Russia and America collided and our site didn’t self-destruct. Yay!
Saturday in Sochi was an upset festival, but all anyone is gonna talk about is how T.J. Oshie became a superstar in the States’ shootout win over Russia. In today’s recap, I’m gonna pretend to care about everything else that happened, but you’ll know my heart just isn’t in it. T.J. Oshie rules!
Slovenia 3, Slovakia 1
The country of Slovenia has a grand t0tal of 2.058 million people in it and they just won an Olympic hockey game. If you’re looking for good stories in Sochi, there’s a good one. As a nation, they’re smaller than Chicago. As a hockey team, they’re winners.
Slovakia’s Jaroslav Halak gave up three goals– all in the third period, and only one to Anze Kopitar, That’s 28 saves on 31 shots. It took the Caps 134 shots in the final three games of the 2010 playoff series to get as many goals as the Slovenians got in 20 minutes.
USA 3, Russia 2
The main event did not disappoint. Russia vs America had high drama, a soon-to-be-legendary shootout, and the birth of a new international hockey star in T.J. Oshie.
But let’s start with Russia Captain Pavel Datsyuk, whose reported knee injury didn’t keep him from scoring twice (and again in the shootout for a DC Hat Trick) and looking stunning in the process. On the other side of the bench, Alex Radulov committed two penalties– one dumb, one soft– and the Americans capitalized on both.
Washington’s John Carlson was one of three Americans to let Datsyuk by on his way to his first goal. Carlson played just four minutes, just 16 seconds in the third period and zero in overtime. So that’s not good. Alex Ovechkin put seven shots on goal, but someone’s gonna say he was invisible or a disappointment or something. Maybe Putin.
I’m imagining Russia is particularly perturbed by the no-goal that cost them the win in the third period. Jonathan Quick had dislodged the net from its moorings a few moments earlier, and I just wanted to use the word moorings. The IIHF released a statement about the controversial call:
Upon reviewing the goal, the net had clearly been displaced prior to the puck going into the net.
So the game went to the shootout, which was practically a coronation for T.J. Oshie. Oshie took six attempts (yay for international shootout rules) and scored four times. The guy appeared unfazed by the pressure, smiling between attempts and looking ice cold on every break. Per his post-game interview, Oshie “kept the ‘tender guessing”, employing a ton of patience before releasing within 10 feet of the net each time. Stud.
Sweden 5, Latvia 3
The Latvians couldn’t stay out of the box, and the Swedes made ’em pay for it, scoring four times.
Nick Backstrom assisted on Erik Karlsson‘s powerplay goal and proceeded to tackle the scorer to the ice in the friendliest way possible.
Marcus Johansson has a reputation for discipline in the NHL– committing just four penalties in the last two seasons, but he did get busted for a hook in this one. That’s okay; Mojo got on the board with an assist on Alex Edler‘s nail-in-the-coffin goal.
Czech Republic 0, Switzerland 1
What happened to the Czechs? Seems like the sun is setting on Jagr’s hockey powerhouse. Michalek, Kaberle, and Plekanec were unable to beat Jonas Hiller in the Swiss net. A goal by Brooks Laich’s buddy, Simon Bodenmann of the Kloten Flyers, got past Ondrej Pavelec. That’s all it took.
So the Czechs are in decline, but it also looks like the Swiss are a pretty strong team. They’ve only allowed one goal against in three games. I’d love to see Switzerland mess up one of the Big Teams in the next round.
You know those messed up Pepe LePew cartoons where he harasses some poor lady cat who got painted with a white stripe? At the end of every strip, the cat goes to some extreme to get away from Pepe– like jumping in a rocket and flying across the world. And then at the last moment, we see that Pepe is in the rocket with her, and it’s actually kind of terrifying. That cat went all the way to the other side of the planet to get away from that creep, and yet there he is.
I bet that’s how NHL players feel about Pierre McGuire in Sochi.
So I guess we’re all waking up early again on Sunday for the Americans’ game against the Slitheen of Raxacoricofallapatorius. I think it’ll be a rout, but a little piece of me is rooting for a close game. Slovenia deserves it.
Anyway, the prelims will wrap up tomorrow, and then the quarterfinals will start on Tuesday. Looks like the US will get a bye. Thanks, T.J.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 15, 2014