Yesterday sucked. Boys and ladies didn't get us shit.
The United States of America Hockey Program and TJ Oshie took care of us.
What a hard-fought win by Team USA. Datsyuk had all the moves, and Dustin Brown and Alexander Radulov were caught in a star-crossed romance of bad penalties. Radulov penalties led to the two USA goals, one by Fowler, the other by Pavelski. Fowler's was a nasty drive to the net followed by the redirect and tap-in, and Pavelski's was an absolute snipe job off of a pass by Patrick Kane. There were a lot of moments at both ends that were absolutely terrifying, and Quick and Bobrovsky were both solid--though we have to say as homers that Quick made more heart-stoppers.
A controversial Russian goal by Tyutin was disallowed in the third due to the IIHF rule that disqualifies any goal if the net is even a millimeter off its moorings. In the NHL, it would have counted, but the net was just off enough (and you could see the red peg-thing that holds it in place) and it didn't count. Leave it to the IIHF to screw Russia hard into the mattress on that one.
But it gave TJ Oshie his time to shine. In the prelims, games that aren't decided by 4-on-4 OT for five minutes go to a shootout, just like in the NHL. Unlike in the NHL, coaches can reuse their shooters as many times as they want after the initial three.
The shootout was a fucking head-in-bucket-heart-on-chest roller coaster. Tied after the first three, we went to extra rounds. Zinetula Bilyaletdinov trotted out Kovalchuk and Datsyuk a few times. Dan Bylsma stuck steadfast with TJ Oshie, who went out for six rounds, and ultimately buried the last one where it counted. Quick came up large and timely, and Oshie was ready to pretty much carry on indefinitely. Bylsma said he would have used Oshie until the shootout was done. That is a brass balls move. Oshie had an extremely versatile game, playing well at both ends and creating a few scoring chances. The look on his face before some of his shootout attempts was pure shit-eating grin. He's basically the court jester of USA men's hockey right now, but somehow with the power to change the world.
Russian home ice advantage probably doesn't feel too safe right now. Putin was in the house. Mike Babcock was languorously texting the whole time. Shit. Just. Got. Real.
Slovenia tomorrow AM.
Cancel the rest of today, this is the most important thing that will happen to you.
USA USA USA USA USA USA USA