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Super Sunday: US vs. Canada tops day of hockey grudge matches

The men's hockey competition kicks into high gear on Super Sunday – a day that will see replays of the past three Winter Olympic gold medal finals, including a US vs. Canada game.

By Staff writer / February 21, 2010

US goaltender Ryan Miller, seen here in action against Norway Thursday, is considered America's one potential advantage over Canada. The two nations play today in Olympic hockey's Super Sunday.



Vancouver, British Columbia

Earlier this month, the United States had its Super Sunday in Miami.

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Today, Canada will hold its own Olympic-size version.

Canada is crazy about hockey, and Sunday it will get a triple helping. The men’s gold medal matchups from the past three Olympics will all repeat themselves in Canada Hockey Place, with seedings for the knockout round ahead on the line.

Topping the card: the United States vs. Canada – a replay of the gold-medal game from 2002, when Canada won, snapping its 50-year gold-medal drought in the Olympics.

In Vancouver, the stakes are almost as high, with Canada seeking the one gold that the host nation covets above all others in these Winter Games.

In addition, this could be the last Olympics with National Hockey League stars, as owners intimate that they’re leaning against shutting down the league again for the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia.

It all sets the stage for what could be, in the worlds of one US hockey official, “the greatest hockey tournament in the history of the world” to begin in earnest.

“There is nothing in America like what we are going to see [in] … the Olympic hockey competition,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, before the Olympics started. “It’s going to be a highly competitive tournament, and we’re going to a country that rightly considers itself the home of hockey.”

A nation enthralled

Before the Olympics even began, two hockey minnows – Switzerland and Belarus – sold 15,000 tickets for each game of a two-game tune-up series in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Last week, an estimated 1 in 3 Canadians watched Canada’s 3-2 shootout win over Switzerland.

Sunday will be 12 hours of world-class hockey in Vancouver, and Canada is aquiver.

Up first: Russia vs. the Czech Republic, a replay of the final in Nagano. The evening game pits Sweden against Finland, who faced off in the Turin final.