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Finn-ished: Varlamov yanked after three goals on 15 shots

Feb 19, 2014, 8:52 AM EDT

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: Semyon Varlamov #1 of Russia takes a break as Finland celebrates after Teemu Selanne #8 of Finland scored a first-period goal during the Men's Ice Hockey Quarterfinal Playoff on Day 12 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Getty Images

The Russians have been alternating their goaltenders throughout the Olympics, so even after Vezina Trophy-winning netminder Sergei Bobrovsky posted a 22-save shutout against Norway in Tuesday’s qualification round match, Russia went with Semyon Varlamov against Finland.

It didn’t work out.

Although Russia’s defense deserves its fair share of the blame, Varlamov allowed three goals on 15 shots as Finland took a 3-1 lead by 5:37 of the second period. With Russia’s chances of winning a medal on home ice — let alone the gold — in jeopardy, they went back to Bobrovsky.

The Russians have had no shortage of problems and concerns in this tournament, from their questionable defense, to a top line with Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin that hasn’t been able to dominate like they should, to a theoretically deadly top power-play unit that hasn’t clicked. Although Russia has been able to defeat teams that have far less star power and talent, it hasn’t looked particularly good overall.

The one exception has been Russia’s goaltending as both Varlamov and Bobrovsky have been superb in this tournament — or at least that was the case going into the quarterfinals.

  1. hockey412 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Oh man…they’ve got one period to get 2 goals…they better get SOMETHING going! You know what is really going to hurt them is that for many of their ‘star’ players, when the going gets tough, they try to do it by themselves…that’s not going to help. OH MAN!

    • hockey412 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      You know what else – Canada took hell for not clobbering Finland, and they beat Russia…there’s a chance that instead of just chastising the teams that don’t do ‘as expected’ against them, they might deserve some props here…these guys ain’t tooooooo bad!

  2. mrpinkca - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    Karma’s slowly creeping up on him…

  3. buckeye044 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Lieutenant Bobs to the rescue

  4. joey4id - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Oh man is right. Will the Great 8 fail again where 87 has already won? Team success is just not in Ovi’s blood. And you can’t blame the players around him like many do when it comes to him and the Caps.

    • theageofquarrel - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      But in the court of internet opinion Sid sucks and cries a lot,so he has that going for him too.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:58 AM

        maybe in the court of internet opinion in 2008…no one who knows anything about hockey says things like that anymore

      • joey4id - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:21 PM

        Who gives a flying kite about internet opinion…… Seriously! WTF does that mean?

    • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      …And that’s the last time Crosby won anything.

      • theageofquarrel - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        Actually he won the Cup in 2009. Nice try though

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        You do know that the 2010 Olympics came AFTER the 2009 Stanley Cup, right?

      • jpelle82 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        when was the last time giroux won anything? oh thats right…in juniors when he rode the coattails of steven stamkos, john tavares, kyle turris, drew doughty and steve mason who dominated the world championships in 2008 as one of the most stacked teams in wjc history…

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        1. Please confirm that you know 2010 was more recent than 2009.

        2. Crosby hasn’t won anything in 4 years but you talk about him like he’s the greatest and winning everything. Toews has 2 Cups since then, while Crosby has choked.

        3. What does Giroux have to do with this conversation?

      • theageofquarrel - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:25 AM

        Alright you got me, you win the internet today!!!! HOORAY!!!!!!

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:31 AM

        Hooray! … You Penguins fans need to lighten up about Crosby. He hasn’t won anything in four years, and has 1 goal in his last 7 elimination games, including the series against Detroit when they won the Cup. Get off his jock and step into the real world. He’s clearly a great player, but he whines a lot (see when he said a clean hip check “nearly blew out my knee” multiple times in an interview this year).

      • jpelle82 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:39 AM

        he has to do with you being the consummate philly homer and trolling about crosby on an article about varlomov getting pulled.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        I didn’t bring up Crosby! Someone else brought him up as a dumb way to rip on Ovechkin. Every word I have said in this article is true and can be backed up by stats. Penguins fans start crying as soon as anyone mentions Crosby’s shortcomings.

      • theageofquarrel - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        Since he is hated by every fan base besides Pittsburgh,I think he should just retire. He is useless,he sucks,he whines,he cries,he dives,he is always injured,he’s Canadian and he hasn’t won anything since 2010. Time to hang’em up Sid.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        No… He’s a great player. He’s also choked in the playoffs lately as I showed (1 goal in the last 7 elimination games, -5 rating). Penguins fans need to step into the real world and realize it’s not 2009, and quit crying about Giroux or Ovechkin or whoever else, and stop taking every single comment about Crosby as a personal attack on them. Click thumbs down if you want, but Crosby is the Peyton Manning of the NHL, while Toews is the Tom Brady. Great stats, 1 win, a lot of playoff chokes.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        Btw, jpelle82 … You’re the person who yesterday said that Kunitz and Dustin Brown are the same player. You had no idea that Kunitz is there to play wing on the top scoring line for Canada, while Brown is one of the top five defensive forwards in every NHL category each year, and is on Team USA to be a shutdown forward.

