Lindy Ruff and his Olympic-bound players will take off for Vancouver Sunday morning. And while Ryan Miller is the key guy for a U.S. team forecast by many to not be a medal contender, Ruff is an assistant coach of a team expected to be in the hunt for goal. Fans in Canada will demand it, especially on home ice.
"I know the players are prepared," Ruff said today. "They're looking forward to the challenge. We've got the best players that have to play in every pressure situation inside every game. Every one of these players is a key player on every team. They play in situations where it's 2-1, 2-2, 3-2. They're the ones playing in it all the team.
"We've talked about it as a group that everyone understands for Canada that it's gold or bust. It's a headline that's been written so you deal with it and you move on."
Ruff said he watched Friday's opening ceremonies at home and said it added to his pre-Olympic feeling knowing that the Games are in his home country.
"Just the fact it's in Canada and that production is always an incredible production, I thought they really did a tremendous job with it," he said. "I thought the greatest part was the torch coming in and the guy in the wheelchair coming in (parlympic athlete Rick Hansen). That was incredible. Just that part alone really gives you the spirit of all types of athletics."
Then Ruff was asked if there was any trash talk yet with Miller in advance of the teams' showdown next week
"Not yet," said a grinning Ruff. "Maybe on the flight tomorrow."