Pondering the Team USA loss to Canada in the World Junior Championships last night (4-1 and it wasn’t that close really, thanks Jack Campbell!) and the split mindset the Canada fans have. On the one hand, they WERE the ones chanting “We Want USA!” while winning their quarterfinal game. On the other hand, they dismiss the USA, saying that we aren’t a rival. Which is it? Here’s the truth:
THEY need US.
Canada desperately needs the US to care about this tournament. While Sweden and Finland will always be in the mix, and Russia is OK but not where they were 30 years ago for international competition, but how fun is it to play them? Hard to chirp fans when most don’t speak your language. No, they need Americans to care about the competition. If you’ve been reading any of the Twitter or blog coverage from our neighbor to the north, they’ve been doing everything they can to try and pull us in, whether it’s jabbing at our patriotism, insulting our cities (thanks for helping them with that, Etem), or bringing up the Olympic tournament as if the grown-up game matters when thinking about this. It must drive Canadians crazy that we can shrug off the loss so easily, when they’ve been thinking about last year constantly, sharpening their skates and taping their sticks, listening to Bryan Adams and watching Brendan Fraser’s Dudley Do-Right. American coverage of the tournament (beyond a few die-hards) is basically teams tweeting about good performances of their prospects. Heck, once I got the NHL Network, that’s why I started watching the Junior games (Memorial Cup along with WJC), to get a glimpse of Tyler Myers, among other prospects. It’s neat to have that inside knowledge of a guy before he gets to the show. It’s fun to get all patriotic and cheer our kids. We’re taking our medicine on Twitter, but by tonight, we’ll be back to worrying about the Sabres forwards or mocking the Devils about Kovy’s contract.
And it will drive Canadians NUTS.