Lots of comparisons out there today between the U.S. hockey team's 5-3 upset of Canada in Vancouver last night and the Miracle on Ice in 1980. Very few of them hold much water.
Here's the two big differences:
* The Miracle happened in the medal round; last night was pool play. All it did was secure a spot in the quarterfinals for the U.S. and force Canada to play an extra game. The two teams could still wind up playing for the gold -- and my instincts tell me the Canadians would win the rematch.
* Big, BIG difference between a bunch of college kids and minor-leaguers beating the best hockey team on the planet and a collection of NHL pros beating another collection of NHL pros. Granted, Team USA doesn't have nearly the star power Team Canada does, but Ryan Miller's no Jim Craig, either. He's one of the best goalies in the NHL, easily the equal of Canadian backstopper Marty Brodeur at this stage in their careers.
Bottom line, the Miracle was the Miracle, simply the biggest upset in any sport in my lifetime by miles and miles. Last night, on the other hand, was the biggest hockey upset since the Miracle itself and the biggest story of the Games so far, but it did nothing to guarantee that the Canadians won't still win the gold. Or that the U.S. will manage to medal.
Lots of tough games ahead for both.