Ovi does duck lips like an Instagram selfie. #girlsweekend #seacrets  #lovemylittle (Photo: RIA Novosti)

No stupid stat snapshot today, so all you nerds can go play D&D.

Sunday’s hockey schedule didn’t stand a chance of matching yesterday’s operatic levels of excitement. The USA’s Phil-acrity was too much for an inspiring and inspired Slovenian crew. Russia squeaked a win out of a really deflated effort against Slovakia. The Finns nearly exsanguinated the Canadian offense, but couldn’t get the win. And I didn’t even know Austria and Norway were playing.

With these games in the books, we now look towards the next round. Prepare for seedings, brackets, elimination games, and the pressure getting amped up to UNHEALTHY.

But first, let’s do the recap.

Austria 3, Norway 1

[Perd Hapley voice] The story of this game is that it happened. The winning team won by scoring more goals than the losing team, who did not score as many.

Russia 1, Slovakia 0

The home team is not going to be happy about this win. The high-octane Russian offense was unable to score and actually got outshot by a plucky Slovak crew. While Alex Ovechkin got six more shots on goal, the Russian power play seemed unwilling or unable to use him at his most effective. Most of the PP action happened among Datsyuk, Radulov, and Kovalchuk (and sometimes Malkin, who wasn’t used on every PP) on the far side of the ice. That seems wasteful.

There were a couple bad beats– Alex Radulov ringing the crossbar for one– but this was mostly a snoozer. Ovi did get one terrific scoring chance in overtime.

Radulov and Kovalchuk scored in the shootout and Semyon Varlamov shut down all comers to get the win. A miserable win, but a win nonetheless. The Russians won’t get a bye– so they’ll be playing an elimination match on Tuesday, likely against Latvia or Norway.

If you’re looking for some hockey drama to talk about, Russia is your target. Where’s the electric offense? Malkin and Ovechkin are putting the shots up, but they’re not going in (at least in the last two games). The Russian depth doesn’t seem to be reliably driving play– the 36-to-27 shot differential being damning evidence of this.

We’ll take a look at brackets later, but it looks like Russia, Finland, and Canada are on a collision course.

USA 5, Slovenia 1

Amanda’s brother is still amazing, using a combination of speed and stick-work to record a hat trick. Look at this one– his second of the day– and maybe the best-looking goal of these Olympics.

(Those GIFs are from Pete Blackburn of Next Impulse Sports. Well done stuff.)

Pavelski takes the puck below the goal line, then sauces it back to Phil. The puck never touches the ice. Lacrosse style.

Both Doc Emrick and I seem to be suffering the same confusion between TJ Oshie (74) and John Carlson (4, née‎ 74). They shared the ice for a shift in the second period and, according to Doc, merged into a single entity capable of “knifing” and “finessing” the puck from the blue line. The jersey number and uniform differences between the NHL and the Olympics really is a tough adjustment for me. Usually I can spot Ovi just by his mustard yellow (not gold!) laces, but some other dudes are rocking those as well. When I’m streaming to a laptop monitor, it’s even harder.

The Slovenes, who were playing just their third Olympic game ever, got a late goal to spoil Ryan Miller‘s shutout and good hair day. By the way, the Sabres have given Ryan Miller this level of goal support just once time this season– against the Blue Jackets at the end of January. 

So thanks to a pair of blowouts, the Americans have the best goal differential in the tournament, but because they couldn’t beat Russia in rego, they’re not gonna get a top seed. They still get a bye, however, so… shots vodka tonight?

Canada 2, Finland 1

Well, that was a disappointment. The Finns defused the Canadian offense, keeping them to one goal through rego, but fell nonetheless in overtime. Drew Doughty and his stupid face scored twice– once on a powerplay masterfully manufactured by Sidney Crosby and again with the OTGWG. The Canadians might be freaking out over their inability to score, though I don’t think we should read much into it. The Canadiens almost doubled up the Finns in shot volume, and they certainly had Tuukka Rask working the whole time. So while there might be no substance to it, let’s all enjoy the next few days of panic from north of the border.

It could’ve gone another way. The Canadiens lost a goal on a weird technicality. The puck landed on the top of Rask’s net, getting knocked off indirectly by a high stick. This created a conflict of IIHF rulebook originalism and partisan allegiance that might remind one of Bush v Gore. By the letter of the law– you know what… I have no idea. That shouldn’t be a goal and it’s not a goal. Refs should have a catch-all excuse for penalties and suspensions and no-goals that we can just call, “You Can’t Do That.” No, you cannot put the puck on the back of the net, and then hit the net and hope it falls off a Finnish goalie’s back into the net.

