Ok, so on this very blog earlier in the month I wrote that this Canada/Russia Super Series was a good thing:
Somehow none of our (the Rangers) Canadian kids made the team but that is alright, less of a chance for injury. For Cherry and Double-A its good as they will finally get some exposure that they weren't able to get playing in the Motherland.
Wow, I was right about part of that. Less of a chance for the Rangers' Canadian prospects to get hurt ... but the exposure that the Russian kids Cherry and Double-A have gotten has been absolutely horrid. Artem Ansimov and the rest of the Russians were outclassed from the drop of the puck. Not only have the Canadians showed more talent, but they have been hammering the Reds physically. Most notably, the newest Sutter almost killed Cherry with this hit:
As awesome of a check that was, the kid that got levelled was one of the Rangers prospects so I'm pissed! I don't know if its the needlessness of it all (this series is proving to be pointless) or the fact that Sutter lined him up from the blue line so he clearly intended to injure.
The move is being compared to when Bobby Clarke slashed Valeri Kharlamov back in the '70s version of this match-up. But Clarke's dirty play was an attempt to reignite his team and get them back in the series after the team (and all of Canada) was being embarrassed. When Sutter did it, Canada was already up a game and winning Game 2. Also, back then there was the Cold War and the 'danger' of the Soviet bloc; now it is just a exhibition tournament between high school kids.
While I don't think it deserved more than the two minute minor from the refs, the Canadians know that the proper retribution won't be coming as the Russians are soft. They will continue to pummel them, win all eight games and then what? There is no pride in being a bully and throwing the little kid into his locker. When Paul Henderson scored his goal and Canada won back in 72, at least it reassured the Canadians that hockey was 'their sport.' They beat the scary Commies who threatened their game and made them look stupid while doing it.
Thirty-five years later the globalization of the game has been accepted so there is nothing to gain for pulling out all the stops to win. Draft values won't raise and the upcoming season is now in jeopardy for at least Cherry and who knows how many other Russians by the end of the eight games. Is Canada's need for reassurance that they are still good at hockey worth the careers of top NHL prospects?
I don't think so. Congrats Canucks, you won four games, now its time to call it a day. They won't, of course, as the last four games will be in Canada and there is a ton of revenue to be had, but they need to either play a more responsible game or the Russians need to wrestle up some ice skating bears to beat the shit out of them.