Thursday, February 25, 2010

Russia falls to Canada, controversies ensue

 photo by SovSport

The Russians are being sent home after last night's 7-3 loss to Canada in the Olympic quarterfinals.  A disappointing loss to be sure, but in the last two minutes, everything exploded.

This video (from Mediaite and Puck Daddy) covers all the bases:




Let's address the two issues here one at a time. 

#1 Boyle v. Semin

Anyone who knows me knows I will defend Alexander Semin to the death.  And even looking at Semin's hit on Dan Boyle as objectively as I possibly can, I see nothing wrong with it.  Eddie Olczyk, during the game, called it a "high, late hit," but I don't see anything other than a clean check along the boards.  Semin doesn't hit like this all that often, so I considered it to be, frankly, awesome.

So what does Dan Boyle do?  Gets up, runs after Semin, and slewfoots him from behind while using his stick to take him down.

Excuse me?

The retaliation was a ridiculously irrational and dangerous reaction to a clean hit.  Semin luckily was not hurt, but was definitely taken by surprise by the hit, and struck his head on the ice.  And what does Boyle have to say about all this?  According to the Seattle Times,
"It was probably a good hit," Boyle said of Semin's check. Then he shrugged, "That's hockey."

If "that's hockey" then no retaliation should be necessary.  Just a thought.

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau made an interesting comment about the situation after today's practice:
"[Semin's check] was a good check and if this were the NHL he wouldn't have gotten a penalty and Boyle would have gotten a three-game suspension.  But it was on a Cap guy, so maybe nothing will happen."

Puck Daddy reports that an IIHF spokesman said "they normally do not review minor penalties in international play and it's unlikely they will do so in this instance, so don't expect Boyle to be suspended for Friday's semifinal."

#2 Mike Milbury

Of course the "American Don Cherry" would mix it up during this game.  All of us were holding our collective breaths for the next JR v. Milbury showdown re: Ovechkin.  But what popped out of his mouth after the final buzzer was not what I was expecting.  A derogatory comment?  Even Milbury, he of "Hey Ovie, I'm still your daddy" and "Crapitals" fame, has stooped too low.

The use of the word "Eurotrash" in this instance is offensive, disrespectful, and let's be honest, totally unnecessary.  He could have said they played a bad game and he'd be absolutely right.  But to say that they "brought their Eurotrash game" is too much, and an over-the-top slight on a team that just lost.

Some people are saying that those of us who are offended are making too much of it.  But what if the shoe was on the other foot?  What if the Canadians had played poorly and lost, and he used a derogatory term directed at Canadians?  The issue is that the term was inappropriate for a national broadcast and especially inappropriate when you consider what the Olympics are supposed to be.  The Olympics are about unity - the best of the world coming together to share their talents and learn new things from people of other countries.  It is not about using slurs to describe competitors or how they play.  As a commentator, Milbury is not even part of the game, and the language he used is unacceptable.

To borrow a quote from Puck Daddy, I think this about sums it up:
In this situation, Milbury tried too hard to bash the Russian's no-show in the one of the tournament's most highly anticipated games and went over the line.

Oh and Mike, when even Sean Avery thinks you've gone too far, it's not a good sign.

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