All in all, a pretty disappointing prelim round for the favorites. Deliiiiiiightful.

Via James Mirtle:


So it looks like the Russians and the Americans will be on opposite sides of the brackets. They wouldn’t be able to play one another until the finals. Meanwhile, barring a huge upset, Canada and the US are going to meet on Friday. From where I stand, the Swedes look like they’ve got a jaunty waltz on their way to the medal round.

Game on.

I’m trying to advance a new thing where we call regulation time “rego.” Like this: The Washington Capitals have only 15 rego wins this season. Based on twitter feedback, “rego” is not off to a great start.

But one guy liked it.

So I’m gonna keep using it until you threaten to unfollow or stop reading.

Everything changes next week. Plus, the women’s final approaches. That is gonna be so much fun. Or nauseating. Possibly both.

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  • Josh Carey

    Am I the only one who thinks Ovi isn’t getting as many touches as he should? Seems like Malkin just holds the puck then turns it over and doesn’t look to get Ovi the puck.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Canada looks beatable. The US is a better team than the Fins. Disappointed the two best teams will meet so early though. Euro-North American final more than likely.

  • Hard to say. I kinda agree on impression– Ovi’s not carrying the puck (nor do I want him to) and he’s not setting up much of anything in the offensive zone.

    On the other hand, he’s getting shot totals on balance with what he’d do with the Caos. We haven’t seen enough to prove/disprove me and Ian’s whole discussion on team chemistry/individual excellence– but I think if you’re building an argument that the Russians aren’t using Ovi well, you’ve already got some decent fodder.

  • Kate

    No on rego.

    Legit laugh out loud at the caption on the top photo!

  • I would like to second this.

    “And I didn’t even know Austria and Norway were playing.”

  • Diller M

    It appears on the surface that the Bill wants to rely on the KHL homies which seems to fit his mold, despite the fact that his NHLers are the only ones doing any damage. I do t get the Russian PP Malkin and Ovi are left to sit and watch while Rad and Kovi hog the puck, if this keeps up I will have to root against their arrogance, thinking they can win without utilizing their two most effective weapons.

  • johnnymorte

    Bill needs to shake up the lines…Malkin and Ovechkin are not working and they never have, even since the last Olympics. Apparently none of these guys have seen Ovi’s goals this year, otherwise they would be feeding him. He’s been open on every PP at the Ovi spot. I like the idea of putting him back on the left for the bigger ice. Sounds crazy, I know, but that move where he cuts to the middle I conjecture would work on the big ice. Look at that scoring chance in overtime above…

  • Like I said to Josh– it’s tough. I agree that Malkin and Ovi don’t impress me as a line combo through these last couple games, but they did combine for 11 shots today (IIRC)

    That said– I think any combo of that top six is pretty bad ass..

  • I think I gotta take Friday off work. I can’t see how I’ll get anything done.

  • Eric Schulz

    So, do the teams get reseeded, or is it just straight through, ie winner of Slovenia v Austria plays Sweden, winner Russia v Norway plays Finland, etc? Meaning, Russia will have to knock of Finland then Sweden to play in Gold? (Or Slovenia or Austria, if they beat Sweden which, yeah, I’m gonna assume no.)

  • From what I can tell from people who know better than I do, I don’t think they reseed after this.

  • Eric Schulz

    Thanks. So, I guess I’m hoping for Russia over USA in Gold, Sweden over Canada in bronze, just to see Canada narrowly miss medaling. Sorry, Canada, but I just can’t: Crosby.

  • johnnymorte

    Definitely bad ass, but these guys are capable of much better passing and they’re definitely not finding each other when it counts. Malkin and Ovi are both huge bulls that drive to the net. I think using them both on the same pairing is an underutilization of their skill sets.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfVsfOSbJY0 per my friend Deann on FB


  • Simonezero

    If it ends up being SWEvsRUS and USAvsCAN there is a 100% chance I’ll be doing this.

  • I completely agree.

  • JH

    Rego sounds suspiciously like Canadian, or even (horrors) British English. It’s like “pitch” instead of field and “nil” instead of zero. Or throwing a “u” into colors and other words I can’t think of. At the risk of sounding linguistically xenophobic, this is America, dammit. Rego must go.

  • So get this– It’s likely Canada will play the Swiss in the quarters. The Canadians are the deepest forward roster EVERRRRRR whereas the Swiss have the best defense so far.

