What's buzzing:

Puck Daddy

Team USA humiliated in bronze medal game, shut out by Finland

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

Getty Images

SOCHI, Russia – Many wondered what Team USA would have left in Saturday’s bronze medal game against Finland, after being humbled by arch rival Canada in the Sochi Olympic men’s hockey semifinal on the previous night.

Nothing. They had nothing left.

No goals. No defense, outside of a frequently abandoned Jonathan Quick keeping them in the game early. No heart. No pride to leave Sochi with a medal after falling short of gold.

[Dan Wetzel: U.S. continues to be haunted by Canada and ghosts of hockey miracles past ]

Performances ranged from underwhelming to putrid. Patrick Kane skated hard, but failed to convert two penalty shots and took two bad penalties. Ryan Suter, the team’s top defenseman, was victimized on two goals. Phil Kessel, their most dynamic offensive player in the tournament, didn’t have a shot on goal.

Dan Bylsma’s team led the Olympics with 20 goals in their first four games. They didn’t score one in their final two, with medals on the line.

They came for gold; they left with shame.

Their lack of effort and cohesion was apparent from the early stages of the game.

Finland nearly scored in the first period with a flurry of five chances on Jonathan Quick – the best one, from Olli Jokinen, hit Ryan Kesler in the chest as he slid over and protected an open net.

At 13:40 of the first, Kane had his first penalty shot attempt. Finnish defenseman Kimmo Timonen pushed a broken stick blade at Kesler as he carried the puck, giving the U.S. the penalty shot. IIHF rules dictate that a player on the ice had to take it; Kane was given the opportunity.

Kane skated in, had Rask beaten but couldn’t tuck the puck between the goalie and the post, keeping the game scoreless.

Finland broke through just 2:37 into the second period thanks to their leading scorers, Teemu Selanne and Mikael Granlund.

Ryan Suter had the puck in the neutral zone when his pocket was picked by Granlund. He sent the puck to Selanne, who took a wide approach on the wing. Ryan McDonagh gave him a shooting lane, and his backhander beat Jonathan Quick for the 1-0 lead.

Finland struck again 11 seconds later, with Suter again victimized. Within an instant of the faceoff, Jori Lehtra had a 2-on-1 down low in the U.S. zone. Suter couldn’t defend the pass to Jussi Jokinen nor the ensuing shot on Quick. Jokinen buried it and the Americans, putting them in a two-goal hole.

Kane earned his second penalty shot at 6:24 of the second period as a slash by Leo Komarov broke his stick on a breakaway.

Again, Kane had Rask beaten. Again, he couldn’t convert, as the puck clanged off the top right corner of the goal cage.

The deflected puck flew back toward Kane, who is 1-for-11 on the season in the shootout for the Blackhawks. He caught it with this glove and disgustingly tossed it away.

It was 2-0 after two periods. Suter’s ice time was cut by around 4-and-a-half minutes from one period to the next.

It would only get worse in the third period. With Kane in the box after tripping Olli Jokinen, Jusso Hietanen blasted a shot from the point that went through a leaping screen by Komarov and behind Quick for the 3-0 lead just 6:10 into the period

Nearly three minutes later, it was Selanne again, with T.J. Oshie in the penalty box for interference. Four American defenders left one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of hockey alone in front of Quick. He converted his second goal of the game for the 4-0 lead.

It was 5-0 on another power play, as Lehtera passed the puck to a wide-open Olli Maatta on the wing. He buried it against a helpless Quick.

Tuukka Rask made 27 saves for the shutout, after missing his team’s semifinal loss to Sweden with the flu.

He felt healthy enough to play. It was the Americans’ effort that was sickening.

View Comments (261)
  • Sharks win seventh straight in Vancouver

    Sharks win seventh straight in Vancouver

    Matt Nieto and the San Jose Sharks are finding their stride in a tangled playoff race. Nieto had two goals and an assist to lead the Sharks to a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. Chris Tierney, Melker Karlsson, Logan Couture … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 23 minutes ago
  • Your Top Plays for Today

    Your Top Plays for Today

    Your Top Plays for Today: AP's Sports Guide … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 33 minutes ago
  • Ducks win as Coyotes' slide reaches 10

    Ducks win as Coyotes' slide reaches 10

    Ryan Kesler stole the puck, skated in while he was being held by a defender, and scored while short-handed. Jakob Silfverberg later grabbed his own rebound off the post with his hand, dropped it to his stick, and scored in the Ducks' 4-1 victory … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 48 minutes ago
  • Sharks keeping pace in tight Pacific with 6-2 win over Canucks 6-2

    Sharks keeping pace in tight Pacific with 6-2 win over Canucks 6-2

    Matt Nieto and the San Jose Sharks are finding their stride just when they need to most. Nieto had two goals and an assist as the Sharks won their second straight, 6-2 over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, to keep pace in the tight Pacific … More »

    The Canadian Press - 1 hour 49 minutes ago
  • Kings end slide with 5-2 win over Oilers

    Kings end slide with 5-2 win over Oilers

    Eager to get back on track, the Los Angeles Kings did exactly that Tuesday night against one of their favorite opponents. Anze Kopitar and Trevor Lewis each had a goal and two assists for the Kings in a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Matt … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 49 minutes ago