Ovi-AP

Photo: AP

And down they drop! Tuesday was the first day of elimination in the Olympic mens tournament, meaning lots of high stakes and desperate players. More importantly, the recaps will be easier from here on out because there will be fewer games. Maybe that’s not more important for you, but it is for me.

Peace out, Austria. Adios, Norway. Keep it real, Slovakia. YOLO, Switzerland.

Let’s do the recap.

Slovenia 4, Austria 0

Slovenia outshot the Austrians 35-30 and got this backbreaking dribbler of a game-winning goal just five minutes in off the stick of the coach’s son, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings:

Photo by Pete Blackburn

Robert Kristan got a 30-save shutout for the plucky team that is surprising everybody. Slovenia has earned a date with Sweden, who —  let’s just be honest– is going to crush them. But this crew of dudes should be really proud of themselves. They should give Sweden as much trouble as they can summon up, and they should greeted like superstars when they return home.

This page has a table that explains the differences between Slovenia and Slovakia, which makes me feel not so bad about being confused by them.

Russia 4, Norway 0

Since halfway through prelims, the Russian Team has been kept afloat by KHL players. On Tuesday, Alex Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk kept that trend going. Russia earned a comfortable win over Norway, but that’s the end of easy street for them. They’ll face a tough Finland team in the quarterfinals next, a team we should not underestimate.

Related: Alex Ovechkin on Playing Finland: “It’s Going to be a Fight to the Death”

Plus, I kinda think the Russian PP is incompetent. When Ovi was in the Ovi Spot, Russia showed no keen interest in getting the puck to the most dangerous shooter in his most dangerous position. Things went a bit better when Ovi went down the middle, but if I were Coach Bill I’d be checking out some Caps game tape. Or maybe just this piece by Tyler Dellow.

No call on this next play. Was Ovi tripped on a breakaway? Probably, but it is quite the consummate fall.

Another GIF by Pete Blackburn singing in the dead ooooof niiiiiight.

NBC savaged Alex again. Something about work ethic. I’m not gonna write about it. Ovi is doing just fine as far as I’m concerned. More on this later.

Anyway, Bobrovsky’s shutout might be good for the confidence of his team’s defense, who should’ve been able to keep Norway to fewer than 27 shots. The 22 their own offense mustered is just not gonna be enough for Finland. Do moar, Russia!

Czech Republic 5 , Slovakia 3

The Czechs grabbed an early and comfortable lead, but the Slovaks came back hard as hell. Elimination hockey will do that to you, I guess. With ten minutes left, it was a one-goal game in a fight for who would become the USA’s opponent tomorrow.

This, in my opinion, was the best game of the day. The Slovak’s noble charge in the final five minutes was pretty excellent until Andrej Meszaros‘ blatant slash finished off their hopes. Tomas Plekanec got the empty netter for the Czechs.

Random thought: Neuvirth > Pavelec.

So Marty Erat and the Czechs will face John Carlson and the Americans tomorrow at lunchtime. It’s so on.

Latvia 3, Switzerland 1

Switzerland built its reputation in these Games on keeping the score low. As the stingiest team in the tournament, they gave better teams a scare with some strong goaltending and restrained offsense. That’s all over now. As soon as Latvia got its second goal, we saw the writing on the wall: theses guys can’t scoar moar goals, they just grind.

That’s the latent deception in a tournament like this. With so few games and so much disparity between the best and the worst teams, it’s easy for a hot goaltender to make a meh team look like Cinderella arriving at the ball.  Latvia knew the secret: repetition. Putting 30+ shots on Jonas Hiller is how you do it.

Latvia will be fed to the Canadian wolves tomorrow at noon.


Here’s how it looks for Wednesday:

hockey

I’m already nervous about the quarterfinals. Sweden and Canada have a walk to the semifinals, but Russia and the US need to bear down. The Czechs are old and creaky, but they’ve got JJ. The Finns don’t have much depth, but they’ve got maybe the best goalie this year in their net and all their player names sound like characters from Star Wars novels.

Get to bed early tonight, friends. Tomorrow is a big day. Thursday will be silent for the men, except for the women’s final between Canada vs USA. We should just shut down twitter now. And then the weekend. God help us. The weekend.

P.S. If you’re in Frederick, I think I’ll be watching the game at Bushwallers on North Market Street, eating a grilled cheese.

