TURIN, ITALY—The U.S. men's hockey team, the lowest-ranked of all national squads going into Wednesday's quarterfinals with a 1-3-1 record, is continuing a tradition of non-miraculous play that began immediately after the medal ceremony of the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY. "Assembling our nation's best hockey talent on a single team might seem like a formula for miraculous on-ice achievement, but this turns out not to be the case," U.S. head coach Peter Laviolette said following his team's 5-4 defeat at the hands of the Russian squad Tuesday. "But there's lots of problems. It's hard for some of the NHL players to work together, the larger ice surface leads to more fatigue than players expect, and frankly, even if we beat everyone, it's hardly a 'miracle' if our pros beat their pros anyway." Many fans have come to the team's defense despite the their poor Olympic showing, saying that such phenomena as Chris Chelios playing at his advanced age, the presence of a Hispanic hockey player, and the fact that NHL players have agreed to play for free are all minor miracles.
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