The following is a real-time log of a crappy hockey game. I have not changed any notes – a fact that will become painfully obvious in about a paragraph.
So here’s the setup. We’re in quarterfinals play and these are the two favorites for the entire tourney. Now the loser gets eliminated from medal contention. How did this happen? America. That’s how. The U.S.A.’s victory over Canada on Sunday knocked the Canucks to the sixth seed. Russia is three, but an underdog nonetheless. Alex Ovechkin says take your dog and shove it.
Prove me right, Alex. And prove to the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee that he was in fact correct – his country’s “Own the Podium” undertaking was a complete waste of $117 million dollars.
Let’s do this.
Alright, so last time we were here, I suggested that Ovechkin bolted for the locker room after Sunday’s Czech game to tape his highlight body check of Jaromir Jagr on SportsCenter. Dead wrong. He said in an interview with Jeremy Roenick that he bolted for YouTube instead. I love this kid. And I bet he can drink like a fish.
“All NHL-ers at the start,” says combover enthusiast/play-by-play man Mike Emrick. A little more buildup before this baby gets cranked up. ESPN analyst John Buccigross said on SportsCenter today that this is the biggest hockey game of the year. Bucci knows his hockey. Plus he’s got a great tie knot… And you always trust a guy with a great tie knot.
At 17:30, Canadian Danny Boyle of the San Jose Sharks finds Ryan Getzslaf (Ducks) on a crossing pass from the right circle. Getzflaf takes advantage of the empty net. 1-0, Canada, as Team Russia tries to shake off the Smirnoff buzz from the night before.
The Canadians have come out in full attack mode, peppering Russian goaltender Evgeni Nabokov (Sharks) and dictating action in the Russian zone. Much ballyhooed Canadian goaltending replacement Roberto Luongo (Canucks) is sipping Earl Grey in his own end.
Now we get a Canadian power play as Frankenstein lookalike Anton Volchenkov of the Senators sticks Sid the Kid in the legs… Boyle takes advantage. He’s trailing a Canadian rush like a young Shaq trailing a fastbreak. Boyle puts a wrister past Nabokov. 2-0, Canada. And as I’m describing the last score, the Canadians create an odd-man rush off an Evgeni Malkin (Penguins) turnover. Columbus Blue Jacket Rick Nash seals the deal. 3-0, Canada, as the head of the Canadian OC thinks maybe he’s only wasted $50 million.
Hold that thought. With five minutes left, the maligned Volchenkov crosses ice to Dmitri Kalinin. Kalinin plays for Phoenix. Kalinin says, stick it Coach Gretzky. 3-1, Russia as Vladimir Putin gives democracy 45 more minutes to prove itself.
Russian goalie Nabokov makes a spectacular kick save on another Canadian blitzkrieg. Had Big Red played this kind of defense during the Cold War, we wouldn’t have needed to send David Hasselhoff to finish the job.
Damnit. It’s hard to write a coherent sentence when the Canadians are taking it to the net like Kim Cattrall takes to a horrified 25-year-old. Winger Brenden Morrow of the Dallas Stars is pestering Nabokov like a 200-pound padded gnat. His vigor pays off – the puck squirts through on a cheap behind-the-net move. 4-1, Canada, as I begin to wonder why I’m not doing something better with my time.
“Canada’s looking like a buzzsaw,” says studio man Bill Patrick. Yeah, that about sums it up.
Remember when I said always trust a man with a great tie knot? I lied. Buccigross’s “greatest game of the year” has become as one-sided as a Sarah Palin hunting trip. The Canadians are the guys firing from the helicopter, and poor Nabokov is the Moose running for his life. When I started that analogy, it was 5-1 on a goal from Anaheim’s Corey Perry. Right around “guys firing” it went to 6-1. I don’t even know who scored the last goal.
“By a fistful, Canada,” Emrick says. I’ve never heard “fistful” as a beatdown descriptor before, but I like it. The fact that the Russians scored as he said “fistful” killed the mojo a little. 6-2, Canada, as a yanked Nabokov leaves to watch the two-man bobsled.
“It doesn’t mean they’ll win, but at least they’ll have a chance to come back,” Emrick says, explaining the Russians newfound energy. He adds, “Until now.” 7-2, Canadians, as humbled goalie Martin Brodeur thinks to himself, “Yeah, Luongo was probably a good move.”
At the 8:30 mark, Russian defenseman Sergei Gonchar of the Penguins drills a slapper from the blue line past Luongo. 7-3, Canada, as Brodeur begins to convince himself otherwise.
On yet another Canadian offensive, a Russian defender kicks the net out of place. “And there’s going to be interference against the Russians,” Emrick says. Jimmy Carter just got a cold shiver. Power play Canada with six minutes left.
Brenden Morrow has the most yellow teeth I’ve ever seen on another human being. This is neither here nor there, but it’s a four goal game – at this point nothing is here or there. Tony Siragusa lives for moments like these.
The studio team tried to get Sidney Crosby for an interview between periods, but he was busy Mapquesting directions to Imperial Chinese Restaurant. This does not bode well for Alex Ovechkin.
Volchenkov elbows Hurricanes captain Eric Staal on a “semi-dirty play” as the two are sprinting into the end boards. Staal goes down in a heap of Canadian, proceeds to spit blood from his mouth, crawl to his feet and skate off the ice as his fellow countrymen cheer approval. There’s “tough guy” and then there’s “hockey player.” Does he stay in the game? Come on. He punches himself in the teeth for good measure.
One’s mind begins to wander with 13 minutes left in a meaningless hockey period. I’m thinking new rule to prevent this kind of wasted ice time. What if we implemented a 3-pointer just to keep it interesting? You put a puck in from between the blue line and center ice, you get an automatic hat trick. We’ll call it a “knockout goal,” as the boxing equivalent would be a late-round knockout from a guy who’s way down on the scorecard.
Fun fact: Russian Fedor Tyutin of the Columbus Blue Jackets pronounces his name “Toot-en.” My question to you: how many fart jokes do you think this guy has to put up with?
With nine minutes left, Emrick says to his color man Ed Olczyk, “You said it would be high scoring! You said the Canadians would win!” Emrick would actually try to kiss his butt, but his lips might get stuck with the ice and all.
Luongo absolutely stones Malkin on a power play breakaway. The rowdy, fully inebriated (on Earl Grey tea) Canadian crowd starts a chant of “SC SUCKS! SC SUCKS!” Actually, they’re yelling “LUUUUUUUU,” but you can’t tell from the TV mics. Still 7-3, Canada, as I scramble for words to adequately convey my dissapointment.