2. USA v. 4. Finland
LIVE: 10:00 am Eastern, NBC Sports, CBC
TAPE DELAY: 6:00 pm Eastern, NBC Sports
TAPE DELAY: 7:30pm Eastern, TSN
Today is Sad Pandas Day. Finland fell to Sweden and the US fell to Canada yesterday, so the two teams will battle it out to decide who is the Least Sad.
Should be no split loyalties at all among Avs fans. No Avalanche are on Team Finland. Paul Stastny is on Team USA. Even if you're not American we can band behind Walnuts in his quest for bronze! (If you happen to be a Finn cheering on Teemu's last hurrah, then I guess I'll allow it, but we're watching you.)
Unfortunately Finland are a pretty tough draw for the US for the same reason they were a tough draw for the Russians. The US has a counterattack that capitalizes on mistakes. Finland play exceedingly disciplined hockey. It's how they're in the medal round despite being short three centers. On big ice a well-executed system can trump talent because there's more room to hide the puck in. Finland keeps the US playing dump and cycle all game (which is what Canada did), and the States are in trouble.