'Tuukka Time' struck midnight on the Russians.
Rask could not have done anything bigger for his country than what he did today versus the Russian Federation. Tuukka became Terrible.
|Rask stones the Russians (C. Mason/Getty)|
Rask turned away 37 out of 38 shots, backstopping Finland to a 3-1 win over the vaunted Russians, and ending the host countries march towards the 2014 Olympic Hockey Gold medal. In fact, the Russians won't be eligible to medal at all. A seemingly impossible thought before the Olympics kicked off.
There is no question that the Russians under-performed in the five games they played, as they struggled in the group stage versus the likes of Slovenia and Slovakia, and lost to the Americans in the now-etched-in-stone-shootout last Saturday. Russia took care of lowly Norway on Tuesday, setting up their showdown with the Finns. That is where they skated into Rask.
Rask put an end to the Russian's inconsistent play during this tournament and exposed them to the scrutiny that few players could ever hope to face in their entire lives. The skaters for Russia failed their nation, failed the millions of fans across the huge country, and most of all, failed themselves.
Tuukka the Terrible and the Finns will play Sweden in the next round, and if things shake down the way they should, the best four teams on the planet will be playing in the semi-final rounds.
|Kessel and the U.S. gunning for the semis (via Post-Gazette)|
The Americans will take on the David Krejci and the Czech Republic as they try to punch their ticket to the Final Four. Canada will skate against (and should demolish) Latvia, which would set up the U.S./Canada match-up that everyone wants to see.
Before that happens, the U.S. will need to beat a Czech team that has rebounded quite alright for themselves, knocking out Zdeno Chara and the Slovaks yesterday. The Americans should dispatch of the Czechs with relative ease, as they are the superior team in almost every category.
But that's why they play the game.
Even still, it'll be a disservice to hockey fans across the globe (save for the ones in Russia right now) if the second half of the Final Four isn't completed with the arrivals of the Americans and the Canadians.
So without any more delay...
"U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!!!!!"