Eat it, Putin

Mr. Bobrovsky, we tore down this wall!

Mr. Bobrovsky, we tore down this wall!

So that was pretty great.

Of course, any time the US wins is pretty great, but beating Russia, in Russia, with their shockingly-beshirted homophobe piece of garbage president Vladimir Putin watching, in a thrilling game that required not only overtime but eight rounds of a shootout, is even better.

The game was played so evenly for pretty much its entirety that it was easy to forget that Russia’s team is bad and America’s is great, especially because Pavel Datsyuk was doing all in his power to carve up the US defenses at any opportunity. He ended up scoring both of Russia’s goals, one on a partial break — in which he abused all three of Brooks Orpik (who just got eaten up by the speed), John Carlson (who put himself out of position and never recovered), and Max Pacioretty (whose backcheck was so soft it was mistaken for a Russian third-line forward) — and the other on a power play goal facilitated by an idiotic kneeing penalty by Dustin Brown and a beauteous screen by Alex Radulov, who seems to have put on so much weight playing in the KHL that the US penalty killers would have needed a John Deere to move him from the front of the crease, if they’d tried, which they didn’t.

Of course, Radulov had a far greater hand in the proceedings than just making that game-tying marker happen: He also committed two predictably dumbassed penalties that led to both American power play goals. Radulov is nothing if not an enthusiast for being a guy lazy commentators can hold up as the towering example of The Russian Stereotype being 100 percent true. It’s as though he delights in it. The only way he could have become more of a parody of the genre is if he’d also lazily backchecked on Oshie’s shootout game-winner.

That’s all, by the way, to say nothing of the beautiful work to set up both American goals. James van Riemsdyk’s work at the top of the crease to move the puck over to Cam Fowler was just magnificent, as was the bullet Phil Kessel put toward the net to make it all happen. (Kessel, by the way, has been revelatory through 125 minutes of Olympic hockey.) Then there was the Patrick Kane pass to set up Joe Pavelski’s goal, which came with a skill threshold so high and shining it was briefly mistaken for the Olympic torch.

And in the end the game came down to Oshie and Quick, who personally battled through six and eight rounds of the shootout, respectively, to secure this glorious W and cap a fitting end to the game that deserved to go America’s way if only because everything does. Quick repeatedly repelled the bids of Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk, who were presumably chosen to go so often because of their outright and tacit support of Russia’s disgusting anti-gay laws, and when the dust settled Oshie had scored on four of his six attempts. He did, however, leave Sergei Bobrovsky guessing on the full half dozen.

So now it looks for all the world as though the US is going to win its group, as a wholly unintimidating matchup with Slovenia looms (is that the right word here? Can harmless things loom? Like, say, can a mylar balloon for a toddler’s birthday loom? If so, the game with Slovenia looms. If not, it’s just next I guess).

Canada “beats” U.S. *wink*

Look at this lil guy tryin so hard. Adorable.

Look at this adorable lil guy tryin so hard.

If anything, this was a little too sloppily-executed for our liking.

The US clearly went into this game with the plan being, “Just let these poor illiterate kids see what it’s like to beat a real team,” like when college football teams let 7-year-olds with terminal illnesses rush for a touchdown and get carried off the field. But this just wasn’t good enough from the Red, White, and Blue.

When you allow someone win, you’re supposed to make it look natural, but Connor Carrick ruined any suspension of disbelief the average non-Canadian viewer might have had when he didn’t score on a late breakaway. I mean, did you see the goals Zach Fucale gave up today? That’s the kind of goaltending Canada typically deals with, not these spectacular toe saves. The plan, as relayed to us by our loyal operatives, was to make it appear as though he hit a rut and let the puck glide lazily into Fucale’s pads. People would buy that a netminder as low-functioning as him could stop a roller going five miles an hour. That toe save though? We’d believe Jon Gillies could do it, sure, but not Fucale. In fact, not any Canadian.

It’s like the scenes in early Godzilla movies in which you can see it’s just a guy in a cheap costume. Takes you out of your viewing experience and makes you think, “Oh right, this is all fake.”

The IIHF’s officials dutifully played their part as well, whistling the U.S. for three “penalties” in the third period, but they too messed up in not calling Canada for any. Again, this is all wink-nudge stuff, but it’s possible that even some of those Canadian kids can’t be dumb enough to think this went as well for them as the final scoreline would appear. The U.S. power play entered the game lethal at nearly 60 percent, but went 0-fer today. Yeah, okay, sure. The U.S. had taken the fewest penalties in the tournament through three games, then gives Canada five power plays?

All in all, just bad form from the Americans today. It’s like they weren’t even trying to make this believable. Canadians actually seem to think they earned it. Those poor, dumb sons of bitches.

How to make watching Canada games fun

We here at the Sleeping Giant know that the first and most important thing you care about when it comes to the annual IIHF World Junior Championship tournament is seeing the great and powerful United States rumble over all its helpless foes like a Sherman tank. And who, really, can blame you?

But it is important to heed the words of the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu, who once said, “Know thy enemy as thyself.” And thus, we encourage you all to watch as many other games as you can, including those featuring the pathetic Canadian team. It’s not easy, and often a viewing of the final minutes of The Human Centipede is more visually and aurally pleasant, but it remains nonetheless important.

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;)

WHATS IN THE BOX? (Boone Jenner probably)

WHATS IN THE BOX? (Boone Jenner probably)

“The best thing the Devil did right once was making people think he was dead but he wasn’t dead though.” – Kaiser Sosay, from that movie

Imagine all the flak that came in through our brand new Twitter account, @USAbesthockey, when the final results of this game came down. Sure, 5-1 to the Finns (THE DIRTY FINNS!) isn’t a good look for the final result but as privileged and respected members of the America hockey community, we got a little email last night that tipped us off to the real machinations at work here.

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