Controversy In Sochi, USA Victory

By The Elm - Feb 22,2014@1:26 pm

By Taylor Konyk
Sports Editor

Saturday, Feb. 15 Team USA defeated Team Russia in an instant Olympic classic. Team USA outscored host nation Russia in a shootout that will be remembered for ages. However, much controversy surrounds Russia’s third period goal that was waved off due to Team USA’s net being off its moorings.

With nearly four minutes left in the third period, and the game tied at two goals, Russia’s Fedor Tyutin blasted a shot from the circles that deflected past goaltender Jonathan Quick. Following the goal, game officials ruled it out. Much to Russia’s displeasure, no Russian player ran into or caused a US player to hit the net. Likewise, the replay clearly shows the cause of the net being dislodged was Quick’s lateral movement.

Whether intentional or purposeful, the net remained dislodged as Russia developed their winning play.

The real culprit to this controversy lies with the on-ice officials. Quick may or may not have kicked the net off its moorings. The onus is on the referees to determine whether he dislodged the net with intent, and at the very least halt play to replace the net. They failed to do both.

Hockey controversy between the US and Russia runs deep, as this is not the first time Russia accused an American team of cheating.

In 1976, the HC CSKA Moscow, a Soviet hockey club, traveled to the United States to play a series of games versus National Hockey League teams. HC CSKA Moscow played multiple games, delivering multiple defeats to teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers.

The Soviet club geared up to face the Philadelphia Flyers and deliver a sweep of NHL teams. Russia would not find a win so easily. During the game, legendary Ed Van Impe delivered a game-stopping hit to the Soviet team, causing them to abruptly leave the game before it had ended.

According to Philly.com, Van Impe said, “I just wanted to welcome him to Philadelphia.”

As the Soviet team waited in the locker room, Flyers Owner Ed Snider said, “I told them that they wouldn’t get paid for the game…. So they huddled together and went… back onto the ice,” according to Philly.com.

The game ended much differently than the one played last Saturday—the Flyers won 2-0.

Though sportsmanship is stressed, tensions are high for athletes competing in the Olympics. Because they only have one opportunity every four years, every shot, pass, and save makes a difference.

Quick’s actions in moving the goal will not soon be forgotten in either Russia or the US. In spite of the official’s failure to notice the net, the Russians would have had an opportunity to defeat Team USA in a shootout had it not been for T.J. Oshie who scored four shootout goals to outlast Russian Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Men’s Hockey Tournament is scheduled to end Sunday, Feb. 23 with the Gold Medal Final starting at 7 a.m. Likewise, the Bronze Medal Final will be played a day earlier on Feb. 22 at 10 a.m.

With strong performances from Team USA, Team Russia, and Team Canada, the action is sure to heat up for a strong finish in Sochi.

The Elm

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