Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/20/14
The news put a damper on Ilya Bryzgalov’s day. When Jesse Joensuu heard the same news, it snapped him out of a 12-day funk. The Edmonton Oilers’ Olympic break is over, but like so many sports fans around the world, the Oilers went back to work on Wednesday fixated on the Games in Sochi. Much of the chatter for the day centred on Team Canada’s narrow 2-1 win over Latvia, but for the Russian Bryzgalov and the Finnish Joensuu, their focus was on their own nations. Finland topped Russia 3-1 in the men’s hockey quarterfinal, knocking the host Russians out of the tournament. “While I was in Finland we were struggling really bad on medals in skiing and I was depressed a couple of days there when Sweden was winning and we were not getting anything,” Joensuu said. “And (on Wednesday) when I woke up I’d heard that Finland had beaten Russia and that we got gold and silver from skiing. So I guess I was the bad luck.” “When I turned the TV on, I saw the scoreboard (said) 3-1. I was…maybe not surprised,” Bryzgalov said. “I expect a little different result because obviously I want Team Russia to win, but Finland is a great team too, very disciplined. Team Russia always has a tough time to play against them and unfortunately for our team we can’t continue to compete in these Olympic Games.” While it’s easy for Canadians to fall into their own hockey-centric vortex in these Games, the early-morning tilt that preceded Canada’s win meant a lot to both nations playing. “You can’t say enough,” Jonesuu said of the significance of the win over Russia. “I read in the paper, between 1.8 and 2.2 million people had watched the game against Canada and that’s 40 per cent of the population of Finland. “It’s obviously a huge thing to beat Russia, who is a powerful country in hockey and we’re just a little country, but it’s a proud moment for us. We take pride in hockey and this is great.”
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