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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ron Wilson: "We Didn't Come Here to Get a Participation Medal"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 12:26 AM

I really like Ron Wilson. Yeah, sure, he led the U.S. hockey team to a ginormous upset win over Canada, but he flat-out doesn't give a shit about that. And that's precisely why I like him so much. 

Wilson spoke at length yesterday about what his team needs to do in order to avoid a letdown game against the Swiss Wednesday, saying quite pointedly, "We didn't come here just to beat Canada." A man after my own heart, Mr. Wilson. 
click to enlarge Sorry. I tried to be serious and get a real picture, but that's just way too funny for me to pass up. - MAUIGAY.COM
  • Sorry. I tried to be serious and get a real picture, but that's just way too funny for me to pass up.

It would be so easy for Wilson and Brian Burke, the general manager of Team USA, to sit on their laurels now, content in scoring a significant upset over what was supposed to be not only the best hockey team in this year's Olympics, but possibly one of the best Canadian teams ever. Wilson and Burke could just sit back, ease off the throttle, and when their team brought home a bronze medal they could rest easy knowing that for one night, at least, they had (to borrow a phrase), shocked the world. 

But neither of them seem at all interested in doing just that. When Wilson spoke on Tuesday, he was expounding on what Burke had already said before, that the Americans have essentially gotten to where they are now with only half the roster playing up to expectations. 
click to enlarge Alright, fine. Here's a real one of Wilson, back in his playing days. Happy now?
  • Alright, fine. Here's a real one of Wilson, back in his playing days. Happy now?
I love seeing that kind of focus in coaches; it's the one and only thing I truly admire about Tony La Russa. Yeah, his bullpen antics drive me nuts and his favouritism pisses me off to no end, but you can rest assured La Russa is always pushing his players to reach the very tops of their respective abilities. I think we can safely say the same about Ron Wilson. 

And for the record, I would also like to point out that our own David Backes is most definitely among that half of the American roster playing up to their abilities. Backes has been outstanding, and I'm thrilled to see a member of the Blues stepping up to the plate and making it happen. Now, if we could just get Erik Johnson to go crazy for a few games...

Putting aside team loyalties, I completely agree with both Wilson and Burke, and applaud them for having the intestinal fortitude to lay it on the line like that. Let's face it; the U.S. was outplayed by Canada, and managed to scratch out a win solely because Ryan Miller stood on his head like the ghost of Patrick Roy. This team is good enough to win it all, I believe; it's just a question of whether or not the players play to their capacities. 

With Ron Wilson on the bench, I think they've got at least an excellent start. 

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