when Canada gave up five third period markers erasing a 3-0 lead.
And then there was Tuesday.
I just feel so bad for our youngsters when they suffer heartbreaking losses. It won’t be the same on Thursday. However, the run of gold medal appearances was amazing, and it’s okay to admit that other countries play this game awfully well.