Surely, just about everyone in America has heard by now that the U. S. Hockey Team beat Russia “this morning” (our time), which actually started at 4:30 PM in Sochi, Russia. The game was tied after 65 minutes of regulation play, including a five-minute overtime. Accordingly, one player from each of the teams took turns skating toward the opposing goal, on a one-on-one basis, trying to score against the opposing Goalie. But, here’s where rules count.
Shortly before the end of regulation play, with the game tied two-to-two, Russia appeared to have scored the go-ahead goal. After a few minutes of the referees conferring, the goal was disallowed. It appears that, on a prior play, the one goal post (among two holding the net) was slightly ajar. If this had been a National Hockey League Game, the goal would have been allowed. But, the Olympics operate in accordance with International Rules. So, it was not.
Once again, a rule difference, between the NHL and International rules helped the Americans. In the NHL, different players would participate in the shoot-out; however, International Rules allow each Coach to send whichever player(s) they wish–even several times. T. J. Oshe, who plays for the NHL St. Louis Blues, scored on four out of six attempts. Oshe’s opponent was Sergei Bobrovsky, who plays for the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets and last year was named the Best Goalie in the NHL. Even if you are not a hockey fan, you might find the linked article, from the NY Times, of interest: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/sports/olympics/us-defeats-russia-in-shootout.html.
Now, before and after today’s hockey game, the Media has been trying to create analogies to the “Miracle on Ice”, where the college kids from America beat the Soviet “Professionals”, in the semi-finals–and eventually went on to win Gold. None of the U. S. players today were alive during the 1980 Olympics, in Lake Placid, N. Y., and only two of the Russians.
But, at that time, the Olympics was supposedly an Amateur Sporting Event. So, as that time,the U. S. gathered kids from various colleges and nonprofessional hockey clubs, as did other countries But, the Soviet Union had a way around that ost important rule. The USSR recruited their very best hockey players and they lived, practiced and played together, as “The Red Army Team”. These Soviet “soldiers” were used to playing together, week-in, week out, unlike other countries that were merely young all-star teams, from all around their respective countries.
Beginning in 1986, however, the International Olympic Committee changed its rules to allow professional athletes to participate. Since then, athletes who normally compete in various professional leagues or may be paid for endorsements and exhibitions, can be members of a country’s Olympic Team. That’s why we can now watch the World’s Beast participate for their respective countries, if they so wish. Also, this enables great athletes to support themselves and prolong their playing careers.