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).

When do the Olympics start?

"Can you believe we actually had to play these guys?"

“Can you believe we actually had to play these guys?”

In their final warmup game before the Olympics officially begin, the United States of America easily dispatched by a score of 7-1 an Albuquerque, New Mexico, high school junior varsity team that was chosen at random to play against some of the greatest talent in the wo…

What’s that? This was an Olympic game? Okay, well anyway, this was an Olympic game so it’s nice to see the Americans pad their goal differential against anyone, even if the opponents in question were a bunch of malnourished childr…

When you say, “This score came against a team with actual NHL players on it,” what do you mean by that? Chara? ZDENO Chara? Well that just seems like it can’t be right. Teams with Zdeno Chara on them don’t give up seven goals, I don’t care who else is on the rost…

Well no, you have to be wrong about that; how is Branko Radivojevic still alive? And what are you talking about when you say they only gave Chara 18 minutes? These are things that cannot possibly be true. You know what, buddy, I’m going to go check the box score and show y…

Oh my god you’re right. Well anyway the U.S. got two goals from Paul Stastny, and one each from John Carlson, Ryan Kesler, David Backes, Phil Kessel, and Dustin Brown. Jonathan Quick sleepwalked his way to 22 saves on 23 shots. This doesn’t feel as fun as it should.

US lazily crushes Czechs with extreme disinterest

One of the few moments in this game everyone from America was able to stay awake at the same time.

One of a few moments in which everyone from America was able to stay awake at the same time.

The result of this game was never in question, as you might expect, but what was surprising is that the good ol’ US of A had this one wrapped up just 31 seconds into the game.

It was at that time the Czechs took their first penalty, ceding the one of three Superpower Plays, and 50 seconds later, there was a puck in the back of the net courtesy of captain Riley Barber. The rest of the game was academic, and served only as a curiosity; a simultaneous display of American muscle-flexing and largesse. It’s almost too bad Daniel Dolejs, who was actually pretty good in the Czech goal, had to be on the receiving end of this, but then Bikini Atoll had to be on the receiving end of some nuclear tests as well. All for the greater good.

The fact that the game ended only 5-1 has to be seen as a little disappointing, but then one has to keep in mind that this was asking a herd of elephants to do battle with an ant colony. For all intents and purposes, it was over quick — before it even started, if we’re being honest — but it still took time to mop everything up.

Two goals in the first, and again in the second, but the Czechs were either tied or within a single goal for a mere 122 seconds, which you’ll note is not very long at all. The second goal, also on the power play, was Will Butcher’s. Interestingly, no one on the US had more than one point in the game, because nothing says “equality” like spreading the scoring throughout the lineup. In all, 13 different guys had points for the Red, White, and Blue. Probably should have been more, but what’s the point?

The lone goal American Hero and Reigning Gold Medalist Jon Gillies allowed was on a soft power play called late in the game when it didn’t matter even a little, and only came because he really couldn’t be bothered to put down his book. He still finished the game with a .958 save percentage.

Again, it’s hard to get up for a game like this, or care about the result. Yup, it was a win. It never wasn’t one. You could write the postgame quotes yourself, the second the schedule was announced. “It was nice to get our feet under us. In a tournament like this you want to take every opponent seriously and zzzzzzzzzz,” wunderkind Jack Eichel probably said before falling asleep thinking about this pointless and vulgar exercise in power demonstration.

At least things will be a little more entertaining on Saturday when the US plays… Slovakia? Oh for f…

Lunchpail Canadian Team Reduced to Celebrity RT Begging

"Oh you fancy, huh?"

“Oh you fancy, huh?”

Today Nathan Mackinnon, who will be immediately blamed by Canadians for not being Sidney Crosby, tweeted at the only artist available on Canadian radio due to CRTC regulation:

This is a terrifying development for any God fearing peace loving American: it would seem that Canadians have learned to read and will shortly be joining social media to bleat about 2009 when they last managed to win a tournament invented largely to convince Canada they’re good at something.

Master Mackinnon here makes an interesting choice reaching out to one Aubrey “Drake” Graham. Drake, aka. Drizzy aka “Can’t tell this guy apart from Lil’ Wayne”, like most Canadians spends his time looking South to America and asking himself “how can I be like them?”

NHLers are clearly excited by Mr. Graham's appearance. "Fist bump? Hand shake?"

NHLers are clearly excited by Mr. Graham’s appearance. “Fist bump? Hand shake?”

The tweet has been RTed by every literate Canadian so far except Mr. Graham and is closing in on 70 RTs as we hit publish. Hopefully Nathan Mackinnon gets his wish for a Drake RT on his birthday or if the unthinkable happens and his cat Mr. Mittens gets sick.

In the meantime both Drake albums will be played in full on all Canadian radio stations at their usual times tonight in order to meet Canadian programming quotas. Take Care if you live near the border, and feel free to Thank Me Later.