Perhaps it’s only fitting that the most controversial goal of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics would prompt the most controversial comments of the games.
Team USA had opened their Olympics schedule with 7-1 drubbing of Slovakia, while the Russians were playing their first game of the tournament. After a scoreless first period which saw the Russians outshoot the Americans 13-10, Pavel Datsyuk scored on a breakaway for the host team at 9:15 of the second frame, staking Russia to a 1-0 lead. At 16:34 and with Alexander Radulov in the penalty box for cross checking, the U.S. responded, as Cam Fowler’s goal while crashing the net beat netminder Sergei Bobrovsky:
In the third period, the teams traded goals. Joe Pavelski’s one-timer goal off the fantastic Patrick Kane cross-slot assist put the Americans up 2-1. However, just 3:17 later, Pavel Datsyuk scored again, knotting up the game at 2-2 and setting the stage for one of the most talked-about moments of the Olympics.
With less than five minutes left in regulation and team Russia on a furious cycle, the puck found its way to Fedor Tyutin, who was just inside the blue line. Tyutin wristed a shot amidst traffic that sailed past U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick, apparently putting the Russians up, 3-2. With NBC holding the copyrights, the replay can be found here.
To the surprise of everyone, the referees determined (properly, as it turns out) that the net had been knocked off its moorings by Quick seconds before the apparent goal. If it were an NHL game, the officials could — and likely would — award the goal, as the rule reads as follows:
63.6 Awarded Goal – In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, by a defending player, prior to the puck crossing the goal line between the normal position of the goalposts, the Referee may award a goal. In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions of a defending player or goalkeeper, the puck must have been shot (or the player must be in the act of shooting) at the goal prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts.
When the goal post has been displaced deliberately by the defending team when their goalkeeper has been removed for an extra attacker thereby preventing an impending goal by the attacking team, the Referee shall award a goal to the attacking team. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal.
Not only was the goal disallowed, but Quick was not assessed a minor penalty, another controversial decision in favor of the Americans.
The outcome and Voynov comments
With the potential game-winning goal waived off, the game was eventually decided in the shootout. Unlike the NHL, IIHF rules allow for any skater to take the shot in the shootout, literally as many times as desired. Thus, shootout specialist T.J. Oshie made six attempts, scoring four times, including the deciding tally which won the game for the Americans, 3-2.
After the game, Russian defenseman and fellow L.A. King Slava Voynov made news by claiming that Quick is “known” for the trick of dislodging the net at key moments. The allegation quickly made the rounds in the media, particularly within those dedicated to coverage of the Kings.
Did Voynov really mean what he is alleged to have said?
In the wake of a controversial loss to team USA in front of a partisan home crowd, it’s certainly understandable that Voynov would be disappointed, perhaps even to the point of making an inadvisable remark about a fellow L.A. Kings player. It’s also possible that Voynov was either misquoted or taken out of context, or even that with English as his second language, he did not phrase his comments properly.
However, on the surface it appears that Voynov threw Quick under the bus with his statements, which should make their reunion when the Olympics are over more than a little interesting, to say the least. What do you think? Did Voynov rat on the stalwart L.A. Kings goaltender?