9:11am

Sat February 15, 2014
Sports

U.S. Men's Hockey Team Triumphs Over Russia In Shootout Ending

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 10:13 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. and Russian hockey teams played into overtime and beyond at Winter Olympic in Sochi today. NPR's Robert Smith was in the Bolshoi Ice Dome and joins us now. Robert, thanks for being with us.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Oh, my pleasure.

SIMON: Boy, what a lucky guy you were to see this. Now, get away from the radio if you don't want to hear the score. We might drop it. This is a game that lived up to the hype.

SMITH: Yeah. I should take out my earplugs here because it was so loud in this dome. It was filled with Russian fans. They were all waving the red, blue and white. And I'm not talking about the American flag here. It was everywhere. They had cheerleaders. Vladimir Putin was in the stands right above me. That's the kind of pressure that was on the Russian team. And it was an incredibly physical, tense match the entire time. The first period was 0-0. After the second period it was 1-1. After the third period it was 2-2. This is the kind of stressful game that went into overtime.

SIMON: And the last minute...

SMITH: And...

SIMON: Yeah, yeah.

SMITH: Yeah. And then it was...

SIMON: By the way, I am among those, Robert, that thinks ending a great game with overtime is like ending a great with a bunch of random letters. But go ahead, 'cause I gather it was a little better than that.

(LAUGHTER)

SMITH: Well, they went into overtime. They were still tied, and then they went into a shootout. So, three shots, still tied. Fourth shot, tied. Fifth shot, tied. Sixth shot, tied. Seventh shot, tied. I mean people are weeping in the stands. Eighth shot...

SIMON: Ahhhhh.

SMITH: The Russian misses, the Russian misses, and American T.J. Oshie nails it in. That guy shot six times, sunk four of them. He is the hero of the game, T.J. Oshie for TeamUSA.

SIMON: Ah, it's terrific. I intend to watch it. And still, the mystery will be hanging in my mind, even now that I know the score, thanks to you. Well, I've been following...

SMITH: I think you should watch it. I think you should watch it because it's great to watch a really physical game, and there is just some acrobatics there as these guys hit into each other. It was so stressful for these guys, and there was so much pressure on both teams. And it's great to see them sort of get better as the game goes along. And that's what the Olympics is all about because of course they haven't really played together. They just get better and better.

SIMON: And they're both still in the tournament, they're going to on. This wasn't an elimination round.

SMITH: This was not an elimination round, and they will probably meet again, depending on how the rest of the games go. But, yeah, the teams that go through the beginning here with the best combined scores end up - win the most games, end up going to the quarter-finals, semi-finals. That kind of thing.

SIMON: Let me ask you about the U.S. speedskaters because they think that they're performance costumes, the new ones designed by Under Armour, have been a drag, man. So they got permission to go back to their old ones because they haven't been winning much of anything. Any indication it will work?

SMITH: Well, you know, it's funny because we don't know if there's actually a problem with the suits. But speedskaters tell us that that doesn't matter. If you're, as a speedskater, believing that your suit is making you slower, then it's probably making you slower. It's probably like a placebo suit. So they went back to their old uniforms, which they had great success in during the World Cups, and they went back to it and they raced today. It was the 1500-meter race for the men, in their old suits, their throwback uniform. They went out there and...

SIMON: Yeah, yeah, yeah, and?

SMITH: They did not medal.

(LAUGHTER)

SMITH: It was not the suits. It was not the suits. Shani Davis took 11th, Brian Hansen was in 7th. It must be something else. Maybe it's the ice.

SIMON: Yeah. All right. That'll be the next one. It's the warm weather outside. NPR's Robert Smith in Sochi. Thanks.

SMITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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