The Czech Republic and United States meet up on the final day of round robin play at the World Cup of Hockey, which will also be the last game for both of these teams.
The Americans put themselves behind the eight ball with their tournament opening loss to team Europe and instead of setting up a top of the group show down with Canada on Tuesday night it became a must win, and the Canadians proved to be too much and spelled the end of the US’ chances at advancing. The Americans have come under fire this tournament and it is coming from all angles as head coach John Tortorella has taken the brunt of it due to his exclusions in game one, but the entire organization is feeling it as well after getting publicly bashed by Phil Kessel whose omission from the team was a head scratcher and clearly left a sour taste in the mouth of the recent Stanley Cup champion. The US will look to finish off the tournament on a high note and face their easiest competition to date as the Czechs just don’t have the horses to compete with the best in this tournament and with all of the scrutiny and frustrations boiling over I think the Americans play their best game of the tournament in this one.
The Czechs were thumped by Canada in their tournament opener and had a shot at advancing if they could take down Europe in their second game, but an overtime loss spelled the end of their podium dreams as well and now they aim to finish ahead of the Americans with a win here. The Czechs have a proud hockey history and have really emerged as an international men’s hockey power over the years but this crop of players seems to be a bit behind the rest of the upper echelon and while they are talented enough to avoid amalgamation with Team Europe, they are clearly the bottom of the individual countries here and we should see that here. The Czechs did a great job battling back against Europe but couldn’t muster enough in the end and this will be the end of their journey and I don’t see it ending well, in fact I think it is closer to the Canadian score line than the European score line as the Americans run away with this one.