This is why you never start Ondrej Pavelec

Keep on rollin'.

Keep on rollin’.

The thinking behind giving Ondrej Pavelec the second consecutive start on a back-to-back against the Mighty United States was one that any human being with even a passing understanding of how water freezes into the ice on which a hockey game is played could have told you was questionable at the very best.

Then Pavelec proved every one of his doubters ever 100 percent correct. Four goals against, in just 29 minutes and change, each more hilarious than the last, and the game already belonged to the ages.

The U.S. advances to the semifinals, as predictably as can be. Thank you to all the goalscorers. There’s nothing left to say about this one. See you Friday for a big W against Canada.

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.

USA Predictably Beats Germany

Patriotic Patriots Doing Patriotic Things

Patriotic Patriots Doing Patriotic Things

Not even sure why we’re writing this up; the US beat Germany 8-0 despite Johnny Gibson coming out after the second period and Alex Galchenyuk’s line spending the third period playing Xbox behind the bench.

John Gibson likely used his time playing Germany to adjust to the time difference in Ufa by taking a nap while his teammates filled the net. Milwaukee’s own Alex Galchenyuk gave us this embarassingly easy (for him) goal and was kind enough to line it up perfectly with the camera man to show the whole world how it’s done:

It may be worth noting that Canada allowed this squad of foreigners with odd names with smiley faces in the middle to score THREE TIMES on them. Contrary to the Canadian Propaganda that they softened the Germans up it’s clear that the German team was encouraged by their favorable result against Canada (only a minus six) before running into the unending destruction known as Team USA.

Sleeping Giant’s Three Stars

1. Team USA

2. Team USA

3. Team USA