Today is Christmas for those of the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Russians in particular stick close to this tradition. Well, obviously I’m not considering last night’s loss a Christmas gift to Geno. I’m talking about the bigger event that took place this week. For those of you who don’t follow the World Junior Championships each year, you really don’t know what you’re missing out on, but that’s another story. As Christmas Eve morning broke over in Russia, the Russia National Junior team came from behind and upset the favorited Team Canada to capture the Gold on Wednesday night. Mother Russia got one of the best early Christmas presents that it could have asked for!
I apologize to our Canadian readers, but after the behavior exhibited by Canadian fans during the tournament, especially following the win by the Russians, I can’t help but be ecstatic for the Russians. Well, not to mention that it proved to the Canadians, once again, that they do not own all things hockey. We get it Canada, you tried to take over Buffalo where the tournament was held. Yes, it was on our turf. However, as sad as it is, the WJC is not a national holiday in the US and many of us are not able to take the time off from our jobs to make it to the games. That’s no reason to act like assholes.
Monday night’s semi-final game between the US and Canada was a rematch of last year’s Gold medal game. The US went in as the favorite to defend their title. Phil Krundle’s brother and nephew were lucky enough to be at the game and sent in this picture:
Sadly, the US team that had been showing such dominating play throughout the tournament, just didn’t show up that night and fell to the Canadians. The US did go on to beat Sweden on Wednesday for the Bronze, the first time that the US has ever earned back-to-back medals at the WJCs. However, our contributing writers (Krundle’s family) reported that the Canadians were drunk, constantly singing the English soccer song the Habs fans love so much, giving play-by-play commentary regardless of their lack of hockey knowledge (yes Canada, not all of your “fans” know the game), and overall obnoxious.
So, back to Wednesday night. Canada went into the third period with a 3-0 lead and decided to be complacent, figuring they had the game in the bag. Well, the Russians wouldn’t give up and pulled off one of the biggest comebacks ever to win the game 5-3. When that buzzer ended, the HSBC Arena broke out into many different kinds of mayhem. The Canadian team was devastated. The Canadian fans turned on the boys…they had gone from a national treasure to a national embarrassment in a split second.
The Russians went crazy. Simply crazy. The kids started screaming into every and all cameras that they could find. Now there are many videos out there that show lengthier and much better quality versions of the Russian celebrations. However, Dmitry Chesnokov who contributes to Puck Daddy added captions to this video so that in the spirit of 24/7, we could get a sampling of what the Russian kids were saying:
So, what did the Canadia fans do as the Russian kids celebrated? Ask anyone who watched the game and the aftermath: they threw beer at them. Yep. You stay classy, Canada.
So, I’m giving Canada a failing grade for sportsmanship. But, I’m giving the Russians an A+ for knowing how to celebrate. After boarding their flight in Buffalo yesterday, the team was removed for apparently being too drunk and unruly to fly (though it appears other passengers were confused as the team all seemed well-behaved and tired). According to all reports I saw, while the police were brought in just in case, there were no incidents. Apparently, the team sat around for a few hours while options were weighed and ended up back at a hotel. They were to return to the airport today to fly out in two groups, getting into Russia sometime tomorrow. Somehow, I think the Gold medals will allow all the F-bombs and missing Christmas to be forgiven.