Putin has sad face as Russian hockey players shake off loss to US

The Russians are already looking forward to their next game. 

Mark Humphrey/AP

While US fans could scarcely contain their excitement, the Russian air was heavy with disappointment when the home team lost to the US 3-2 in a thrilling shootout at the Bolshoy on Saturday. 

And while fans on each side seemed to live and die by every goal made and missed, the Russian hockey players themselves did not seem too torn up by the game’s result. 

"It was a good game … the best game we played so far," said Evgeni Malkin. "We showed great hockey." 

"The US team is a good team," said forward Pavel Datsyuk. "I think our team played great tonight, but our result was not good."

The US and the Russians were tied 2-2 at the end of regulation play, and then the Americans went on to win the game in a nail-biting eight-round shootout. 

President Vladimir Putin said: "Sport is sport. I think our team played very worthily. It seemed to me they were a class higher — a little bit higher."

"Both teams showed good character but unfortunately someone has to win and someone has to lose," said Alexander Ovechkin. "We had a chance to win, but they did a great job on the penalty shootout."

"Of course, it’s disappointing when the same person scores four goals on you," said goalie Sergei Bobrovski. "But what can you do? Today he won. Tomorrow will be a new day." 

Indeed, the Russian players were already looking to the games ahead. 

"Nothing terrible has happened," said forward Ilya Kovalchuk. "It’s only a preliminary game. Everything will be decided in the semifinal and final." 

"It’s one game," echoed Datsyuk. "We need to play at the same level every time and we’ll be okay."  

Russian president Vladimir Putin, who himself was cheering for the home team at the Bolshoy, also put in his two cents.

"In my view the class of [the Russian team] is a bit higher," he was reported as saying on a Kremlin official website. "The key games are ahead so let’s wish them success."