TORONTO — Tim Gleason wouldn't say what he did with his silver medal but don't get the wrong idea. He didn't throw it away in disgust.
"It's a secret," he said today, smiling. "It's stored away."
The Canes defenseman looked glum and angry Sunday when Team USA was awarded the silver medals after the 3-2 overtime loss to Canada in Vancouver. It was almost as if he didn't want to lean over and have the medal placed around his neck, then reluctantly agreed.
"It was kind of like, 'Geez,'" he said. "We went that far. We knew there were no expectations, but at the same time you want to win the gold medal. You're there for two weeks and it's a long haul."
But Gleason, with the passing of a few days, has become more accepting of all Team USA accomplished in the Olympics.
"We went in there and our mindset was to get a gold and we came closer than probably everybody thought we would've," he said. "It was the experience of a lifetime, for my family, for me. We had a blast."
Gleason was added to Team USA when Mike Komisarek of the Maple Leafs needed shoulder surgery and was unable to compete. Team USA had seven defensemen, but Gleason earned more and more ice time as the tournament progressed.
"I didn't have the best feeling going in, knowing I might not play," Gleason said. "I tried to keep it simple and play my game. I guess that's the reason I got there, the way I played."
Leafs coach Ron Wilson, who coached the U.S. team, praised Gleason's competitiveness and willingness to give his team a more physical edge when needed.
"Tim did everything we thought he could do," Wilson said today. "We needed some physicality and Tim brought that. He kept it simple, he moved the puck quickly and finished all his checks.
"He did all we asked him to do. He played very well."
Wilson said losing out on the gold medal "still stings" and was blunt when asked about putting the U.S.'s runnerup finish in perspective.
"In our business, it's about winning the whole thing, not putting it in perspective," he said. "You don't think about that. In five years, no one will give a damn. It's who won."
But Gleason, as downcast as he was Sunday after the loss, can live with coming back with the silver.
"We didn't care too much about what people said (before the Olympics), that we might not make it and we're a young team and blah, blah, blah," he said. "It came down to character in the room and guys who wanted to play, and we played. We wanted to play for each other and we had fun doing it.
"We were disappointed. We were 5-0 before (the gold-medal game). But at the same time it was a great experience and we got a medal out of it and it was a great ending, pretty much. We lost but we came a long way just in that tournament alone.
"I'm happier then heck."