I believe this tournament gets forgotten about a little, when classic best-on-best series are discussed. For one, it ended with a heart-breaking loss for Canada, so the Canadian media tends to focus solely on that aspect. Secondly, its a tournament that doesn't really mean anything to most of the United States, so you don't hear about it south of the border that much anymore. But that tournament producted more than its share of highlights: * Sweden and Canada's double-OT semi-final game, highlighted by great chances at both ends (Johan Garpenlov rang one off the post) before Theo Fleury ended it. * The last hurrah of the great Edmonton Oilers; Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Sather. It was the final time we'd see that group involved in high-level hockey. * Speaking of Fleury, his performance in Game 1 of the finals should be a bigger deal than it is. He put Canada up 3-2 midway through the third period. Then, after John Leclair ties it to send it to overtime, Fleury springs Steve Yzerman for the breakaway game-winner. * As much as Mike Richter is praised for his MVP performance (IMO, Game 3 of the finals is still the best single goaltending performance I've ever seen), Team USA were full marks for their victory. They beat Canada in the Prelims, beat the Russians in the semi's, and then took two of three from Canada in the finals. They had a young, fast, agressive team with Chelios and Leetch both playing some of the best hockey of their careers on the blueline. There's countless other highlights (I really didn't touch on the European teams) because my main purpose was to comment on the insane level of hate and animosity that developed between Canada and the United States in the finals. IMO, that's the biggest flaw in the Olympic tournaments; the single-game elmination format, while dramatic, doesn't allow for serious rivalry to blossom like it did in the Canada/World cup format. The second biggest flaw? Ending games with shootouts instead of sudden-death. Another thing that the World Cup did right. I don't believe we've seen hockey played with as much skill and ferocity since 1996. When have you ever seen stuff like this in the Olympics: Line Brawl Lindros and Chelios, looking ready to kill each other Foote and Tkachuk carving each other up. Tkachuk would probably get a 20-game suspension for this slash in today's NHL And Lindros would get the same for this one on Tkachuk! Lindros, Richter and Tkachuk fighting for the puck: We'll never see hockey like this again. Hell, you can barely hit in today's NHL. As much as I loved seeing Canada win in 2002, 2004 and 2010, I believe this tournament remains the best hockey played in the last 15 years. As it seems unlikely that the Olympics would ever move away from a single-game elimination final and since the same format was used in the 2004 World Cup, it could very well be that the 1996 tournament is the last time we will ever see a best-on-best series between countries. When you consider how much great hockey the Summit Series, Canada Cups and World Cup provided, you can't help but feel we're missing out.