A deserved defeat of their own devising

Bew hew hew!

Bew hew hew!

As soon as Canada went up 1-0, anyone watching could tell the game was over. It was only 21:41 into the game, of course, but the precedent had been set pretty early. Canada was allowing exactly zero people to get through to Carey Price in their net, and the few shots the US was able to get through to actually trouble him were handled fairly easily.

But the lack of incision by the US forwards all day, the lack of menace by the defense, and the fact that Jonathan Quick had to be excellent to only give up one in the losing effort could have all been easily avoided had the Americans been their best selves. Sure, they piled up the goals this tournament and entered this semifinal against their archrivals as the scoringest team in these Sochi games. They did it by pummeling all the Slov- countries and then drawing Ondrej Pavelec on the second day of a back-to-back. This was a one-line team almost from the start, except for some spells here and there when it was not, and Phil Kessel and Co. were effective but not overwhelming in today’s game. The rest of the team, including the so-called Meat Line, was simply butchered by the Canadian forwards and defense for 60 full minutes.

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Canada 3*, USA 2

That's where the puck was when the whistle blew. (from @WorldofIsaac)

That’s where the puck was when the whistle blew. (from @WorldofIsaac)

You might have noticed that to this point we have not posted about the United States and their dominant start to the 2014 Olympics, and the reason for this is that as far as we were concerned the 2014 Olympics only started this morning, following a pair of easy exhibition wins against the students at some 1970s Soviet boarding schools.

United States/Canada is the only matchup that matters in women’s hockey, and for all the evidence you need of this being the case, the supposedly-decent host Russians barely beat Japan yesterday. So we know full well just how bad the rest of the world is.

In fact, the rest of the world is so bad that even mighty Canada needed some nonsense officiating to pick up a quote-unquote win in this one that will, in essence, have to play Finland, which it already throttled, in the semifinals. Violent thug Hayley Wickenheiser “scored” the game-”winner” early in the third period on a goal that trickled across the goal line only about one second after the whistle blew. Which, as we learned in the 2013 World Juniors, is a perfectly acceptable way for Canada to score goals against the United States in international competition. The refs then reviewed the call, which it should be noted is not reviewable by IIHF rules because it involved a whistle stopping play, and then still got it wrong. Classic stuff, there.

The Canadians did their best to play anti-hockey for the remainder of the game, holding the U.S. without a shot for the vast majority of the third period by putting six and occasionally seven players in the neutral zone. It was only on the third of these most blatant violations that the officials finally hit them with a too many men call. Canada scored again, on a breakaway because the U.S. was being overly aggressive in trying to get the tying goal they shouldn’t have actually needed, to make it 3-1, and America pulled back within one on an extra-attacker goal that ended up not mattering.

(And remember, all Canadians right now are acting as though this was all on the up-and-up, but if the U.S. had scored in the way noted cheater Wickenheiser did — which it never will because the next IIHF screwup to go Americans’ way will be the first in recorded history — tomorrow’s National Post would be filled with thinkpieces about the necessity for greater quality in women’s hockey officials worldwide. Bet a toonie on that.)

Oh well. This, like every contest that isn’t the gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada, doesn’t matter at all. And no amount of corrupt officiating can change that.

KGB kidnappings finally cost USA

????????? :(

????????? :(

If you happen to see the American top line in any dingy basements in Ufa over the next few days, we at the Sleeping Giant would really appreciate it if you could cut them free and return them to the US’s hotel as covertly and soon and possible.

For the second straight game, there wasn’t much to convince us that the Americans’ No. 1 line of Johnny Gaudreau, JT Miller and Rocco Grimaldi were good enough to fill the net with pucks as we’ve seen them do at the college and pro levels, and now we have a pretty good idea why: They have been replaced by Russian body doubles. What other possible reason can you use to explain the fact that they have just one goal and no assists between them in two World Junior games? Hell, Sean Kuraly has more points than that and he’s a third-line guy.

The defense continued to sparkle for the US as you might expect — the first Russian goal, which came on the power play following an incredibly dubious penalty, deflected off both an American stick and a Russian body — and America dictated much of the game, but in the end, it seems all the lasers probably being shined into our brave patriots’ eyes by heartless Russian fans was simply too much to overcome. The precision of American passing was so poor that you’d think it was guided by Soviet computers, and there’s simply no other logical explanation.

We at the Sleeping Giant urge the CIA to run another classic American coup d’etat to unseat this evil Russian government and allow Team USA to rise back to its rightful place atop the Group B standings. That would be great. And if you want to install Brian Gionta as prime minister of Canada while you’re at it, we wouldn’t mind that either.

Sleeping Giant’s Three Stars

1. John Gibson

2. KGB operatives

3. The refs