The Russian team, wherever they were at the time, watched Canada play their best game of the Olympics on this night, pummelling the Germans 8-2, and I’m sure Alex Ovechkin and company are now understanding the Games have begun for real.
At this very moment, there will be Russian fingernails being bitten. This extra game, caused by the Canadians losing to the Americans on Sunday, very well could be the turning point for a Canadian team so scrutinized, so criticized, almost since the Games begun.
You saw a different team tonight, Russians. You saw a team finally playing as a team against the German squad. You saw Crosby step up, and you know your Ovechkin isn’t the only king of the hill in big-time hockey. You saw Joe Thornton come through and score, and you don’t know if he’s about to prove naysayers wrong about his ability to come through in big games. But he just might and you don’t like it. You saw Jerome Iginla score a couple, and you know he’s going to give you trouble. You realize your players are going to have to get in front of Shea Weber’s big shot, and you’re not crazy about that. And you understand now that Mike Richards and Scott Niedermayer love the sound of the puck hitting the back of the net, and it’s clear now that Canada has some underachievers making noise who have been quiet in the past.
It doesn’t make you happy.
And last but not least, you saw a big bear of a man, Rick Nash, with moves that befit a smaller player, finally score a huge goal, and you know he’s going to be trouble because you watched him dominate in the 2007 World Championships, you’ve noticed him come close recently, and it worries you to see him playing now like you hoped he wouldn’t. And you saw Roberto Luongo in nets and you know he’s on his home turf and will be brilliant.
You’re in trouble, Russia. Canada has a new sense of confidence, and it seems chemistry has reared its lovely head.
Wednesday night – Canada and Russia. For all of us armchair quarterbacks, get the TV warmed up.