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Ryan Lambert

What We Learned: Congrats to the little juggernaut that could

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Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

Do you believe in miracles?

It's really quite remarkable that a team with so little comparative talent but so much heart was able to gut its way to overtime in the gold medal game for an Olympics in which it was hopelessly outclassed by the heavily-favored Americans.

Great job, Canada. This is a Cinderella story for the ages. Who would have thought that a team of role players like Sidney Crosby(notes), Joe Thornton(notes), Jarome Iginla(notes), Roberto Luongo(notes), Drew Doughty(notes), Patrick Marleau(notes), Scott Niedermayer(notes), Martin Brodeur(notes), Mike Richards(notes), Rick Nash(notes), Shea Weber(notes), Ryan Getzlaf(notes), Corey Perry(notes), Dany Heatley(notes), Chris Pronger(notes) and Jonathan Toews(notes) could go out and compete with a team featuring Ryan Whitney(notes)? It's an amazing accomplishment.

I've never been more proud for every Canadian man, woman and child. I swear to you that Mike Babcock was talking about how Canada was the underdog for the gold medal game. He was half-joking. I think. (There's no way he could have expected to do this well with his ragtag group.) But then other Canadians, like this brilliant observer of the sport, picked up the ball and ran with it. After the game, Twitter exploded with comments along the lines of, "I can't believe it." I couldn't either.

The fans have earned this feeling by sticking with their team in a niche sport no one in their country cares about.

You see, the Canadians, with their team payroll just shy of a paltry $128 million, were definitely in tough against an invincible American strikeforce that, luckily for Canada, had two of its top defensemen, Paul Martin(notes) and Mike Komisarek(notes), missing for the entire tournament due to injury. But those injuries, and the fact that the team was coached by the enormously successful Ron Wilson, made the Americans, once thought nigh unstoppable, vulnerable.

What's really amazing is how Canada won gold almost entirely through its leadership. After all, nine of its players serve as captains of their NHL team, because they're the kind of journeymen around which a team can rally even when traveling under the darkest of skies.

Heart, grit, determination. These are the words brought to mind at the slightest mention the Canadian Olympic hockey team. The brash and immensely talented Americans, like Tim Gleason(notes), may have their names splashed across headlines the world over and been the epicenter for every bit of NHL marketing from the moment they were drafted, but this was for all the gold and all the glory, and those scrappy Canadian soldiers marched into battle with hearts as big as refrigerators but eyes as big as dinner plates.

And just as David slew Goliath, Canada edged the American hockey superpower with a thrilling overtime victory no one could have ever expected.

Congratulations, Canada. See ya on the football, baseball and soccer fields. Wait ...

WHAT WE LEARNED (MEDAL ROUND EDITION)

(WWL tries its best to dig up the most interesting scoop about each remaining Olympic participant. However, I can't read most Eastern European languages, so you might be outta luck for some of the smaller countries.)

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Canada - It really is unbelievable that Sid Crosby, of everyone on the Canadian roster, was the one to score the game-winner. I know it's the big thing to act like Crosby's not as good as he is and dives and cries or whatever but what this kid has accomplished, just in the last year alone, is ridiculous. Oh and he's still tied for the NHL lead in goals, in case you'd forgotten that.

Finland - In a move sure to guarantee Finland a gold medal in 2014, Olli Jokinen(notes) has announced that Saturday's bronze medal game was his last for the Finnish national team.

Slovakia - On top of everything else, Lubomir Visnovsky(notes) also got busted by the IOC for doping. "The (urine) sample provided on Wednesday indicated a higher level of pseudoephedrine than the approved World Anti-Doping Agency limit of 150 micrograms per milliliter." So he took Advil, basically.

USA - Y'know how mayors of cities whose teams are in, like, the Stanley Cup Finals or something, will bet some of its local cuisine (a case of hot dogs from Philly, pizza from New York, crippling depression from Detroit) on the outcome? Well Stephen Harper and Barack Obama did that over Sunday's hockey game. And what does Canada win? You guessed it: a 24-pack of Yuengling. Jeez, America, spring for the 30 at least.

AND THEN SOME NHL STUFF

Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) faces up to 30 days in jail for his DUI arrest. Still better than Edmonton. ... Don't expect a fire sale from the Panthers. ... But the Bruins may already have a trade ready to go. ... Giant surprise: Columbus will be a seller. ... With Carolina moving its AHL team to Charlotte next season, it seems like its old host city of Albany won't be without a team for too long. ... The Flyers aren't going to do anything too crazy at the deadline. ... Wondering how many mundane questions members of the Lightning can answer in one sitdown? Wonder no longer! ... Don't worry Flames fans, Kipper's probably not broken.

PLAY OF THE WEEKEND

Really, I can't encourage you enough to watch that gold medal game over and over and over again. But if you don't want to (I understand the reasons), that's OK, just watch the highlights and treasure them forever.

GOLD STAR AWARD

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I don't care about Sid Crosby. Ryan Miller(notes) is the best. Anyone that doesn't recognize that he was the MVP of the Olympics needs to get their head examined and stop watching hockey.

MINUS OF THE WEEKEND

Honestly, Slovakia, how you gonna blow a 3-1 lead in a game for a medal? That might be the most embarrassing thing any hockey team did at the Olympics. You should be inconsolable.

SIGNOFF

Say what you want about America, 13 bucks still gets you a hell of a lot of mice!

The Two-Line Pass publishes hockey awesomeness every day. Please do check it out. Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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