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.