Yes, we’re still talking about the U.S. shootout classic against Russia on Saturday. It’s worth all the hype, having just become the most watched hockey game in the NBC Sports Network’s history.
And some players, even though they might not be taking part in the Sochi Olympics, still can’t help but marvel at the competitive juices that were flowing between the two hockey powers in a game decided by T.J. Oshie’s superb shootout performance, giving the U.S. a victory in the highly anticipated preliminary game.
“What a game,” Brian Boyle of the New York Rangers wrote for The Record.
“You listen to the game and you can hear the noise and the physicality the guys playing had and the hate they had for each other. Obviously, they respect each other but they don’t like each other out there.”
For the U.S., it will move right into the quarter-final round. It will wait to play the winner of the qualification match-up between Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The winner of that quarter-final game will advance to the semifinal to play the winner of the other quarter-final between Canada, the third seed, and Switzerland or Latvia.
Now, if the U.S. and Canada meet in the semifinal – remember, they met back in the gold-medal game at the Vancouver Olympics four years ago with Canada coming away victorious – then you’ll see two hockey nations that respect each other but also really don’t like each other, either.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: