Everyone in Sochi had more or less moved past the disputed non-goal that occurred during the epic U.S.-Russia hockey game Saturday — that is, until Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to weigh in, telling R-Sport, a state-owned news agency, that the call was a “mistake” by the referee.
“Even referees sometimes make mistakes,” Putin told R-Sport. “Here I wouldn’t tar anybody with any brush, but I thought that we would win by a big margin.”
You remember the play, right? With 4:40 left in the game, Russia’s Fyodor Tyutin fired a long slap shot from just inside the blue line that sailed past U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick and into the net. The Russians celebrated the apparent go-ahead goal, but the referees, following a video review, waved it off because the net had come off its moorings. Under NHL rules, the goal would have stood, because the goal becoming dislodged did not affect the play. But under IIHF rules, it was no goal. Some Russian players also accused Quick of dislodging the goal on purpose, which could have earned him a two-minute penalty. The United States went on to win the game, 3-2, in a shootout.
Partly as a result of the loss, Russia is the fifth seed after the preliminary round of the 12-team tournament and has to play a qualifying game today (4:30 p.m. in Sochi, 7:30 a.m. in Washington) against Norway to get into the quarterfinals, which begin Wednesday. The U.S. team, meantime, holds the No. 2 seed, earning a bye into the quarterfinals, where they will play the winner of Slovakia and Czech Republic.