Column: American hockey team out to avenge 2010 loss
Fewer things leave a bad taste in your mouth quite like a heartbreaking loss.
Sleepless nights follow. "What if?" questions float in your head. Regret, pain and anguish are the norm.
Four years ago, the United States hockey team lost to North American rivals Canada in overtime in the Olympic gold medal game. It was a heartbreaker. The USA fought valiantly, but an overtime goal from Sidney Crosby crushed the American's dreams of a gold medal.
Four years later, here we stand. Another tournament, another medal on the line and, most importantly, another chance to ease the pain of bad memories.
This team features many of the same faces as last time. Zach Parise, Dustin Brown and Ryan Suter have retained their leadership roles.
However, this is a much different team.
This year's team is built primarily on pure grit and determination. The decision to leave star scorer Bobby Ryan off the roster sent a message: This is a team that's looking to win ugly.
The U.S. team will rely on defense, goaltending and pure heart in Sochi. Goaltenders Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick will have to bring their best night in and night out, as this year's field is as strong as ever.
There are the Swedes, who will rely on superstars Henrik Lundqvist and the Sedin brothers to lead them to Olympic glory.
There are the Russians. The hosts field a team of stars, led by Alexander Ovechkin, who are playing for much more than a shiny medal. They are playing on their home soil in front of Vladimir Putin and thousands of Russian faithful.
And, as always, there are the Canadians. Our neighbors to the north boast a roster so star studded, its fathomable to say the players that they decided to cut would be favored for a medal.
The United States has a task at hand. They will be facing teams more talented, more attacking and more clinical.
However, this United States team is playing on more than talent. They are playing on heart. They are playing on pride. And, most importantly, they are playing to erase the pain of a game that has haunted many for four years.
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