Yanks shocked Russians out

By STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency



VANCOUVER — On the morning after at the Athlete’s Village, Sergei Gonchar ran into his old teammate, Ryan Malone, and shook his head.

He didn’t expect his Olympics to be over this early. None of the members of Russians national team did.

“He’s pretty crushed,” said Malone, the Team USA forward. “I talked to him for a little while. He was pretty down and real disappointed. I’m sure they had bigger dreams than this.”

This, for Russia and for the defending champions from Sweden, was elimination from the Olympic hockey tournament before the medal round even began. And nobody, but nobody, predicted that both teams would miss the Final Four in Olympic hockey.

“If had told me that before I got here, I would have said you were crazy,” said fellow U.S. forward Ryan Kesler. “Honestly, I figured us, Canada, Russia and Sweden as the last four teams. Didn’t everybody?”

The way the Russians were manhandled by Team Canada was stunning, but just as stunning was Slovakia’s unexpected win over Sweden.

When he left the rink Wednesday night, Roberto Luongo fully expected to be playing the Sedin brothers tonight. But this is one game elimination hockey. This is why six different countries have played for gold in the past three Olympics.

“It tells you about the format,” said Zach Parise. “You can make all the predictions, you have to play the Games. The Russians figured to be right there and I’m sure the Swedes did too.

POLL