Yesterday I watched-like most around the world did the same-as Finland beat Russia in a win and your playing for a medal, or go home and think about it for the next four years hockey game. For Finland it was a chance to prove they belonged. For Russia it meant everything and so much more. Perhaps even more so after the U.S. game the previous Saturday. If you watched it-and let’s be honest, how could you not have done so, you know what happened there. And it meant something especially to Alex Ovechkin who from the moment the announcement came of it being held in Sochi, had become the spokesman, the face and the name of the games.
These were just as much his games as it was Putin’s it seemed.
Finland won, eliminating Russia. There would be no gold for the home country. There in fact would be no medal for the home country at all.
The moment the buzzer sounded signaling the end of the game, thousands of hearts seem to burst. Twitter seemed to have fallen silent, Facebook soon followed. Russia stood still. How could this happen, how how how???
The solution it seemed was to blame the one guy who was supposed to make it happen. The one player who was supposed to come through no matter what for team Russia. Ovechkin. I guess it makes sense. But as I sat watching from my cube in America, while he spoke to the media my heart broke. Even if I was rooting for the U.S. and OK the fact they were out of it did make me smile a little broader, my heart still ached.
Because he took the fall, despite the fact that hockey last I checked was not an individual effort. It is a team effort. No one mentioned the lack of performance from Malkin, or Semin. Varly. All of who had just as much of an equal hand in the loss as Ovechkin. But no, it was not them that they blamed. And did we notice it was none of them who were even willing to speak to anyone? At least Ovi was willing to face the music, good or bad. He took it.
Now I am not saying he did not have faults, because when it comes down to it, no he did not perform up to anyone standards, including his own. What I am saying is this. It takes more than just one person to win or lose a game. And blaming it solely on one player is not going to do you any good. I am sure as the days, weeks and perhaps years go by, players will come forward and admit fault, blame it on coaching on half KHL, half NHL system that they were under. Ovi while may not be viewed as the hometown hero anymore will at least see the pressure off his shoulders a little. Perhaps they will even admit what they should have been focusing on was how to come together as a team rather than playing at 20 plus individuals with egos. That it was unfair to blame such things on one sole individual-no I do not see this happening, but we could hope.-Perhaps then the outcome would have been different.
Though at the moment, its little consolation to a game that meant so much to a country.