this week: that was disgusting + don’t let russia down, guys!

“Go Riders!!!” tweeted Toronto’s Saskatchewan-born centre Tyler Bozek.

“State without church is like a ship without compass,” Russian hockey legend Vladislav Tretiak was saying recently. He’s president of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and in a solemn ceremony the Russian Orthodox Church had seen fit to honour him with the Order of Saint Dmitry Donskoy (second degree) for (quote) his merits in bringing up the young generation.

Tretiak and his old teammate Vitaly Davydov were a couple of Soviet-era players who signed their name to a joint statement urging Russia’s team not to fail at the upcoming Sochi Olympics that get underway February 7.

“The whole country will be cheering and fearing for you,” they wrote. “In our time, we did everything for victory, we brought glory to the USSR, our people and our sport. Don’t let Russia down, guys! We are behind you and we are with you!”

Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh’s Tribune-Gazette was talking to Teemu Selanne this week and that’s when the venerable Anaheim winger said this: “The Penguins have always done things the right way, and have always played the game the right way. Beautiful hockey.”

A fellow Finn, Penguins’ defenseman Olli Maatta, was looking forward to playing against Selanne. “Everybody grew up in Finland admiring him,” Maatta said. “He’s one of our most famous people ever. It’s cool for me.”

“We want more puck possession time,” said the Leafs’ coach, Randy Carlyle this week. “We’re not shooting the puck enough,” was what his boss, GM Dave Nonis, was thinking.

On Twitter, Don Cherry wrote a sort of a poem, sort of:

What a great feeling for Vigneault
to go into Montreal
and beat the Canadiens 1-0.
But nothing
compared to
Cam Talbot.

I understand the puck
went into the stands
on the last play.

At least
he got
a frozen one
from the
penalty box.

Cam said
“it would have meant the world
in any building,
but it’s Saturday night
in Canada.”

I tell ya,
Saturday night
in Montreal
doesn’t get
any better.

How many times do we hear
the players say how great it is
to come to Canada
and play on Hockey Night in Canada
on a Saturday night.

Phil Kessel scored two of Toronto’s goals when they beat the New York Islanders this week and when it was all over, Chris Johnston from Sportsnet asked him about the tape on his right wrist. “I don’t really want to talk about it,” Kessel told him.

The coach of Russia’s Olympic hockey team returned home from a scouting trip to North America this week. He said he was impressed by the (a) attitude and (b) fitness of his country’s NHL players.

“Overall, I’m satisfied with what I’ve seen, the guys’ desire, motivation, physical condition with three months to go until the Olympics,” Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said. “I’ve managed to talk things through with all of the guys, have a chat.”

Edmonton bamboozled Columbus 7-0 on Tuesday. “We played the right way,” said the Oilers’ David Perron.

Nail Yakupov: “We felt pretty comfortable out there.”

“I’m just really, really disappointed,” Blue Jackets’ coach Todd Richards moped.

“That was disgusting,” Nick Foligno said, Columbus forward. Also: “It is on everybody in this room, it is embarrassing” and “This is the lowest of lows.”

Defenceman Jack Johnson called it “a shit show.”

“It is surprising,” Richards continued. “We don’t know who we are or who we want to be.”

“We sucked,” John Tortorella felt — except for, no, sorry, that was referring to his team, Vancouver, after the Canucks fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Florida Panthers. “It was easily our worst game of the year.”

The Canucks’ David Booth missed that game, scratched for not having played so well after returning from a run of injuries to knee and ankle and groin.

“No one holds me to a higher expectation than myself,” Booth told The Vancouver Sun. “To whom much is given, much is required, and that’s a biblical principle and one that’s always stuck with me. I understand that I’ve been given much and obviously much is expected. I know that I could be better. I know that I have to score.”

In Edmonton, as the Oilers welcomed Ilya Bryzgalov to the team, there was talk of the goalie’s eccentricity. Jim Matheson from The Edmonton Journal:

On game days, he doesn’t want to talk about hockey. But if you have questions about, say, Toronto mayor Rob Ford, he’s probably your man. He doesn’t plan on changing who he is, although he seems more careful with his answers.

Does he feel he has to change anything off the ice?

“What do you mean. The way I go to restaurants?” he said.

Tweeted Kevin Allen from USA Today: “Chris Chelios just said on live TV that I’m writing his as-told-to book so I guess it’s OK for me to say it as well.”

Fans in Winnipeg, some of them, encouraged some others, many of them, to wear hockey helmets, this week, if they were attending the Jets’ game with the Chicago Blackhawks at the MTS Centre. Launched by a local radio station, the idea, of course, was to commemorate and/or make light of an incident in Chicago on November 6, when a well-saturated fan there saw a chance to seize Winnipeg defenceman Adam Pardy’s helmet and took them both.

Nyuh-uh, said the Jets. Not long after the idea was floated, Winnipeg’s owner Mark Chipman announced that no such mockery would be permitted to sully Winnipeg’s name. “This is about professionalism and respect for our great game and for the NHL,” he said in a statement noting that “such headgear” was banned. “These are principles we attempt to follow in all aspects of how we play and present the game of hockey.”

Pardy thought it was probably the right thing to do: “I think it maybe could have gotten out of hand,” he mentioned to The Chicago Tribune. “It’s a funny situation. It’s just hockey, you get fired up. A moment there where something happens like that a little crazy I’m sure it will be a good highlight for a long time but put it to rest and move on.”

Philadelphia played better. They’d begun the season badly, as you might recall, losing a lot, setting free their coach, Peter Laviolette. “It’s embarrassing to have your coach fired after three games,” a forward on the team said, Matt Read. “It’s not his fault. It’s the players’ fault.”

How did the team turn it around? At Yahoo! Sports, Greg Wyshinski looked to the revival of Claude Giroux and the team’s new 1-2-2 forecheck. That’s helped their happiness, apparently, according to Vinny Lecavalier: “We’re working hard but we’re smiling,” he said.

USA Today pointed to the play of goalie, Steve Mason, whose teammates understand that they’re not to speak to him unless he speaks to them. “That’s how it is with goalies,” said Lecavalier. “You encourage them. You give them the tap on the pads. If he asks you a question, you answer, but if not, you leave them in their bubbles.”

Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk stayed home today, though his team travelled to Buffalo. Playing at home last night, Datsyuk suffered an elbow to the head from Ottawa’s Jared Cowan. No penalty was called. “He was not feeling right,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. “We’re going through concussion protocol. We’ll see how it goes, see how he feels on Tuesday.

“This isn’t a black-and-white injury.”