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  • Robert Mattsson

    So sad to tell you guys but that Ovie’s breakaway fall was no tripping. Ovie went with Sidney’s I mean Cindy’s diving book and trick nr1. Such strong forward like Ovie is, there’s no way he could fall in that situation. BTW Let’s go Finland! It will be a real interesting game.

  • Shawn Murphy

    Is there some type of recent sanction against puck traffic in the region known as “Ovi Spot” that I’m not aware of?
    Ignorant American here, deeply lacking in geopolitical knowledge due to videogames and fatty diet

  • Andrew Paul

    Ovi doesn’t seem too happy.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Please don’t do the “Cindy” thing here. It’s not a bad thing to be a woman, and we don’t want women to feel unwelcome or maligned here.

  • David Weichert

    So… what’s the odds on a Caps player coming home with a gold? 50/50? 4 Teams with Caps players, 4 teams without? Someone do some fancystats and figure this out. Science demands an answer!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Weird, isn’t it? I think since Dats and Rads shoot lefty, all the action is happening on the other side of the ice.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    4 out of 8 surviving teams have a Caps player on em. Good chance RUS and SWE win, and it doesn’t matter who wins b/t USA and CZE, so I’d say 3 out of 4?

  • Robert Mattsson

    Hah I’ll keep that in mind but Ovie’s breakaway seemed like a clear dive :( Atleast to me. Some russian forward performed a dive as well vs USA earlier in the tournemnt and managed to draw a penalty. So it seems they can use their whole trick book if the circumstances are right :D Btw could RMNB do some Finland special article in case Finland wins Russia tomorrow? You guys have been dissing Finland a little in this tournament ;) “Hardly cared” & “…and all their player names sound like characters from Star Wars novels.” -Loyal Caps fan & RMNB reader

  • Catherine__M

    So…. how do we audio-stream this stuff in the most inconspicuous way possible on Friday? I’m, um, asking for a friend.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I think it might have been a dive too, I just didn’t wanna say it too overly. I went with “consummate” to be as suggestive of it as possible.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Catherine, I’m sad to say it seems like you’re coming down with the flu and will be unable to work on Friday.

  • David Weichert

    You can watch it on various websites live.

  • Jack Conness

    The Russian PP is a joke. I have no idea what they are thinking. It looked a little better today but still not solid. I don’t know why they don’t set up Ovi from the Ovi Spot and let it rip. It works in the NHL and it will certainly work in the Olympics. LET HIM RIP!

  • dylan wheatley

    thank you for being the best goddamn hockey blog on earth

  • Catherine__M

    I don’t know Peter outside the confines of this blog, but “knowing” what I know about him and the RMNB writers (and heck, half the readers) based solely on this blog…..I’m pretty sure the Star Wars names comment was, in fact, a compliment :)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    The Star Wars name joke is like the Yuuzhan Vong: force neutral

  • Catherine__M

    Sad part? I just legitimately got over the actual flu and The People In Charge know it (and maybe possibly have an inkling that I’m a hockey fan and be aware of the Olympic schedule). Otherwise, I’d have no scruples. Curse my bad timing!

  • Chimchim

    I’m the world’s least competent skater, but it seems like Norway #46 caught the back of Ovi’s left skate after he missed the puck entirely, I thought that caused a slight toe pick which is what sent Ovi flying majestically. On a breakaway, he always seems like he’s kinda out of control anyway.

    And the Russian PP is just so very depressing. How is it getting outscored by Latvia?

  • scrubversive

    Slovenia/Slovakia link appreciated. I feel smarter.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    he does doesn’t he. Looks like snowboarder pumping his legs on the snowboard cross. And yes. I watch a LOT OF OLYMPIC ACTION.

  • Yo8

    From a female reader.

    http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/250×250/44071377.jpg

    And then whine even more hahaha! No, but really we should just call him crybaby.

  • OVECHKING

    Ilya Kovalchuk should be replaced by Malkin on the first PP. Gives you another left handed shot to possibly one timer from the right side of the ice.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I really do appreciate the POV, but I’d assert there’s a difference between taking offense personally (which I don’t) and saying it’s not a good thing to uncritically encode the message “women are bad!” everywhere in culture. I’m doing the second thing, not the first.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Someone take a picture! Me and @disqus_GNi3ZNFYFT:disqus are agreeing!

