VANCOUVER -- It was a goal. But it didn't count. It went in the net. But it didn't go up on the scoreboard.
What if it had? Would it have changed the game? Would Canada still have won big? Would Canada have won?
A TSN replay of a shot early in the second period with the score 2-0 proved the Russians had scored. But the officials didn't notice and there was no evidence upstairs in the video booth.
Play had proceeded.
"Whether the puck went in or not, the people who decide in the video booth told that the puck didn't go in," said Russian coach Sergei Mikhalev after a delay in the game following a whistle a few minutes later to examine the situation.
"TSN showed it went in by that much," said his interpreter, holding up his hands to indicate about three inches.
"How can it be that TSN didn't give that information to the goal judge?" questioned the coach.
"I can't comment on that. I don't know what happened and why.
"I think, yes, if this goal had been scored it would have had an outcome on the game. Team Canada would have had to play differently."
Canadian coach Brent Sutter begged to differ. "I have to disagree with the Russian coach. It wouldn't have changed the way we played."
Sutter said his team didn't change the way his team played throughout the tournament.
"We were up 2-0 against the USA and then it was 2-2 and we didn't change our game."
Fortunately, with a 5-0 final score and an 11-1 two-gold-medal-game-total score the last two years, it didn't turn into an international incident.
"They deserved today's win," said Mikhalev.
"Unfortunately our game plan didn't work out. We knew Canada would be hard from the beginning of the game and I have to admit they did do this. We haven't played that bad.
"We were even shooting more than Team Canada in the first period. But at the end of the period we gave (away) two goals that were easy goals and also our goaltender could have played better."
Anton Khudobin, the hot-and-cold goaltender of the Saskatoon Blades who was pulled for a 6-1 loss in the gold medal game last year, gave up a bad goal to Steve Downie on a wraparound a rebound goal to Blake Comeau to make it 2-0 after one period. Two rebound goals on power plays to Michael Blunden to make it 4-0 before Edmonton Oilers draft pick Andrew Cogliano created a pretty one scored by captain Kyle Chipchura of Vimy.
'CANADA PLAYED BETTER'
"It showed that those first two goals were decisive. It's the first time in the tournament that our team was not able to score. We were not able to outplay the great defence of Team Canada and their good goaltender. Canada played better tonight and deserved the gold medal.
"Also, we were not able to capitalize on our power plays. This was the only game of the tournament that our first line with Evgeni Malkin didn't play great. What can I say? That's hockey."