Penalty calls kill Russia

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

As usual, the officiating was terrible. And as far as the Russians were concerned, it cost them a trip to today's gold-medal game of the world hockey championship.

"We had 14 minutes of penalties to kill in the first period," complained Russian forward Alexei Yashin, who contributed a goal and assist in yesterday's 4-3 loss to Team Canada in the semi-finals at Vienna.

Actually, it was 12 minutes, but the tenor of Yashin's complaint was valid.

"It's very tough," he said. "You can't give all those chances to power-play units like Canada has."

BLUNT

Alexander Ovechkin, the 19-year-old sensation who scored the third Russian goal, was even more blunt.

"We're very unlucky not to be playing in the final game," he said. "The referee gave more penalties to us, and Team Canada has a very good power play."

Finnish referee Hannu Henriksson handed out nine first-period penalties -- six to Russia and three to Canada. Sometimes a team deserves such an imbalance, but that was not the case yesterday. In fact, in the National Hockey League, the period probably would have been penalty free.

"We can say it forever," said Yashin, "but the calls have been made. But we wanted to get off to a good start, and you can't play (12) minutes on the penalty kill."

HALL HONOURS

Former NHL stars Mats Naslund and Vyacheslav Fetisov were among six people inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame yesterday. Naslund and Fetisov were inducted as players along with German national team member Alois Schloder, former Soviet great Viktor Kuzkin and Jorgen Hviid, known as the father of Danish hockey, and referee Quido Adamec of the Czech Republic.


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