    Give em hell, Switzerland.

  • I totes didn’t mean to upset you. You’re one of my favourites.

  • Tyler

    lol #seacrets


  • JessHughes

    So I am thinking we’d prefer to see Slovakia again rather than Czech? Also, how demoralizing for Team Russian no bye into the quarter-finals?

  • Jennifer Carignan

    In Australia, rego is slang for vehicle registration. So, there’s that.

    I originally took Friday off to go “camping” (drinking in a cabin), but I’m thinking that those plans are going to have to change. The semis will probably be way too awesome to miss.

  • Matt Lauer

    I’ve always been impressed by the team concept the Swiss seem to have at these international tournaments. I wouldn’t ever count them out (though obviously there are mismatch issues on paper).

  • Ben

    What if for old times sake the Czech Republic and Slovakia decide to join forces and play as Czechoslovakia. I think that team could give the US a hard time.

  • I think I’d rather see the Czechs. I think they’re pretty old and crusty overall. I’m liking the matchup.

  • Dark Stranger

    Back at the World Champs a couple of years ago, Datysuk was on the line with Ovi and Semin and that combination worked well. Wonder if part of the reason they didn’t initially put Datsyuk on the 1st line was due to his knee injury although Datsyuk doing better now. So now I’d say, put Dats with Ovi and Semin.

  • JessHughes

    You’re not saying Erat is old and cranky now, are you Peter?

  • Chris Cerullo

    They play a version of #HunterHockey and I like it. They also have a forward with the last name Bieber. So there’s that.

  • Graham Dumas

    “Refs should have a catch-all… called ‘you can’t do that.'” Peter, you have just identified the advantage of the Anglo-American legal system over the Napoleonic code: judge-made law. The only trouble is, it’s not often used without controversy (see Bush v. Gore). Absent any real ability to appeal (the war room doesn’t count), I’m more comfortable leaving things with the rule book.

    Wait, sorry, what was that about D&D? I was too busy nerding off over here. But wait, lemme shut off the LAN and get my plus-5 broadsword, I’ll be right back!

  • Catherine__M

    This is the second time today I’ve heard this song. What is happening in my world?!

  • Chris Cerullo

    She did a sequel to this called “Saturday”


  • Michael Reschly
  • Michael Reschly

    Ugg. 4 years ago, during the US/Canada gold medal game, I was on airplanes all day and unable to watch the games.

    This Wednesday, and Friday, I will also be on airplanes all day.

  • Nicholas Backstrom

    Look at the last line of the screenshot. Did the Montreal hockey team (Canadiens with an “e” unlike Canadians like it should be) double up the Finns in shot volume? The same typo occurs 2 other times in the recap.
    Don’t worry Peter, your articles are always well written and funny so you get a pass.

  • RESmith

    The Swiss have only given up one goal through three games. But they’ve also only scored 2 goals. Tough draw for Canada but they’ll win it. Wouldn’t be surprised by an upset, either.

  • You don’t know this, but I was writing in french there.

  • Jeremy in Bethesda

    As always, RMNB has the updated bracket and in an easy to understand format. Where can I find the time to the Tuesday/Wednesday games? I need to know who the U.S. will be beating.

  • Jeremy in Bethesda

    Is it possible that, if Russia loses in their next game and therefore doesn’t make the quarters, the Russians are relegated and do not have an automatic bid to the 2018 Somewhere in South Korea Olympics? Imagine the uproar if the Russians were to not make the Olympics… Ovie might kill someone lol.

  • Graham Dumas

    I don’t think that’s the real Backstrom at all!

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Rego is close to the word for menstruating in Tagalog.

  • dylan wheatley

    rego is streets ahead

  • Jeremy S.

    At the Wake Forest @ Maryland Men’s game last year the Terps crowd began chanting “Alyssa’s Better!” at Wake’s Devin Thomas, who’s sister Alyssa (one of the best players in the country, btw) is on the UMD women’s team (article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/colleges/in-college-park-its-a-thomas-family-reunion/2013/02/02/91cbf3fe-6d77-11e2-8f4f-2abd96162ba8_story.html).

    How great would it be if at the next Leafs-Caps game the 2nd best hockey player in the Kessel family was serenaded with “AMANDA’S BETTER!”? Let’s make that a thing.

  • Nicholas Backstrom

    Notice the spelling of my first name. It may be different the #19’s, but at least its a normal spelling unlike the Wild goalie.

  • Graham Dumas

    That dude has enough umlauts to form his own metal band.