Semyon Varlamov stops Brooks Laich on a shot attempt. Russia vs Canada World Championships.

Alex Ovechkin is separated by an official from going after Brooks Laich while Steve Downie whisphers sweet nothings into his ear.

Alex Ovechkin is separated by an official from going after Brooks Laich while Steve Downie whisphers sweet nothings in his ear.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a rematch of the Olympics, but Canada’s defeat at the hands of the Russians might salve some of the wounds from February.  In a 5-2 thrashing, some of the Russian Olympic team beat some of the Canadian Olympic team, and it only took 78 penalty minutes to happen!

Today’s game was noteworthy in that Brooks “Lugnut” Laich opposed a ton of his current and former Capitals teammates (Ovechkin, Semin, Fedorov, Kozlov, Varlamov, Rasputin, Zhivago) and didn’t evaporate any friendships in the process.  Aside from one tense scrum and a blocked wrister from Varlamov, the friendly rivalry was not a factor in the game.  What did matter was the steady drip of penalties leaking from the referee’s whistles.  Across twenty seven penalties, the officials dealt out 78 minutes of penalty time (30 for Russia, 48 for Canada).  If this wasn’t the most litigated pro hockey game you’ve seen in a while, I do not want to see your hockey games.

The Russian Machine decided to play the third period upside-down just to make the game more even. Whatta guy!

The Russian Machine decided to play the third period upside-down just to make the game more even. Whatta guy!

When players managed to escape the hungry vacuum of the penalty box, the game was lobsided.  Despite having a competent offense, the Canadians did not mount a successful attack until Islander John Tavares beat a couple defenders to score halfway through the third period.  Colorado Avalanche Center Matt Duchene snuck one past a screened Semyon Varlamov in the waning seconds, but that was the entire story of the Canadian offense– far short of their opponent’s output.  The Russians offensive array struck five times: twice from Penguin (note to self: link to disreputable trade rumor posts here) Evgeni Malkin (one on the PP, one against an empty net), once from Thrasher Maxim Afinogenov, once from Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk, and once from Capital Emeritus Sergei Fedorov. Canadian goalie, Chris Mason of the Blues, simply didn’t have the defensive resources to withstand the Russian onslaught.

The present-day Capitals, Alex Semin and Alex Ovechkin, were silenced aside from a signature high-sticking call from “Sam.”  Ovechkin did have a couple fun scraps with goal-scoring leader Steven Stamkos, but it wasn’t anything that would merit ink on any site not actually named after the dude.

Let’s do note that all of Russia’s output came from NHL players (Sergei is still a Cap in our hearts!).  RMNB was not alone in dishing out heavy criticism against Russian coach Slava Bykov for stocking his Olympic team with players from the KHL before their dismal loss.  Has Bykov learned his lesson, or are the NHL players just outshining the Kontinental contingent?   Either way, we feel pretty good about it.

As I said before, the game was a ugly, lightly sauteed in a salty mix of roughings and stick penalties.  Sergei Fedorov had a particularly heated exchange with Tampa Bay’s resident dickbag, Steve Downie, but managed to maintain the dignity of hockey’s elder statesman.  The loooooong list of infractions on today’s summary sheet will likely raise questions about judicial overreaching in the IIHF.  The “let the boys play” approach that NHL refs are notorious for was wholly absent here.

So Team Canada’s jaunt to the world championship ends, and Russia’s continues.  Russia is now the heavy favorite to win the gold, but that should be cold comfort for the Russian Capitals, who had a different trophy in mind for the Spring.

  • Hale

    The prelude to Downie and Feds was Downie slewfooting Semin. Oh, and it’s “lopsided.”

  • BobbyG

    Penalties Smellaties. I don’t care if the win was ugly. All that matters is that RUSSIA WON. I hope it does salve some of the wounds left over from Vancouver, and also provides the Russian Caps–Ovie in particular–some measure of satisfaction (and relief) as he prepares for a long summer hiatus when the WC tournament ends.

    I hope Slava Bykov has learned his lesson after the Vancouver debacle and thinks twice about stocking Team Russia with KHL players over the NHL players when Sochi 2014 commences. Of course, the NHL players have to get approval to participate, so all this might be moot anyway. Still, I can’t help wondering what Ovie will do if the NHL nixes any more participation by its players in future Olympics.

  • M

    @BobbyG

    “I hope Slava Bykov has learned his lesson”

    I hope not, don’t want the universe imploding on itself.

    @Hale

    Yup, that’s exactly what started things, Psycho slewfooted Semin, and Feds wasn’t having any of that.

  • Hittman

    Maybe next year Ovechkin takes off the visor and just starts fighting. If he’s not going to beat any of Gretzky’s records (since, let’s face it, that’s impossible in today’s NHL) he might as well just be the greatest leader he can be, Iginla style.

  • Dabby

    “Cold comfort”??!!You must be joking!For every Russian player (even NHL Russian player )WC Cup is WAY MORE IMPORTANT than Stanley Cup!Especially after last Olympics…It’s great honour to represent their homeland for Russians.They’re very patriotic dudes,you know.I think that Ovechkin,Malkin,Kovalchuk etc.will be EXTREMELY happy to protect their title and give fans a joy.They’re really love Mother Russia and Russian fans.And Russian fans didn’t care about NHL titles.Stanley Cup is an important thing for North Americans,but for Europeans it means NOTHING.

  • Peter Hassett

    @Dabby

    If you asked Ovie what he wants more, do you think he’d say the Cup or the World Champs trophy?

    Given that only players who have been eliminated from the SC tourney go to WCs, it’s demonstrably true that Champs is a consolation. I don’t mean to diminish the tournament, but it doesn’t hold the same respect as the Cup.

  • Elena

    Месть!!!

  • Elena

    Hi everybody, honestly i dont understand, do you truth support our team?
    Honestly is not believed.Sorry if i wrong.
    P.S.: I from Russia