On Wednesday, the Czech Republic survived a quarterfinal showdown from the United States and advanced through a shootout in which Petr Koukal was the player to score to allow his team to advance to the semifinal. Against the Olympic Athletes from Russia.
They were merciless in their quarterfinal game after suffering a surprising defeat in their opener this year. The Russians have outscored their opponents 18-3 since, including a 6-1 victory over Norway en route to face Czech Republic.
It has been a while since we have seen the Czech Republic or the Olympic Athletes from Russia at the top of the Olympic hockey podium. The Czechs have one medal to their name since the 1998 triumph led by Domink Hasek and Jaromir Jagr.
As for Russia - or now the Olympic Athletes from Russia - their best finish came in Nagano, Japan, when it lost to the Czechs in the gold-medal game since the Soviet Union was disbanded. Russian athletes have one gold since 1992, but that came as part of the Unified Team in 1992... So a new chapter could be written in the coming days.
However, before we move on to that important chapter, there is a weird side note to be added to their thrilling semifinal story. Before the game, which is scheduled for Friday, Kontinental Hockey League and European hockey insider Aivis Kalniņš reported a strange interaction between the two opponents.
It has been revealed from "reports out of South Korea stating that Team Russia tried to bribe Czech Republic so they could wear red jerseys for tomorrow's game. The bribe that was offered is said to value around 100 euros."
This is completely absurd, especially that two teams can agree, after a discussion - no bribes mentioned - that they can decide on jersey colours ahead of the game. Kalniņš notes that according to the rules, Czech Republic is expected to wear red, but if both sides would agree a potential jersey switch, it would be permitted.
So why bribe them! Especially with just 100 euros - come on! We will see tomorrow which team will indeed wear the red jerseys as the Czechs could be on their way to their first gold-medal game since 1998.
But the Russians have found the back of the net on 20 occasions - and maybe red is their lucky colour. However, this bride idea is quite ridiculous, if you ask us.