It started off so well. Ilya Kovalchuk scored early in the first period of Russia’s quarterfinals game against Finland, but Finland fought back (as good teams do), scoring twice later in the period, including a goal from septuagenarian Teemu Selanne. Finland added another goal in the second period. Russia couldn’t come back. They lost 3-1.
This is no ordinary loss. After getting blown out by Canada in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, this was supposed to be different. Russia was supposed to medal. They were supposed to win gold in front of their home fans.
Instead: sadness, disappointment, blame. Again.
We’ll be updating this post with images and quotes from the players as they come in.
What happened against Finland?
Alex Ovechkin: We have a good start. We score power play goal. Feel pretty good. Two mistakes give them the lead. I have nothing to say. We try. We fight. We play until the end. We lost.
All the skill, all the talent on this team. Why did you guys have trouble scoring?
AO: That’s a big question. It’s tough. It’s second Olympic game we lost. It’s bad. The team fight. The team fight til the end. We didm’t score a second goal. It was pretty hard.
Is this the toughest loss [you’ve ever endured]?
AO: I haven’t realized it yet. I know we have lots of pressure, with coaching staff, the team. Um. I don’t know what to say.
You said that the analysis will come later. But what mistakes can you talk about now?
Zinetula Bilyaletdinov: There were individual mistakes. That’s why we couldn’t affect the result even though we had twice as many chances as the opponents. We just couldn’t score.
What future, if any, do you see for your own work and for your coaching staff? Because, you know, your predecessor was eaten alive after the Olympics—
ZB: Well then, eat me alive right now—
No, I mean—
ZB: Eat me, and I won’t be here anymore.
But we have the world championship coming up!
ZB: Well then, there will be a different coach because I won’t exist any more, since you will have eaten me.
But you’re staying, aren’t you?
ZB: Yes, I will remain living.
Sergei Bobrovsky: I am feeling empty and disappointed, and it’s just too soon to talk about our defeat. I thank all our fans for the atmosphere they created.
Via Sports.ru. Translation by Igor Kleyner.
Crushing dejection pic.twitter.com/pOwMY56SdV
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 19, 2014
Lovely AP photo here of two sad Russian fans. CBC’s online feed caught this guy tickling her chin to cheer her up. pic.twitter.com/iV3xNxJoEG
— Harrison Mooney (@HarrisonMooney) February 19, 2014
A pair of 8's (Photo: ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP) pic.twitter.com/vbQ6VIY0Ok
— Japers' Rink (@JapersRink) February 19, 2014
CBC's @FriedgeHNIC says Alex Ovechkin the only Russian player willing to speak right after the game. Everyone else went right to the room.
— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) February 19, 2014
Alex Ovechkin: "It sucks. What else can I say?"
— Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22) February 19, 2014
Russian coach singles out Alex Ovechkin. "I can not explain" how he didn't score more than one goal.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 19, 2014
Russian coach asked if he would stay in Sochi to watch the Games. Through translator: "No. I'd rather leave."
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) February 19, 2014
— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) February 19, 2014
Told there was heated friction between Malkin/Ovechkin and Russian coaches. Subjects were KHL bias, lines, and situational usage
— Rob Rossi (@Real_RobRossi) February 19, 2014
Roenick on Ovechkin: "In this tournament, he was non-existent." Milbury: "He needs to learn the game, become a student of the game."
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) February 19, 2014
This Sochi bear, head in his paws, sits alone in Bolshoi Ice Dome more than an hour after Russia's loss to Finland: pic.twitter.com/apFQ4JhgKt
— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) February 19, 2014
— Sochi 2014 (@Sochi2014) February 19, 2014
To those asking, yes, the organist was actually playing I Wanna Be Sedated in Bolshoy
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) February 19, 2014
Ovi and Malkin scored goals w/in 3:54 of Russia's opener vs. Slovenia. They didn't score in the next 306:06 that Russia played here.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) February 19, 2014
Semin played through serious back and wrist problems, reports @plysenkovRUS
— Igor Kleyner (@IgorKleyner) February 19, 2014
Photos: Andre Ringuette
Malkin sad (GIF by crosbye)
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