Surely the Canadians who were struggling to score and were just coming off of a slim 2-1 victory over Latvia could be ripe for the taking. Not so much. The talent on the Canadian team is far too supreme to succumb to a little adversity. Maybe the Americans thought they were going to simply outscore the Canadians. Maybe they got a little overconfident in their own skills. Regardless of their feelings coming in, I believe the biggest issue falls at the feet of Dan Bylsma. With a team full of talent, he decided to match lines, putting David Backes, Dustin Brown and Ryan Callahan out against the Sidney Crosby line. As the coach of Crosby in the NHL, I would hope Bylsma would have a better idea as to how to contain him. Instead, he made the decision to defend the Canadians instead of attack them. I love the Backes line; I thought they could be real game changers if used in the proper way. Using them as a shut down line is not the proper way, though. By matching offensive lines instead of a defensive pairing against Crosby's line, he essentially withdrew the biggest strength the Americans had - their speed and ability to score. The longer the shut down line was on the ice, the longer their skilled players were off of it. Nothing against Backes-Brown-Callahan, but more time could have been given to the more skilled Kessel, van Riemsdyk, Parise and Pavelski. It played right into the hands of the Canadian Team. The debacle that was the Bronze Medal game was just that, a debacle. It was sloppy. It was sad. Finland deserved that to win that game. Good for Teemu Selanne.
You might note that I did not include Pat Kane in the "more skilled" list above. I do not like Kane. I don't like his style of play or his attitude. He stays on the outside of the play, often floating and collects a lot of points playing on an extremely talented team. I do not believe he is a clutch player as shown by his two penalty shot misses against Finland in the Bronze game. Yes, he scored a Cup winning goal - on an awful shot that half the arena and the players didn't even realize had gone in. I've seen the video of him stickhandling through all of the pucks: it was cute, good for him. There's no denying he has incredible skill. Perhaps if he worked as hard as his Captain Jonathan Toews he could truly be in the upper echelon of the league's elite. He needs to bring more work ethic to his game. All this from a guy from Buffalo - don't ever call me a homer.