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The above quote can be credited to Ilya Bryzgalov, backup goalie/sacrificial lamb of the Russian team, in describing the effort by Team Canada in a 7-3 slaughter last night in Vancouver. At least he was smart enough to avoid using the word "dynasty".

So who led the freshly-uncaged gorilla attack? Actually, it was pretty balanced. Six players scored the seven goals, with only Corey Perry lighting the lamp twice. And four Canadians each came away with two assists. But it was every bit as bad as the score would indicate. For all intents and purposes, the game was over after the first 20 minutes, because four goals would be enough to put away the Russians on this occasion.

From a local standpoint, the highlight would be Sergei "Niles" Gonchar's power play goal assisted by Geno Malkin in the second period, although the game was already at the too little, too late stage by then. Sidney Crosby was held scoreless on four shots, but did avenge a crushing hit on Jordan Staal's older brother, which should go over well with his Pittsburgh teammate. And once again, Marc-Andre Fleury would be there merely as a spectator.

In sports, the phrase commonly used is, "That's why they play the games". Like most sports fans, I was pretty amped to watch this one, but my expectations fell far short of the actual game itself. Storylines like Sid-Ovie and the Canadian goaltending were both relegated useless by the end of the contest, replaced by the ineffectiveness of Russian goalie Evgeni Nabokov and the disappearance of players like Alex Ovechkin.

It got so bad that I went back and looked up the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series for some historical perspective on the rivalry, to remind myself of why these countries had such a beef with each other in the first place. Since I was still five years from joining Planet Earth, I did not see it in '72, nor did I have an appreciation for what went down back then and how it helped form international hockey as we see it today. For those in my boat, I'll summarize it like this: Canadian hockey arrogance, goonery by a member of the Flyers, superstars held out because of red tape, an emotional outburst from Phil Esposito to the Canadian people, players leaving the team mid-series, a scandal over lost beer, and a series-ending goal with 39 seconds left in the last game. In other words, it was a little better than the contest we saw last night.

But last night was just one game, and there's still much more hockey to be played. The U.S. takes on Finland tomorrow at 3 PM, while Canada meets Slovakia later that night at 9:30. The losers of those games will face off Saturday night at 10 PM for the bronze, and the winners meet Sunday afternoon at 3:15 for the gold. There is still ample opportunity for a heaping helping of drama to unfold before our very eyes.

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BurressWithButterflywings said...

I was glad to see NBC pointing out Ovie coasting into his own zone and how that cost his team at least 3 goals. He plays NO DEFENSE in the regular season, you expect him to do it in the Olympics?!?

They did make up for that criticism of the King Mongoloid, however, by making sure they pointed out that " he shook hands with an injured handshake hand, what a great sport."

I am sure Ted Leonsis crapped his giant pants when Ovie and Semin went down ( not on each other, surprisingly) in a matter of minutes. Here's to Dan Boyle! Too bad he didn't snap Semin's leg in half; that kid's a baby.

okel dokel said...

@ Burress - agreed on both. Semin showed me his value during last year's playoffs.

Ovechkin is starting to make even his fellow countrymen hate him.

Chip said...

Thank goodness. Now maybe I can enjoy Olympic hockey coverage again. The knob-slobbering over Ovie is absolutely sickening. On Sunday when Russia beat the Czechs, Geno had two world-class superior goals. Yet all highlights were "OVECHKIN LEADS THE WAY!" like it's just him and a bunch of stiffs.

And Semin last night showed what a classless goon he is. What was he doing, sending a message for Game 2? Did he know it was a one and done format? What a moron.

To be fair, Malkin also played like crap yesterday.

But between Semin's dirty play and Ovie taking his runs at people, I couldn't enjoy the Russian even with Geno and Sarge out there.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I wouldn't call Semin a "goon"...

.... "goons" don't fight like this:

Let's get Geno and Gonch away from those d-bags before it starts to wear off on them...