Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/13/14 at 02:26 PM ET
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Do you believe in debacles?
You did Thursday if you were at the Bolshoy Ice Palace. What began as a rousing return home for the Russian men’s hockey team did not turn into a rout, not right away, anyway. Before the Russians broke open a 5-2 victory in the third period of their first prelim game, they struggled through an uh-oh, one-goal stick-squeezer.
And they did it against Slovenia, a small country with one NHL player making its Olympic debut.
“Tension,” said Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk. “Warning.”
There is a boom-or-bust quality about the Russians. They are capable of skilled hockey and sloppy hockey. The pressure of playing at home could bring out their best or crush them into disappointment. We saw hints of both in the same game, and if that can happen against Slovenia, what about, say, the United States on Saturday?
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