Which Team Canada faced the most pressure? Rank them
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03-01-2013, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Berlin, DE
I think 1972 probably wins simply because of the circumstances. It was the first best on best contest between hockey's two top nations, which happened to come while the Cold War was still extremely frosty. There was a true sense of us vs them. That the soviets were rather unknown, and that Canada travelled "behind enemy lines" to Moscow I think added to the mystique as well.
Also, This wasn't just a winner takes all, anything can happen game, but rather a gruelling 8 game series. I don't think that can be stressed more. The two best hockey playing nations (at the time) went at each other for 8 whole games. There were no warm-ups, no round-robin games, and no matches vs. the likes of Norway, or France, Italy.
Second for me though has to be 1998. Hockey in Canada was at a real low in the late 90's. Former greats like Gretzky and Messier were shadows of their former selves, Lemieux was unable to suit-up for the national team (illness, injury, retirement), and the nation as a whole was suffering (as hockey fans). Quebec and Winnipeg had already succumbed to the economic realities of the 90's NHL and it looked as though Calgary, Ottawa, and very nearly Edmonton (only a last-minute ownership consortium saved them) were next. Adding insult to injury, the USA led by an MVP performance from Richter beat us at our own game in Montreal, walking away with the inaugural World Cup.
For this reason, and of course the fact that NHLers were taking a mid-season break for the first time at the Olympic Games, the pressure was really on the boys in 1998. This was supposed to be the chance for Canada's new generation (you don't think it was significant that Lindros was named Captain?) to regain hockey glory. Losing to the czechs in the shootout was absolutely devastating.
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