By Jerry Sullivan
SOCHI, Russia -- It was a great game, and as U.S. coach Dan Bylsma said later, the U.S. Olympic hockey team's 3-2 shootout victory over the Russians on Saturday had everything. Naturally, it had controversy.
With 4:40 left in regulation, Fedor Tyutin beat American goalie Jonathan Quick with a blast to the top of the net. But after a review, the officials waved off the goal, ruling that the net was off its moorings. It was only off a bit, and the Russian crowd howled in protest, but the call stood.
The call is automatic at the international level. If the net is dislodged, the play must be disallowed. The NHL judges those situations differently. If it's decided that the net wasn't off enough to affect the play, the goal is good. Not so in the Olympics.
Still, it was an issue with the Russians, who felt that Quick had nudged the goal intentionally to put the net off the peg a tad. One journalist told Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov that Quick is known for such tactics in the NHL and asked him if he had been aware of it.
"I haven't heard that," Bilyaletdinov said through an interpreter at a post-game coaches' press conference in Bolshoy Ice Dome. "It is up to the officials to judge, to observe goaltenders' behavior. He (Quick) tricked the officials and we lost. What can I do?
"I do believe it was a mistake by the referee," he said. "But it's my job to prepare my team for the next game."