Wednesday afternoon, Team USA advanced to the Olympic Semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Jonas Hiller and Switzerland.
Team USA, on paper, seemed to dominate. They outshot the Swiss 44-19, but they never seemed to really get their games in gear. "Stuck in mud" was the cliche that came to my mind for much of the game.
Whoever their next opponent is, either Finland or the Czech Republic, they will need to play better than they did Wednesday.
When you look at the elite teams in the tournament, Russia and Canada, they have something Team USA doesn't. Difference makers.
Patrick Kane, Zach Parise, and Jamie Langenbrunner are great players, but there is no Ovechkin, no Crosby, no Iginla on their roster. Ryan Miller is a difference maker, but he can't score goals.
Watching Team USA throughout this tournament, they seem to get cute at the wrong time. They played a completely different game Wednesday than they did when they beat Canada Sunday. Too many passes, too many dangles. Sunday, they played physically, went to the net, and outworked their opponent. This is the style the Americans will need resurrect against their next opponents.
Hawk fans can relate to this frustration. When the Hawks are the superior team, they seem to lack that physicality and simplicity, but when the Sharks, Devils, or Wings show up, they simplify, and dominate.
Team USA can win the gold medal. We just need to see the team we saw Sunday, and not the team we saw Wednesday.
Hawk fans...you have 2 chances this week to come out and meet Adam Burish. I will be hosting two Chalk Talk Q&A sessions. The first event is Thursday at the Cubby Bear at 1059 W. Addison (right by Wrigley) from 7pm-8:30pm. Then, we'll be at the Tilted Kilt, 17 N. Wabash, from 7:30pm-9:00pm. If you haven't come to one of these events, we do 45 minutes of fan driven questions, then 45 minutes of autographs. Come on out and meet one of the most down to Earth athletes in the city.