So much for a potential U.S.-Russia showdown for the Olympic men’s hockey gold medal.
While Americans certainly are disappointed, it’s nothing compared to what the host country is experiencing.
Russia badly wanted to win on its own soil, but that dream ended with Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Finland in the quarterfinals.
No one wanted to win more than Russia coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, who questioned NHL star Alex Ovechkin for failing to deliver in these games.
“Players who score so many goals for their clubs, like Alex Ovechkin, who scored 40 goals for his club,” didn’t score, Bilyaletdinov said. “Right now, I cannot explain that.”
Good luck also explaining the coach’s postgame news conference, which was more entertaining than what happened on the ice.
This is the transcript from The Wall Street Journal:
Question: What future, if any, do you see for your own work and for your coaching staff? Because, you know, your predecessor was eaten alive after the Olympics.
Answer: Well, then, eat me alive right now.
Q: No, I mean …
A: Eat me, and I won’t be here anymore.
Q: But we have the world championship coming up!
A: Well, then, there will be a different coach because I won’t exist anymore, since you will have eaten me.
Q: But you’re staying, aren’t you?
A: Yes, I will remain living.
Any chance Bilyaletdinov can coach an NHL team? That might make the league worth watching. Might.
■ ENOUGH ALREADY — Bryce Harper is tired of the jokes.
The Las Vegan said he is fully recovered after injuring a knee after twice running into walls last season and is ready to move forward with the Washington Nationals.
Now he wants others to move on, too.
“Every single day I went into therapy, somebody said, ‘Hey, don’t run into a wall,’ ” Harper told The Washington Post. “Yeah, dummy, you don’t walk across the street when there’s cars coming.”
Harper had surgery on his left knee in November, then underwent rehabilitation. He jumped to 236 pounds after hitting the weights, the Post reported, but brought it down to 220 after biking around Las Vegas.
In telling the Post he is in a great place physically, Harper also hoped the issue of running into walls was behind him.
“Babe Ruth ran into the wall in D.C. in 1920-something and knocked himself out, so I’m in pretty damn good company right there,” Harper said. “He had a good career.”
■ MAKING HIS PITCH — At 40 years old and coming off a season in which he threw just 4 2/3 innings, Tim Byrdak knows his major league days might be over.
He would like one last shot, however, and took to Twitter in hopes of finding a team.
The left-hander posted a photo of a handwritten note to general managers that read, in part: “Doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of newer models. (i.e. 97 mph) however I can still break a pane of glass with my fastball!”
He also noted he was “driving my wife crazy being home during Spring Training.”
Byrdak still hasn’t received an invitation to spring training, but at least he has a good sense of humor. Baseball could use more of that.
COMPILED BY MARK ANDERSON LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL