Although U.S. men’s Olympic hockey coach Tony Granato was inspired to learn about and play international hockey after he watched the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. team prevail at the Lake Placid Games, he said his motivational tactics haven’t included showing his own players the popular movie that was made about that gold-medal team.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Granato said he saw no need to screen the film “Miracle” before his team plays its Olympic opener on Wednesday against Slovenia at Kwandong Hockey Center. “To win, we don’t need a miracle,” said Granato, who was 15 when Herb Brooks’ team upset the Soviets and went on to win the gold medal. “We need to be at our best for two weeks.”
The U.S. men didn’t play any “friendly” or exhibition games before settling in at the Athletes’ Village, and they’ve had four practices here. Granato wouldn’t say on Monday which of his three goalies will start against Slovenia, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ryan Zapolski of Erie, Pa., who has been playing for Jokerit of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, get that honor. The other two goalies are David Leggio, who has been playing in Germany, and Brandon Maxwell, who has most recently played in the Czech Republic.