TORONTO – An emotional Patrick Kane sat in front of the media following Tuesday night’s game, summarizing Team USA’s potential – and failures.
“In 2010 we were close, felt like we were on the rise, 2014 great round robin, great quarterfinal game, lose by one goal, play the next day on a back to back and come up with a 5-0 loss. Tough to lose that one. Then two games here and you’re done. It’s just amazing. It’s crazy the way hockey is,” he said. “It’s definitely frustrating, being an American, having these opportunities and having nothing to show for it.”
Indeed, it’s another international tournament in which Team USA was aiming for the top, and another international tournament in which it fell frustratingly short.
Matt Duchene scored twice and Patrice Bergeron would add another as Team Canada beat Team USA 4-1 on Tuesday night. With that, Team USA is eliminated from the semifinal round and its Thursday game against the Czech Republic (also eliminated) is just a formality.
It looked promising for Team USA early, with Ryan McDonagh’s rebound giving it a 1-0 lead just 4:22 into the game. But that’s the only time Team USA led, and it wasn’t even for two minutes.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s shot caromed off the back boards and right to Duchene, who backhanded it past Jonathan Quick to make it 1-1 at 5:51. Just 14 seconds later Corey Perry deflected the puck off his body and past Quick for a 2-1 Team Canada lead. Duchene added his second of the night 12 minutes into the first.
“I think there’s some self-inflicted wounds there,” USA coach John Tortorella said. “Going into tonight’s game, I think it was very important that if they were going to get something, they had to earn it. I thought we had a good start, but we gave them a couple of freebies there and you just can’t do that. They surged and we were trying to catch up most of the rest of the game.”
Team USA would flirt with production late in the third period, hitting at least three posts. Carey Price also made a big stop on a Kane shot with about 30 seconds to go. Kane took some of the blame for the team’s lack of production but there was plenty to go around.
“I mean, you want to show up for your country and produce. I had some chances in both games to get on the board. It just didn’t happen,” he said. “Obviously I didn’t do my job this tournament, help produce offense and help create goals for the team. Hopefully next game we play with some pride.”
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Sure, you can say Team USA could’ve or should’ve invited this player or that player. Tortorella said he wouldn’t have changed the makeup of the team. Joe Pavelski said, “we had this team here, we believed in each other and we didn’t get the job done.”
Different choices probably bring it closer. Different choices likely make the team more competitive. But right now, this incredibly deep Canada team still has the edge.
Team USA came into this tournament with high hopes. Last week, Kane said, “it’s time right now to get the job done. Who knows how many opportunities there will be for a lot of us in the future to play for Team USA.” But once again, the Americans leave a tournament empty-handed.
“These are opportunities and tournaments you want to take advantage of and don’t want to let slip away,” Kane said. “It’s tough for sure.”