  • Robert

    So what are the odds on Carlson butt-checking Erat?

  • Lawrence

    It’s interesting to see the pp struggle as much as it has, especially when you consider how much talent they can throw out there. The issue stems from having too many similar players with similar skill sets. They aren’t gelling well as a team. What I see is Malkin trying to put on a one man show hogging the puck and unwilling to pass up any shooting opportunity, Kovy skating around like a mad man (although he did less of that this game), Ovi sitting around waiting for his one timer but no one is setting him up for it, Dats looks like he has no idea what everyone else is doing on the pp and keeps losing the puck.

    Even though it looked a tad bit better today when Kovi actually stood in his correct position and passed it with Dats behind the net, I still saw too much puck hogging and selfish plays on the pp. They should honestly run a pp like the caps do. They would have dats play in the backstrom spot while having malkin down low in JoJo’s spot. Have Ovi at the ovi spot and kovy in the brouwer spot.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Hoooo boy, if the Russians did a 1-3-1 with Ovi in the Ovi spot and Malkin on the Nicky spot. Put that Nichuskin (however you spell it) where Mojo hangs out near the net. Then put Radulov in the diamond-guy’s spot. Then put whoever at the point.

  • yv

    Ovi’s shots in PP are almost automatic. However, those 4 feet shorter than in NHL offensive/defensive zones make it very hard to break through during PP. The defensive team just playing close box and as a result two top D forwards don’t need to move much to protect against shots from points. Couple steps and their sticks already in the face of the point-man. Extra 15 feet wider ice doesn’t help either b/c shots are further away and with less favorable, unusual angles. Russian PP should move puck much faster to open space for Ovi and so far they are not good in this yet.

  • Huh

    “Thursday will be silent for the men, except for the women’s final between Canada vs USA.” There are men are on one of the women’s teams?

  • Huh

    Whoops. *There are men on one of the women’s teams?*

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I write a lot of sentences. That was not one of my good ones.

  • Elizabeth Plant

    IF the top 4 end up being Russia (which lets be real here is the actual question mark) v. Sweden & US v. Canada there is 100% chance that they will be at least 2 medals coming to DC
    IF the US wins tomorrow and Friday there is 100% chance there will be a gold or silver medal showing up in DC
    I mean it looks like we’re guaranteed at least one medal at this point.

  • JS

    I’m a hockey loving feminist woman. I love this blog and your respectful moderation.

  • RESmith

    “NBC savaged Alex again. Something about work ethic.” I couldn’t watch or listen at work so I had to follow/sneak in the score updates through a website. At the second intermission, I thought “Milbury and Co. are harping on Ovechkin’s play.” It’s so predictable and innocuous that you don’t even have to be anywhere near NBC’s coverage to hear it. Give it up already, folks.

  • RESmith

    You do know that Finnish exists entirely outside of the Indo-European family of languages, right?

  • johnnymorte

    Historically, FInland has always been a problem for the Russians, ever since the Sausage Wars. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the whole Finnish system of hockey was devised to thwart the Soviet attack. If they force the play, most likely they will get clobbered, kind of like when Tyson got his head knocked in by Holyfield and then decided to take off a piece of his ear. I can definitely see Radulov biting someone’s ear off with enough frustration. He has a remarkable propensity for stupidity during key moments. Oh hell, he is a dumb, dumb gifted young man. Bill is sticking to his lines, because if there ever was a day to change up your lines, it would have been today. He must see something we don’t, kind of like when Oatsey tries something for ten or twenty games and then realizes that he was wrong and makes a slight adjustment. i am very much worried for Ovi and his mental health if they don’t make it past Finland. I am really sick of the NBCSN crew, although I love Englom because he is unbiased. It’s really troubling to see the decay of Roenick and his degeneration into media whoredom. He was such a fantastic player However, if they play a stingy low-scoring affair and stay patient, they might have a chance at this team. Kind of like the antithesis of what everyone expects and hopes that they do, which is come flying out of the gate with the much anticipated Russian attack that we have been waiting for all this time. Best of luck Ovi, I pray for you.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Of course. Any idiot knows that Finnish exists entirely outside of the Indo-European family of languages.

    (No, I did not know that.)