Why Team Russia deserved to lose

2/20/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Feb 19, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Russia forward Alexander Syomin (28) , forward Nikolai Kulyomin (41) and forward Artyom Anisimov (42) react on the bench after losing to Finland in the men's ice hockey quarterfinals during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Ice Dome. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY SportsConsidering how well Team Finland has done in the last few Olympics, its 3-1 victory over Team Russia today should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Finland got timely goal scoring, consistent goaltending and more importantly, found a way to win in the clutch. In essence, Finland did the exact opposite of what Russia did in this tournament.

Coming into the Olympics, the Russians were considered one of the favorites to win Gold. The team had home ice advantage, an array of offensive superstars in Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and other high caliber offensive players as well as a chance to make their country proud

In the end, however, there was a huge letdown and Team Russia is finished. With that in mind, let's take a deeper look at why this team failed to accomplish what it was supposed to.

Inconsistent Offense
As mentioned above, Team Russia was made up of a ton of offensive talent.

This offensive talent was known for putting the puck in the net, creating lots of scoring opportunities and finishing plays when it counted the most. In fact, this was an offense to be feared.

With that said, however, Team Russia's offense was inconsistent in this tournament. The team certainly looked good in winning three of their five games but in their two losses, the team's offense went quiet.

This was the case in their loss today. After Kovalchuk scored a power play goal early in the first period, the team went the rest of the 52 minutes without putting the puck in the net.

Where was Ovechkin?
Going into this tournament, word on the street was that this was going to be a chance for Ovechkin to do something special for his country and show the rest of the hockey world that he was a big-game player.

Unfortunately for both Ovechkin and Team Russia, the
28-year-old superstar failed to show up when his team needed him the most. Yes, he scored a goal in his club's first game on his first shot of the tournament but after that, he failed to put the puck in the net.

This is a player that is leading the NHL with 40 goals this season. Where did his goal-scoring prowess go during the Olympics?

What About Bob?
Feb 18, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Russia goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovski (72) in a men's ice hockey playoffs qualifications game against Norway during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Ice Dome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY SportsAfter playing well in the beginning of the tournament, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was left on the bench when the team could have used him the most.

In their loss to Team Finland, Russian netminder Semyon Varlamov allowed three goals on 15 shots before being replaced by Bobrovsky. While the blame cannot solely be placed on Varlamov's shoulders, his country needed him to simply keep the game close and stop the puck today and unfortunately, he was unable to do that.

Meanwhile, Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, was on the bench when in reality, he should have been the goaltender to start this game. He was coming off a shutout over Team Norway and as mentioned above, had played well in the beginning of the tournament.

In the end, however, Russian head coach Bilyaletdinov decided to go with Varlamov and it could certainly be one of the reasons why the team got ousted.

Quiet in the Clutch
Everyone knows that hockey is a team game and that when a team loses, no one should point the finger at one particular player.

With that said, this was a team whose best players failed to show up when they needed to the most. When the game was on the line, the likes of Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Alexander Radulov and Varlamov all failed to get the job done.

When that happens, along with the above mentioned factors, a team deserves to lose a hockey game. Russia deserved to lose to Finland.
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