|Nikolai Kulemin wasn't happy with last night's outcome by the Russians at the Olympics. (QMI Agency/Dave Thomas)
If there was a darker day in Russian hockey, Maple Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin can't remember one.
"That was the worst game in Russian history," Kulemin said Thursday, referring to Canada's 7-3 quarter-final victory over Team Ovechkin at the Vancouver Olympics Wednesday night.
"Nobody played the way we are capable of."
Of all the Maple Leaf players, no one had more reason to be disappointed than Kulemin.
The Russian-born Kulemin, a one-time teammate of Evgeni Malkin in the Russian elite league, was put on notice that he might be brought in to the Russian team if an existing roster player suffered an injury prior to the Olympics. While that did not happen, Kulemin still was cheering for the Russians Wednesday night, albeit in a losing cause.
Of course, he was in the minority in the Leaf dressing room.
For the most part, jubilation reigned supreme as many players were still giddy over the way Canada took the Russians behind the woodshed and inflicted a complete and thorough beating on the Ovechkins, Malkins, Semins and Kovalchuks.
"When the big boys (with Team Canada) get going and hitting like that, it's tough to stop them," said Leaf defenceman Luke Schenn.
Schenn, a native of Saskatoon, is friends with Team Canada defencemen Shea Weber and Drew Doughty. Schenn and Weber were teammates with Kelowna of the Western Junior Hockey League.
Forward John Mitchell, a native of Waterloo, loved the way the Canadians physically took the play to the Russians from the moment the opening puck was dropped.
"At one point, I actually became disappointed because the drama was taken out of the game so early," Mitchell said. "It was complete domination by the Canadians.
"It was great. I loved to see it."