Former Russian team goalie Ilya Bryzgalov remembers Canadians in 2010 as big, mean, scary

Ilya Bryzgalov had a good seat for Canada's dismantling in 2010. Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

TORONTO -- It was one of the most lopsided Olympic hockey performances ever in game that was expected to be extremely tight.

In 2010, Team Canada scored four first-period goals on rival Russia in a message-sending and soul-crushing onslaught of hockey. The Canadians finished with a 7-3 win in the quarterfinals of those Winter Olympics and haven't lost a best-on-best hockey game since.

After the game, the opposing player with the best view of the dominant start and later the victim when he came on to finish the game, Russian goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, worked his way through the hallway past reporters to the Russian dressing room. He was the backup on the bench as Evgeni Nabokov got lit up early, and it was a performance unlike any he saw.

When asked what it was like to witness that moment, he described with a one of the most memorable quotes of those memorable games.

"They came out like gorillas out of a cage," he said.

When reached at home in Philadelphia Friday, he remembered the game and the quote quite well.

"They came on the ice, they were ready. They were prepared. They came to win. They outplay us, they were better than us in every aspect of the game," Bryzgalov said. "Big picture. Small picture, total domination by Canada."

And then he offered up a revised version of the gorilla comparison. In his memory, that group of Canadian hockey players in that moment has gotten even nastier.

"Not gorillas," he said. "More like Orcs from 'The Hobbit.' You watch that movie, right? Big. Mean. Scary."

When Bryzgalov's former teammates on Team Russia face off against Canada in a rematch during the World Cup semifinals (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2), he sees a much more even match.

He said goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will need to stand on his head to beat Canada but felt like the Russian forwards compare well to the Canadian forwards.

"I think it's going to be a very interesting game," he said. "Who is going to win, I cannot tell you that. Both teams can win. Canadians probably have more chance than Russia. That's why we love the game -- luck, miracle -- all could be involved in the game."

Two world power hockey programs with a lot of pride have had wildly different levels of success since that 2010 Olympic game. Canada has skyrocketed into a stratosphere where they almost seem unbeatable. Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin and the Russians are still looking for their signature win. Too often, like the 2010 blowout and the T.J. Oshie shootout game against the Americans in Sochi, they're on the wrong side of somebody else's memorable moment.

"All these big events, we have good roster, good players," Bryzgalov said. "We come out and do stupid stuff and sometimes it costs us."

If there's a major edge in this game, Bryzgalov said, it's behind the bench. Canada has been on another level since Mike Babcock was named head coach of the national team.

"Canadian coaching much, much better than coaching in Team Russia," Bryzgalov said. "They're not in the same league."