Dare to Be Badass: Beating the unstoppable Soviets with a bunch of college kids seems like an impossible goal, which is why Herb tells the team "this cannot be a team of common men, because common men go nowhere."
Hero with Bad Publicity: Downplayed for Brooks regarding his decision to keep the US players from interviewing the media during the Olympics in order for them to keep their focus - reporters suggest he's doing it to hog the spotlight for himself.
In Memoriam: The real Herb Brooks served as a consultant for the film's production before he died in a car crash six months prior to the film's release. There is a dedication for Brooks during the film's ending credits:
The Rival: The Soviet Union, probably the best team in the world at the time having won the gold medal in 1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976.
Rousing Speech: Coach Brooks has a particularly awesome one he delivers to his team before their game versus the Soviets, which is basically verbatim from the real one he gave.
Shown Their Work: During the USA's game against West Germany (FRG), the scoreboard mistakenly shows the team abbreviation GDR, which was German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. However, the mistake wasn't made by the filmmakers; rather, it happened in the original game.
Every major moment/play, many of the little details (such as the way the original players held their sticks, or Eruzione's victory-run across the ice), even the actors' likenesses were gone over rigorously from the original game to make it as close as possible. Just look at the making-of extras.
Sports Widow: Brooks's wife wishes he would pick his head from out of the game film and have some family time every now and then, but for the most part, she stays supportive of his goal, especially once it becomes clear how important their Olympic performance could be.
Training from Hell: After a particularly lackluster exhibition performance, Herb has them skating line sprints well past the time the arena lights go off until they understand who they play for. Counts for the cast as well; to make their fatigue look as real as possible, they actually did the sprints for hours on end over three days.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Herb Brooks. Much of his Training from Hell and harsher moments are done specifically so he can mold the hockey team into one that can beat the Soviet Union, and at times provoke players into giving him their very best performances. As stated in-film, "Herb has a reason for everything he does".
Herb: A bruise on the leg is a hell of a long way from the heart, candy-ass!
Jim Craig: What'd you call me?
Herb: You heard me.
Jim: YOU WANT ME TO PLAY, HUH?! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?!
Herb: I want you to be a hockey player!
Jim: I AM A HOCKEY PLAYER! YOU WANT ME TO PLAY ON ONE LEG! I'LL PLAY ON ONE LEG! *restrained by teammates trying to go after Herb*
Herb (out of earshot leaving the room): That'll get them going?
Asst. Craig Patrick (smiling): Oh yeah. I'll clean up.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The final game for the US was not against the Soviets, but Finland, who were also a very strong team. note The U.S. again had to rally to win, this time from a 2-1 third-period deficit. Herb Brooks sent a simple message to his players during the second intermission: "If you lose this game, you'll take it to your graves...your fucking graves." Cue yet one more American rally.