Top Line: Setting up USA vs. Canada; women's gold reactions; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Mike Brophy offers five points to ponder ahead of today's Olympic semifinal between Team USA and Team Canada. We'll be live blogging it. The winner gets to take on Sweden -- which edged Finland 2-1 earlier on Friday morning -- in the gold medal game on Sunday.
• Just like in 1980, this game means more to Team USA than any gold-medal game.
• Ken Dryden, the other man behind the mic for the Miracle on Ice, says that the American program no longer needs a miracle to stand as the world's hockey superpower.
• With a core group that goes back to the 2003 World Juniors, this edition of Team USA could go down as the greatest ever.
• Dejan Kovacevic examines the chemistry that defines Team USA's success to this point, and credits the captain for bringing the glue.
• His forwards aren't scoring, but Team Canada coach Mike Babcock has always said this tournament will come down to defense. And so far, Canada's defense is the superior beast.
• Max Rust offers an interactive look at where the players in today's game come from.
• Beyond replacing the injured John Tavares with Matt Duchene, Team Canada will stick with the same lines and defensive pairs that it used against Latvia.
• Not surprisingly, Islanders GM Garth Snow got a little heated about the loss of Tavares for the rest of the season. Also not surprising: the growing belief that Tavares' injury will be used to make the case against Olympic participation in the future.
• Roy MacGregor says that yesterday's women's gold-medal final may have been the strangest and most exciting ever played.
• Deadspin takes great amusement at the reaction of Canadians to the win.
• The Canadians were destined to win the gold-medal game the second they channeled the Beatles.
• This is simultaneously the best reaction to Canada's gold-medal victory and the best reaction to a reaction. I will listen to this every day for the rest of my life.has made significant changes