Twins' Gardenhire needles Canada's Morneau over hockey upset

FT. MYERS, Fla. — Canadian ice hockey fans continued to mourn on Monday, a day after their national team fell 5-3 to the United States at the Winter Olympics.

Among them? Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau(notes), who was raised near Vancouver, played goaltender at the junior hockey level and recently carried the Olympic torch.

Not yet required to report to Twins camp, Morneau watched the game on TV from his offseason home in Arizona with his wife (a Minnesota native) and friends.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire watched the game, too. You betcha, he did.

"I'm sure that he's devastated right now," said Gardenhire, an American. He was sure about Morneau's mood because he texted him as soon as the game ended.

Gardenhire guessed that Morneau was flying to Florida on Monday and probably would reach camp by Tuesday.

"I don't think he flew Air Canada here," Gardenhire said. "He probably flew U.S. Air."

Gardenhire then whipped out his mobile phone and repeated their correspondence to an interested party.

Gardenhire: "Sorry, Charlie. What a hockey game."

Morneau: "(Expletive) me."

Gardenhire: " Ah, Canada will play for the gold. Don't worry about it."

Morneau: "This is when it's really hard to be married to an American.'"

Yikes. Even if the Canadians come back to win gold — a strong national hope before the tournament began — it won't be enough to save Morneau from the peppering he's about to receive from teammates. It probably will make the chops-busting hall of fame.

"He's catching a lot of heat right now," Gardenhire said. "It's not over with, though."

Gardenhire implied Morneau talked a lot of smack before the undefeated U.S. upset the Canadians, who have a 2-1 record in the tournament so far.

"[T]hem bombing, that was good stuff. I loved it. I really loved it," Gardenhire said. "He's taken a lot of grief, but if you talk the smack, then you've got to be able to deliver the other side of it."

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