Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Dismal day for host country Russia

Whether the event was ice skating, hockey or bobsleigh, Russian fans didn't have too much to smile about at the Winter Olympics on Wednesday.

PT1M25S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-332i0 620 349

The last thing you want to be in Sochi right now is a stray dog or a Russian ice hockey player.

At least Olympians and volunteers are adopting stray puppies to avoid the “biological trash”, as Russian authorities call them, from being slaughtered.

Down and out: Russia forward Yevgeni Malkin lies on the ice in the closing minutes of the match.

Down and out: Russia forward Yevgeni Malkin lies on the ice in the closing minutes of the match. Photo: AP

Russian players are feeling less important than stray dogs after their 3-1 loss to Finland in the quarter-finals sent the nation into collective mourning.

The coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov already knows his fate.

"Well, eat me now,” he said. “You'll eat me and I'll be gone. I'll keep living."

In the doghouse: Zinetula Bilyaletdinov

In the doghouse: Zinetula Bilyaletdinov Photo: Reuters

Keep living? There’s always an upside.

Alex Ovechkin, who had been prepared to risk his $127 million contract with the Washington Capitals if he wasn’t released for his home Olympics said, “It sucks, what can I say? No emotions right now.”

Russian teams have won eight gold medals in hockey but none in the last 22 years, despite having a team on paper worthy of gold.

They were beaten 7-3 by Canada in Vancouver four years ago, and now the nightmare has happened again.

The Bolshoy Ice Dome is the most impressive stadium in Sochi, and it was built with the image in mind of Russian president Vladmir Putin watching on as his country reaffirmed its return to hockey dominance.

A photo of the distraught president, with hand on head, sitting next to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, pinged around Twitter within minutes of the defeat as if to rub it in. But it was taken during their earlier shootout win over Slovakia.

Having suited up for a practice session with the national side in the lead-up to the games, there was no gold medal Vladmir Putin coveted more than this one.

It had started well enough for the Russians, although the over-the-top celebration from Ilya Kovalchuk when he scored the opening goal in the first period exposed the pressure he and his teammates were under.

Indeed, that goal almost blew the roof off the dome.

The Russian flags in the crowd highlighted the region of the country where spectators come from.

One of the larger flags simply read, "RUSSIA. VICTORY. VOLGOGRAD”. It was a reference to the two suicide bombings in December in the beautiful, ancient city that heightened security fears leading into these games.

As the match turned against them, and the Finnish took the ascendancy with their 43-year-old legend “Finnish Flash” Teemu Selanne scoring his 22ndOlympic goal, the partisan crowd turned against their own.

They loudly whistled and jeered after full-time, as the players gathered in the middle of the ice for the customary shaking of hands.

Nobody seemed to take it well.

“Dear friends, life has not come to an end. But this is a severe and annoying defeat,” the commentator on state television Channel One said. “We are all crying and we are crying with you too. We are hoping for revenge. Maybe one day there will be revenge. But maybe not with this team.”

Only a few of the ashen-faced players seemed willing or able to talk afterwards.

"I just feel empty, disappointed and empty inside,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovski said. “It's hard to say whether this is a maximal or minimal failure. Failure is failure. How can you measure it? It is hard to say something now, it's just emptiness."

The fans could talk, though, and this remark captured how Russia is feeling right now, with just a handful of medals still to be won at Sochi.