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It seems like a lifetime ago that the United States men were coming off another impressive win, beating the Czech Republic 5-2 in the quarterfinals round and looking ahead to who they'll beat next.


Boy, how things changed.
The U.S. gave nothing to warrant a place on the podium (AP: D. Phillip)

The U.S., after getting shutout by Team Canada 1-0 Friday in the semis, were denied salvation in the bronze medal game versus Finland, losing 5-0 and looking like they did not belong on the same ice as the other three teams involved in action this weekend.

Teemu Selanne (2), Jussi Jokinen, Jusso Hietanen and Oli Maatta all potted goals for Finland. Tuukka Rask turned aside 27 shots for the clean sheet.

The stat-sheet read 0's down the line for the U.S., save for the minuses.

Patrick Kane, arguably the U.S.'s most skilled forward, missed two penalty shots. Phil Kessel, the tournaments highest scoring player, didn't register a shot on goal. Ryan Suter, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes were all -2 on the day.

A scoreless first period did little to set up the Americans in the following 40 minutes. They didn't lose the game in the first 20, but they certainly didn't help themselves going forward. All 12 shots were saved by Rask, including the first of Kane's two missed penalty shots.

It didn't take long for the Finns to break the tie on the scoreboard in the second.

Teemu Selanne and Jussi Jokinen scored 11 seconds apart just 1:30 into the second frame. The Finns never looked back, and the U.S. never pushed back.

End of the line (USAToday: S. Rovak)
The Americans did not play with heart or passion. They didn't defend, they didn't capitalize on their chances and they didn't play as a unit. The result was a beatdown when all was said and done, and the Finns showed no mercy in their march towards capturing a place on the podium.

What makes the matter worse, Finland's lead was only the two goals they scored early in the period. The U.S. could have still made a game of it if they could have found their game and get one shot past Rask to turn the tide on the night.

But a rash of penalties in the final period led to two more powerplay goals for Finland, and sandwiched in between another goal from the Ageless Wonder, Selanne.

The Americans fell flat in these last two games versus Canada and Finland. They were shutout in both after scoring 20 in the previous four. They were shutdown, their rhythm obliterated, their swagger and attitude reduced to a cower.

Jonathan Quick, after playing brilliantly in the four game he was between the pipes for the U.S., was left out to dry by his teammates. There was no cohesion, no power, no effort and no excuses for the boys in blue.

(photo via S. Rovak/USAToday)
At the end of it all, the Americans leave Sochi without a medal to bring home. From such a promising buildup, through to the start and the quality they played with, to leave the 2014 Winter Olympics without a medal of any color is a major disappointment.

The U.S. were humiliated by the Finns and frustrated by the Canadians. The 2014 Olympics for the U.S. ends on the most sour of notes, and the players, coaches, the bras upstairs and fans across the nation will all be left to wonder how the ship crashed and burned so quickly.

On the bright side, the NHL returns this week.

But its not going out on a limb here in saying all the people involved in the U.S.'s Olympic campaign will take a while to get over the unceremonious exit that was dealt. 

Mark Burke 2/22/2014 04:04:00 PM Edit

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