February 19, 2014

Russian Hockey Team Out Of Sochi Olympics

Some thoughts Russia's Olympic nightmare...
  • Full credit to the Finns. They may be missing virtually of their centers, but they keep rolling with a perfect game plan. Finland, who have more medals than any nation in the NHL Olympic era, will play for another medal in 2014.
  • Lots of people pointing their fingers at Alex Ovechkin. But he never dodged any of the press. He was dejected unlike anyone has seen him before, but he owned up to the loss for his team while most hid in the dressing room. Yes Ovechkin would have liked to have had a better tournament on the ice, but you have to respect him for this.
  • Yes, Ovechkin is the face of Russian hockey and he will unfairly wear this Olympic failure. I really didn't like coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov trying to make sure of it with his post game comments singling out Ovechkin.
  • I will never understand why Russia switched goalies for this game. They took out Vezina trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky and put in Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov is certainly a capable goalie but he was put in a tough spot. And it's not like Goalie Bob isn't used to a heavy workload. That's on Coach Bill.
  • The Russians traditionally do bizarre things with their goaltenders. Think Myshkin over Tretiak in 1979 and 1980, or flip flopping between Sergei Mylnikov and Evgeny Belosheikin during the 3 game final of the 1987 Canada Cup.
  • Pavel Datsyuk is easily the best Russian player. Just amazing to watch. And he wasn't even healthy. Alexander Radulov played with spirit today too. Evgeni Malkin just looked frustrated and I don't even know if I noticed Ilya Kovalchuk.
  • I still believe Russia needed to spread out their talent on the forward units. They had their top six guys on two lines when they could have spread out the attack over three lines. The problem with all those guys on the same line is there is only one puck.
  • Russia's thin defense was also an issue though not the reason they lost to Finland. Still, the lack of top dmen coming out of Russia right now is a reason for concern.

1 comment:

AlexGrabos said...

I am astounded at the Russians. To have such talent and make so little of it. It's like Spain, the soccer national team before they won the European Championship in 2008 in Vienna. Lots of talent, huge expectations before each tournament and than falling flat at the first hurdle.

Ovechkin and Malkin are such disappointments. But yeah Joe, you are right, at least the Russian coach should have had the decency not to blame it on any one player, let alone Ovi who was the biggest advocate for the NHL players being in Sochi, if I am not mistaken. Russia will never win anything until they have this disgusting attitude.

As for the Finns, my fav player, Selanne scoring at the age of 42 and leading the line with such passion... Wow!!!