        Thus, your opinions are pretty worthless in a hockey debate if you think their games are the same.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        you threw in your snide comment to intentionally start this debate then run and hide behind joey’s comment that mentioned the number 87 – the definition of trolling. and brady hasnt won anything since 2005 by the way…toews is more like a terry bradshaw…isnt the best at any one thing but pulls it all together to win games.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        Joey4id used the 2010 version of Crosby to rip on Ovechkin in an article about a goalie being pulled, then two more people, INCLUDING YOU, commented to praise Crosby. Then I commented negatively about Crosby, with facts and stats. So no, taking the opposite opinion of three comments, and backing it up, is not trolling.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        i said statistically they are basically the same player the other day. i went further to say they are even the same size and played the same position. never did i say they were the same player. here i didnt praise crosby either, wtf are you talking about dude? i guess with philly’s paltry public school system i cant blame you for your abysmal reading comprehension.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        Here’s you from yesterday:

        brown has won one cup right? i think kunitz has 2. brown’s been suspended/fined or should have been how many times? kunitz i think got 1 game in the playoffs a few years back. statistically speaking brown and kunitz are basically the same guy, with an edge going to kunitz because he’s played less games but has more goals and points. they are the same height, weight, played the same number of seasons, both play the wing. they are basically the same guy. the talent pool for american players is thinner, thats the reason brown makes the team. the kunitz pick will always be controversial because the canadian pool has more talent but until canada plays a meaningful game in the olympics i’m going to continue to hold out judgement on it. i really could care less what kunitz does since he plays for canada right now, but i’d really like to see brown earn his spot even though i dont like the guy. brown has 1 goal in 9 games in the olympics and that goal was the 7th goal scored in a rout of slovakia this year. he’s not blowing the doors off the arena either. did he deserve it over okposo? we can all play the what if game after the all the games are played…sound fair?

        ….You compared them based on offensive stats to say they are the same player and that Kunitz is better… THEN you say “but i’d really like to see brown earn his spot even though i dont like the guy. brown has 1 goal in 9 games in the olympics and that goal was the 7th goal scored in a rout of slovakia this year. he’s not blowing the doors off the arena either.” … Again you are judging him solely on offensive stats, completely ignoring that he’s a DEFENSIVE FORWARD and on the team to shut down the top line of every other team. Also, I didn’t go to Philly public school. Isn’t it a shame when your own words from yesterday prove you wrong.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        you just proved what i said before. statistically speaking and basically were the keywords and i never denied that i compared the offensive stats. you omit the part where i also contrasted their winning and their penchant for dirty play but thats ok. i would say read it again and stop trying to spin it. it is what it is, i compared their tangible objective statistics that anyone can look up and see. if you want to claim brown as a 30 goal scorer was brought in to play defense then go ahead, just like i could claim he was picked because there’s no one else better in the talent pool. those arguments and opinions are subjective and i wasnt in the room when the decisions were made, pretty sure you werent either. show me the quotes from the gm’s and the coaches who made the decision and i will concede to you.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:45 PM

        Again you have no stats to back things up… Brown scored 30 goals in 2007-2008. He also had 60 points that year. That season is the only time in his career that he reached 30 goals or 60 points. He has 16 points in 58 games this season. However, he’s a shutdown defensive forward who is always in the top five of the defensive categories.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        you’re the one with no stats…you keep saying top 5 in all these categories. i dont see him in the top 5 of anything except hits. he might be top 5 in the west among american forwards in certain categories but he’s not even the best defensive forward on his team. just proves my point that because the talent pool is thinner as an american, he gets the nod.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        That link is just for random percentages. Brown is always up there in DPS, DGVT, Takeaway rate, Quality of Competition. Find those stats, not just random quality of competition numbers. … Also, when was Brown a 30 goal scorer since 2007-08? I’m sure his 33 goals 6 years ago were why he was picked.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        And stop clicking thumbs up for your own comment as soon as you post it.

      • joey4id - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        He’s won the two greatest team achievements. Still much much more than anything Ovi has ever won.

  5. bucrightoff - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Finland wants it worse than a team playing in its own home country. Russia is soft, very talented, but very soft.

    • buckeye044 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      World class athletes buckling under the pressure

  6. buckeye044 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Malkin hasn’t yet learned the art of diving

  7. stepanup - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    The long term plan worked and Putin’s worst fear was confirmed. The domestic violence charges brought against him and subsequently dropped in the States messed with his training regime enough to return Semyon Varlamov to Earth.

    Or maybe it’s that mediocre defense and selfish forwards in front of him.

  8. pdmjr - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Maatta has a long stick, he’s 19?

  9. pdmjr - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Look for Putin to eliminate the Russian coach

  10. dannyboy1313 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Russia just wasn’t very good. Who will they play for 5th place?

  11. pastabelly - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    I agree that Russia is the most overrated team in the games. They caught the USA on a bad night and played with emotion, but have looked lackluster in every other game. I’m happy for Tuukka, whose profile has increased the past year or so. An All Scandinavia and All North American Semi-Final round seems fitting.

  12. jpelle82 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    someone called me a fool the other day for saying the finns were the better team. who is the fool now vm113?

  13. nj666 - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:06 PM

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