The World Juniors…I said to someone yesterday that the Russians play hard for exactly 5 minutes. Well change that to about 3:26 minutes. You see, it is a holdover from the Days of the CCCP. It was a calculated maneuver that they actually train for. Everyone in Hockey knows that the best way to play the Russians is to get a big lead and try to keep going. Physiologically the Russians always can keep up with any team but they are toying with us. It is a form of roulette, Russian, if you will, that they play with the score and for 5 minutes a game they bust it out. It is akin to cycling, where people wait to the end of the race and burst past the other cyclists after “drafting” for the whole race. They pace themselves for the whole tournament and plan on a five minute sprint in the final game. That is why Canadian Hockey since the 70’s has shifted from 3 minute shifts to 32 second shifts. It is physiologically impossible to keep up with a team that plays that way. The increase in speed for those 5 minutes means they get to every puck and eventually score in bunches.It happened in Buffalo, it almost happened last night. This isn’t about skill…they are all skilled. It isn’t about style of play…it is another level. It is strategic, purposeful and it won’t be the last time it happens. It is the logical extension of a country that spent 70 years developing science around sport and all that that entails. Good or bad they can stay with any team for all of the other 55 minutes of a game as well. They are that good. But last night we won and that is good too.
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