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.

US ‘pushed to the limit’ in three-goal win

Get used to it, commie!

Get used to it, commie!

You’re going to hear a lot of talk about how close this game was and based on certain metrics you might even be persuaded that this is the case.

This is the kind of claptrap you’d hear on TSN. Don’t believe the hype.

The Slovaks dove all over the ice early and often in drawing six power plays, of which only maybe one or two were in any way explicable apart from “gross IIHF incompetence/corruption.” They also scored a pair of goals on those six power plays, bringing low the mighty American penalty kill and cutting the lead from 3-0 to 3-2.

Which, by the way, who cares? Again, this game was 3-0 about 24 minutes in, and while the Nervous Nellies and Naysaying Nicks out there might think that having the game be within a goal through 40 should be in some way troubling, the fact of the matter is that this, too, was as foregone a conclusion as Thursday’s breezy win over the Czechs.

After the game, NHL Network color commentator/possible double agent Dave Starman, said that the Slovaks “pushed [America] to the limit.” This after the mighty US tacked on not one, not two, but three even-strength goals in the third period. The Slovaks? Pushing the US to anything but the brink of comatose boredom? Don’t make us laugh and vomit simultaneously.

Let’s put this as simply as possible, so that even our Canadian readers can understand: Through six periods of hockey, the US has conceded one (1) even-strength goal, and that came in today’s contest because the team was up 6-2 and no one really cared, the definition of a garbage time goal. They’ve also scored six even-strength goals. Which tells you everything, really. Even excepting the American Superpower Play, which was once again gigantic in scoring three times on five opportunities (5 for 8 in the tournament), the US has outscored opponents by a wide margin. Jon Gillies was probably just giving up all those rebounds as a wink and a nod so that people don’t start thinking he’s too perfect.

And here’s the other issue for opponents as well: Even if all your diving works and you get power plays and the US can’t kill all of them, there’s no chance of competing with the Americans’ depth. Through two games, the US has scored 11 goals, and only one player on the team — captain Riley Barber — has more than one goal. That’s 10 different goalscorers in two games, and it’s not particularly nice or fair.

We could sit here for hours and write about the many ways in which this game was not at all close, because the US got a lead at 16:53, played pretty poorly for most of the rest of the night, and still never looked back. You want to talk about killer instinct? How about three goals in seven minutes to make it a two-, three-, and four-goal game?

If this is the US’s “limit” then someone’s going to die in the Germany game.

Underdogs sneak by superpower US

Can't we all just get along?

Can’t we all just get along?

In what will perhaps be known as The New Miracle On Ice, Canada somehow managed to defeat the US 2-1 today in Ufa, all but shattering whatever hopes the Americans had of being taken seriously just two days after losing to the Russians, who were not in any way favored in this tournament, by the same score.

“I can only speak for every single person in Canada when I say that beating the USA, who we spent months deriding as worse than a hockey team made up of boulders with smiley faces painted on them, is the crowning achievement of our nation. It’s a shame those Americans don’t have our same high priorities on the things that matter: near-point-per-game NHL-led squads winning by an entire goal,” said prime minister Stephen Harper.

Continue reading