It’s the Olympic hockey equivalent of the walk of shame: The long, winding catacomb of barriers bringing players from the ice through the media to the locker room. On Saturday night, Slovakia made the walk; on Sunday, it was Team USA, taking little joy in the silver consolation prizes hanging around their necks.
Which is unfortunate, of course, because the Americans accomplished something here thats bigger than a 3-2 overtime loss to the host nation. They were the underdogs, and defiantly rolled through the tournament undefeated until the gold medal game. Ryan Miller(notes) became a household name. Ron Wilson polished the tarnish from his time in Toronto. Players like Chris Drury(notes) proved critics wrong. Zach Parise(notes) became America’s clutchest forward, and Brian Rafalski(notes) its sage defenseman, despite not being able to thwart Sidney Crosby’s(notes) golden goal.