Hellooooo, and happy Monday! Not as happy as last Monday, but I doubt any Monday will ever be quite as happy as last Monday. And y'know, I'm okay with that! :)
Today we're going to talk about Miracle again. I watched a bunch of player interviews on YouTube this weekend (one huge unforeseen benefit of the 35th anniversary reunion? Lots of new interviews!), and a bunch of them talked about how Miracle is what this generation knows of the event. And while I obviously adore Miracle, I do think there are some details it should've included, but didn't. The general consensus among the players seems to be that the movie was about 75% accurate; though I appreciate that, I do wish that number could've been a bit higher!
1. Ken Morrow's beard. This isn't as strange a thing to nitpick as it sounds, I promise. Herb Brooks had a strict no beard policy for his teams, but he modified it to allow Ken to keep his beard. He wanted Ken on the Olympic team THAT badly. I mean, look at the picture at the top of this post; tell me you can't pick Ken out of the lineup. And really, how hard is it to tell Casey Burnette (the actor) not to shave for a few weeks? This would've been the most painless detail to include, and I don't see any reason for it to have been gotten wrong. For shame.
2. More screen time for more players. Interestingly, Miracle on Ice (the original movie, made in 1981) did this really well, and I was so beyond thrilled that guys like Dave Christian, Mark Pavelich, Dave Silk, Bill Baker, Steve Christoff and Ken Morrow actually had speaking roles. That meant slightly smaller parts for the guys that were the big stars of Miracle (Jack O'Callahan, Rob McClanahan, etc.), but I think that's a tradeoff that's more than fair. After all, this team was a team without stars, and it would've been great to have had a more even spread of screen time. In a similar vein...
3. The full roster announced. If you pay attention to when Craig Patrick is reading off the names of the guys who made the first cut, he announces every name except Neal Broten and Mark Wells. What. the. heck???? Including the guys that ended up not making the final roster, but leaving out two guys who did? Where is the logic? What in the world? Explain yourself, Gavin O'Connor! And again, in a similar vein...
4. Neal Broten. Why are there two movies about this team that essentially act as though Neal didn't exist? In his own words, blink and you miss him. But he was a child prodigy of a hockey player, his teammates (and Herb!) all adored him, and he went on to a 17-year NHL career. Honestly, they could make a whole movie just about Neal, and I'd watch the hell out of it. End the injustice that is the under-appreciation of Neal Broten.
5. The game against Czechoslovakia. Going into the Olympics, the Czechs were widely considered the second best team in the world, and the U.S. beat them 7-3. This was their best game of the tournament and it was really the moment they realized they could absolutely contend for a medal. While I'm thrilled Miracle included Bill Baker's goal against Sweden, I really wish the Czech game had gotten some attention too!
6. The post-Olympic trip to The White House. Of course, I understand why Miracle ended where it did; the medal ceremony wrapped everything up in a nice bow. But the players have said that they didn't realize the impact of what they'd done until they arrived in Washington, and people lined the streets for miles to cheer them. The movie started with that great montage of what was happening in the country at the time, and seeing the way people reacted to the team would've been an AWESOME way to bring that full circle. Sure, we had a Kurt Russell voiceover talking about how they taught the nation to believe, but "show, don't tell" is a thing for a reason. Showing it would've been way cooler than telling it.
In conclusion... Miracle, thank you so much for existing. I nitpick you because I care. :)