According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the referees were wrong when it comes to one of the most controversial calls of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
For the uninitiated, the United States and Russia were locked 2-2 during the third period of Saturday's crucial Group A men's ice hockey contest. Russian defenseman Fedor Tyutin appeared to put the host country ahead with a slapshot that flew into the back of the net, but referees ruled the net had come loose from the ice and waved off the goal.
The game eventually went to a shootout, where the Americans won behind the heroics of T.J. Oshie.
Just how important was the disallowed goal, which sparked massive protest from Russian supporters? Business Insider's Cork Gaines provides a look at its impact in terms of the bracket for the medal round:
Clearly, this is a big deal, and everyone has an opinion of what the call should have been. Even Putin, via Ria Novosti:
Even referees sometimes make mistakes. Here I wouldn't tar anybody with any brush, but I thought that we would win by a big margin.
You and I shouldn't forget that sport isn't only about skill, but also about the athletes' courage and even a good slice of luck.
Translation: It was a mistake by the referees.
Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk, however, was satisfied with the ultimate decision, saying "it is common sense. There are rules and everyone has to follow them."
No matter how you might feel, the controversy is now in the past, and the only place to look is forward.
Russia faces last-place Norway on Tuesday, and if it wins that game, it meets fourth-place Finland in the quarterfinals as part of what would be a rough back-to-back stretch on consecutive days. The United States, meanwhile, gets the winner of Slovakia and Czech Republic on Wednesday, with an epic battle with Canada almost assuredly waiting in the semifinals.
No matter what happens and who wins, though, there is one thing every fan from every nation will agree on: Hopefully the referees' judgement calls have no influence on what teams are standing on the podium this weekend. This is perhaps the most highly anticipated event of the Sochi Games, and with so much talent battling for Olympic medals, the remaining action promises to be as good as expected.
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