Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Canada Is Just Better Than US

Team Canada won a hockey game against Team USA last night.

In other news: the sun came up, someone died, and Donald Trump said something offensive. 


Actually, the big news was that the game was on ESPN (flagship!) in the United States. John Buccigross and Kevin Weekes, two of the best in the business, called the game. I know this because I watched about ten seconds of it. I saw Joe Thornton still hasn’t shaved, I saw the score wasn’t 7-0 USA, and I turned it off. I've seen this movie before.

The World Cup of Hockey was an interesting idea in theory - especially this year, with the weaker European countries like Slovakia and Switzerland merged into one Frankenteam, and an equally artificial squad of "young guns" from North America. More than half of this team is comprised of American-born players - which is great for the future of USA hockey. But the loss of 23-and-under talent disproportionately affected the American side for this tournament and handed Canada yet another advantage - as if playing the entire tournament on their home ice wasn't helpful enough.


Much has been written about USA hockey's roster mismanagement and John Tortorella's questionable coaching - but the Americans were already behind the "8-ball" without Johnny Gaudreau, Jack Eichel, Brandon Saad, and #1 overall draft pick Auston Mathews. Leaving Phil Kessel off the roster in favor of "gritty" players like Justin Abdelkader was a head-scratcher; no other country (except Canada) can win a tournament without its second- and third-best player.

Let's be real here - you could make the age limit whatever you want and Canada would still win. Their overall population might be one tenth of the US but 90% of their best athletes are playing hockey. In the US, 90% of the best athletes are playing football, basketball, baseball, and olympic sports such as track and field or swimming. Tennis, soccer, golf, and extreme sports probably take up another 7% or so, leaving hockey with about 3% of all the elite athletes in America.

Basically, it would take a miracle for the US to beat Canada in a best-on-best hockey tournament.

That's right Canada. You're the Soviet Union now. 

Which is probably why Upper Deck produces so many Team Canada cards and so few Team USA cards. A quick COMC search yields 5,706 cards labeled "Team Canada" and 1,005 cards labeled "Team USA" (and 75% of those were from the 1990's.)

Look at all these cool cards for Canadian collectors:



Where's our Team USA "Program Of Mediocrity" subset?


The only cool-looking USA-themed cards I've managed to find from this decade are part of the 2014-15 Fleer Ultra National Heroes set. It's not an American-only set of course, but until the US wins a gold medal in any hockey tournament, it will have to do:




The would-be heroes of the 2010 Olympics: Zach Parise, whose late 3rd-period goal tied the Gold Medal game and forced OT, and Joe Pavelski - who had the golden goal on his stick before the hockey gods woke up:







Oh well. There's always the World Baseball Classic...



~






11 comments:

  1. Yeah.. Our miracles are beating the US, Japan, or Cuba in Baseball.. Canada has beaten the US a couple times, but at the same time get clobbered by Italy..

    As an aside... They've been playing commercials for the World Cup of Hockey since July up here... Really they should just go back to the Canada Cup and be done with it

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    1. USA baseball might be able to beat Canada, but we can't beat Japan or Cuba either.

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  2. I saw that Phil Kessel made some interesting tweets referencing how much free time he has right now.

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    1. Not sure what USA hockey has against him but they got owned with that tweet. It wasn't even angry or selfish, either.

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  3. Your point about Canada vs USA hockey cards is spot on. Pretty frustrating for us hockey card collectors south of the border!

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    1. Its not like there aren't dozens of American stars worthy of nice inserts. I just think Upper Deck (like ESPN) has convinced themselves that most Americans don't care about hockey.

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    2. At least you guys don't have the Fox trax puck anymore.. We laughed a lot up here about that.. It made a song too..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJXZLnMPiQ4

      Around 2:20

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    3. That is the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. Thanks for that! (p.s. I sent you an e-mail)

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  4. On another note: Did you get my e-mail?

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    1. Nope, I checked both my addresses & don't see an e-mail from you.

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    2. *grr* Ok.. lol So I collect Jays, Expos, and Canadian born players..

      e-mail me your address at mmatson67 at gmail com and I'll send out the Swihart for you.. :)

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