Monday was a beautiful day in downtown Vancouver. The birds were singing, the sun was shining and the temperatures were hovering in the mid-50s.
Still, there was a dark cloud hanging over the city, and all of Canada for that matter.
Those pesky Americans, the team that has flown under the radar for most of the tournament, had its coming out party in a 5-3 shocker over the mighty Canadians.
The loss sent Canada into the qualification bracket and the whole country into a deep funk. The streets of Vancouver, which hours earlier rocked in raucous celebration, were now eerily silent.
“It was almost like we shut down the city that night,” said U.S. forward Patrick Kane.
It was a far cry from the street scene 24 hours earlier. The Royal Mounted Police ordered liquor stores to close at 7 p.m., in an attempt to raise the collective sobriety level on the city streets. There was talk of doing it again on Sunday until the Americans provided their own 12-step program to cut back on drinking.
It was an odd feeling to walk through Robson Square without being bounced like a pinball. Even the famous zip line couldn’t raise the spirits of the downtrodden fans. The once seven-hour wait was cut down to mere minutes. Who feels like soaring like an eagle after the home team lays an egg?
It didn’t get any better with dawn’s first light. People walked around with a bad case of the Monday morning blues, looking like someone had just shot their dog.
U.S. General Manager Brian Burke will be the first to tell you, that dog may be hurting, but it sure ain’t dead. There is too much pride and star power for this team to go down without a fight. Of course their road to gold just got a lot bumpier.
Canadian fans have been pretty good sports about their cousins to the south coming up here and beating them at their own game, as they love to call it up here.
The Canadian hockey ego has been knocked down a peg or two, but as anyone who watched Canada play at this year's World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, you can never count them out.
That’s what the fans who watched the game at Yaggers Pub pointed out. They were the first to give credit where credit is due, and directed their anger at their goalie Martin Brodeur.
Well, the people have spoken and the Canadian hockey leadership has listened. They made the switch to local goaltending hero Roberto Luongo. No sooner had word slipped out that Bobby Loo, as they call him up here, would be back in goal that the streets were filled with people sporting Luongo jerseys.
Even Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson made sure he was seen wearing one. This is no time to support Brodeur if you entertain thoughts of reelection.
As anyone knows, Canadians are a hearty bunch. They weren’t crying in their beer for long. They shook off the sting of losing, cheered mightily for their heroes against Germany and got ready to face off against Russia in a matchup that many felt would be in the gold-medal game.
A loss tomorrow would really send the country into a long mourning period and bring the Vancouver Games to a grinding halt.