By Richard Hsu
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World Cup of Hockey: NA vs. Russia

The match between North America(NA) and Russia in the World Cup of Hockey was fast, exciting, dramatic, and had an edge-of-the-seat heart pounding finish that makes hockey entertaining to watch. There was also the young guns of The West (US & Canada) versus the men of Russia angle. The end result was disappointing for me but Russia deserved to win it.

Some commentary

  • Matt Murray had a bad night and gave up 4 goals in a short span of time. That was too much to recover from even with the talent and youth that NA had. Gibson was solid after taking over from Murray and kept NA in the game till the end. It will be interesting to see if Murray starts in the next game and how will this affect his role in Penguins' lineup next month.

  • Bobrovsky, on the other hand, allowed 3 goals on 46 shots from NA. He was the MVP of the game. Russia, with their NHL snipers could only make 25 shots on goal. The contrast between shots and goals reminded me of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals between Penguins and Sharks.

  • NA team was too fancy many times resulting in missed chances or turnovers. It was nice to watch but not helpful to their cause. Time and experience in NHL will impart the wisdom to decide when to try low percentage moves and when to just keep it simple and pass or shoot.

  • After the shock of going from 1-0 to 4-1, the young guns of NA regained composure with the late 2nd-period goal. That set up an exciting 3rd-period chase. It was comforting that NA didn't panic.

  • Apart from a one-timer that hit the post, Ovechkin was quiet. Same for Malkin. Datsyuk was busy and I saw some smooth moves but it was the other players that made the difference.

  • It was my first time watching the new NHL players like Auston Matthews, Morgan Reilly, Connor McDavid, and Nathan MacKinnon. I am excited for the start of the NHL season with two of them playing for Toronto Maple Leafs especially Auston Matthews (first draft pick).

  • It could easily have gone to overtime. Now I regret deleting the recorded game. I could watch the 3rd period many times and still not get bored like Game 6 of the 2015-16 Penguins vs Sharks.

  • It was an odd experience watching the recorded game and forwarding to skip the ads and commentaries. While I could watch the match in just over an hour instead of the two to three hours a live broadcast takes, it felt a bit rushed and highlight like. Maybe I missed the commentaries. Maybe the act of pressing Forward and Play on the remote control frequently disrupted the concentration needed to enjoy and watch the game. Maybe both.

  • Notice I didn't use the word grit that Team USA has been using to describe their style of physically aggressive play. There was some pushing around, face washing, and body checks but all forgettable. It was few and far in between and didn't matter. That is how hockey should be played.