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Win or lose, a Blackhawk is coming home with Olympic gold medal
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

USA players celebrate after beating Finland 6-1in a men's semifinal round ice hockey game a Friday.

 

Associated Press

Canada players salute the crowd following their 3-2 win over Slovakia in a men's semifinal round Friday.

 

Associated Press

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Published: 2/27/2010 2:50 PM

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Adam Burish plans to give the Blackhawks' dressing room a makeover if the United States beats Canada Sunday for the Olympic gold medal.

"If they win, I'm going to get this place decorated all red, white and blue," Burish, the Wisconsin native, said Saturday. "I'm going to have balloons, streamers, flags - I'm going to decorate this place pretty good and rub it in everyone's face.

"All these Canadians know I'm already a loud mouth, but if they win I'm really going to be a loud mouth."

It's the only story that matters in the hockey world today as the upstart Americans attempt to knock off the mighty Canadians for the second time in a week to win the country's first gold medal in men's hockey since the 1980 Miracle on Ice.

One thing is certain: Someone on the Hawks is coming home with gold, be it Patrick Kane with the U.S. or Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook with Canada. NBC will broadcast the game at 2 p.m. Sunday.

"It's going to be a great game," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Everybody's been looking forward to this matchup. Last Sunday a lot was talked about with the build up going into that game and it was a preliminary round game.

"We're going to come back with a gold medal, whether it's one or three, so it presents for a lot of excitement here in Chicago as well as around the countries. I expect a very fast, hard-played game and very competitive."

The Hawks' dressing room is definitely pro Canada with Burish and Dustin Byfuglien the only Americans other than Kane.

But Burish has been doing enough chirping to more than make up for being outnumbered by Canadians and Europeans.

"I'd like to make the bet that if Canada wins he's got to shave his head and get rid of that long hair he cares about so much," Canadian Patrick Sharp said about Burish, his roommate. "I'm praying that Canada pulls it off so that I don't have to hear it. After the U.S. won in the round robin he kept his mouth shut because he knew there would be another crack at it, but God help us all if the U.S. wins."

While Quenneville wants to see each one of his players perform well, he was making to attempt to hide the fact he is pulling for the Maple Leaf.

"I think it's going to be very close and very tight with a lot of emotion and pressure," Quenneville said. "At the end of the day I'm comfortable with whoever wins, but deep down I'll be rooting for the Canadians."

Even Swedish defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson admitted he was pulling or Canada.

"I've got to cheer for my D-men with Canada (Keith and Seabrook)," said Hjalmarsson.

The pressure is all on the shoulders of Canada to do what was expected of them, which is win the gold medal on its home ice in Vancouver.

"It's just so big for the nation," Hawks Canadian winger Kris Versteeg said. "Hockey is everything to them."

Then there is what's going on in John Madden's house. Madden is Canadian and his wife is American.

"I'm predicting Canada will win the game, not because I'm from Toronto or anything like that," Madden joked. "It's tough in my household right now. It's divided. My wife is American and she wants the U.S. to win. My son thinks Canada is going to win but wouldn't mind seeing the U.S. win. And my daughter says she has friends on both teams for some reason, so it's pretty funny."

Some Hawks on Saturday were laying odds about which ones of their Olympic teammates might cry after winning the gold medal.

"Kaner would cry for sure, he cries all the time," Versteeg said.

"I disagree," Sharp said. "I think Toews will be the one you'll see with tears flowing."

"Kane won't cry," Burish said. "Seabrook, I guarantee he'll be up there crying. I guess if I was going to cheer for Canada to win it would be to see Seabrook cry so I could make fun of him."