The IIHF has announced the referees and linesmen for Friday’s big semifinal games between Sweden-Finland and U.S.-Canada. They are…
Sweden-Finland: Referees Konstantin Olenin (Russia) and Tim Peel (U.S.), linesmen Derek Amell and Chris Carlson (both Canada).
U.S.-Canada: Referees Brad Meier (U.S) and Kelly Sutherland (Canada), linesmen Ivan Dedioulia (Belarus) and Greg Devorski (Canada).
Some quick thoughts…
— The most noteworthy assignment here is Meier, who came under fire following the U.S.-Russia game for Fedor Tyutin’s disallowed goal (due to the net being dislodged). Russian fans protested outside of the U.S. Embassy and the media, well, uh…
After the call was made, commentators on state television at first seemed unable to overcome their shock, shouting “How can this be so?!” They spent much of the rest of the game muttering resignedly about Meier’s nationality.
Komsomolskaya Pravda, one of the country’s most popular newspapers, carried a photograph of U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick — a red circle drawn around his hand, which appears to be pushing one goal post backward — beneath the headline: “An American referee and the puppet international federation deprived us of a deserved victory.”
One state-owned channel ran an hour-long talk show dedicated to the disallowed goal.
“Judges don’t have nationality?!” Alexei Pushkov, a Kremlin-connected member of parliament, fumed on Twitter. “How interesting. And how come they didn’t appoint a referee from Russia, but an American?”
— Olenin and Peel have only worked once together this tournament (Slovenia’s win over Slovakia in the group stage); this will be Meier and Sutherland’s first game at the Olympics together, but the pair has worked a number of NHL contests.
— Referees that were given quarterfinal games but didn’t make the cut for the semis? Kevin Pollock (Canada), Jyri Ronn (Finland), Marcus Vinnerborg (Sweden) and Vladimir Sindler (Czech Republic).