Detroit hockey fans are having a treat tonight -- Ovechkin is in town. Someone at the mlive hockey forum was asking if Ovechkin would play
"he took a high stick last night and i dont think returned to the game...anyone know his status for tomorrow?"
He was told that Ovechkin was ok. Another fan said
"Hopefully he plays. The kids is an amazing talent and a treat to watch even if he is going against us."
From mlive.com, Dec. 17
He's scored more goals than any player in the league over the last three seasons (121), one more than Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Ottawa's Dany Heatley. He's the NHL's leader in power-play goals (10) and shots on goal (190) and is tied with Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg for second in the league in goals (23), behind Kovalchuk (26).
Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek, during his lone season in Ottawa, faced Ovechkin a few times in 2005-06.
"He has, if not the best, then one of the best shots in the NHL.
From Detroit News, Dec. 17
Pavel Datsyuk calls Alexander Ovechkin the new generation of Russian player.
When most fans think of Russian players, there's a vision of Igor Larionov or Sergei Fedorov, someone of that ilk, with fluid skating and a creative flair. They're skillful, with a great vision of the ice.
Ovechkin, who makes his first appearance at Joe Louis Arena tonight, blows that image to pieces.
"He's strong, big, goes to the net and loves to shoot," said Datsyuk, who has played with the Capitals star on a Russian Elite League team during the lockout, along with several national tournament teams.
"He's a little different (from previous Russian players). He's new generation. He loves to shoot, he loves to score. Every time out there (on the ice), he has fun."
And don't for a minute think Ovechkin doesn't have that creative flair or dynamic skating ability, either. He has all the old-school Russian attributes with a new-wave edge.
"An exciting player," Datsyuk said.
The fact Ovechkin likes to dish out hits, and relishes taking them, comes partly from his father. Early in his playing career Ovechkin said his father made sure to say scoring wasn't enough for any player.
"I like playing the physical game," Ovechkin said. "When I was younger, my father said you have to give hits. I enjoying playing that way. When a player hits me, I just smile (and go on)."
As much as the fans dislike the current schedule, what with opposite-conference teams visiting once every three years, players such as Ovechkin don't care much for it either.
Granted, when Ovechkin thinks of Detroit, his first instinct turns to rapper Eminem, but the hockey is special, too.
"I like playing in Detroit, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton because they're good teams and good cities to play in," Ovechkin said. "I know this is Hockeytown."
Ovechkin was looking forward to facing Datsyuk, as well as elite defensemen such as Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski.
"Whenever you play against players like that, or great teams, it's a challenge you want," Ovechkin said.
From Detroit Free Press, Dec. 17
"He's extremely fast, extremely strong," Rafalski said. "He hits harder than most people expect. He'll go in there and hit in the corners. ...
Colin White was always, 'Man, that guy hit hard.'
He has a lot of different tools -- he shoots the puck extremely well. You've got to watch for him. He's an explosive player."
Ovechkin, who debuted with the Capitals at the start of the 2005-06 season after they selected him with the first overall pick in the 2004 draft, is big, fast and creative. He leads his club with 23 goals, 10 power-play goals, 38 points, 190 shots, a plus-five rating and 87 hits.
"He's always a threat. Even if it's a one-on-two, you've got to be careful, because he's not going to dump it in, he's going to make some quick plays," said Wings goaltender Chris Osgood. "He's a tough guy. He plays hard. He'll go through checks to get scoring opportunities. His shot is unbelievable."
Wings goalie Dominik Hasek was with the Ottawa Senators when Ovechkin struck fear into opponents as a rookie.
"I would say he's very special player," Hasek said. "He's a typical goal-scorer. He has, if not the best, one of the best shots in the NHL, for sure. Him and (Sidney) Crosby are the best young players right now in the NHL, for sure."
It will primarily be up to Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom to try to contain Ovechkin.
"He's good at anticipating plays and jumping ahead," Lidstrom said. "He's real strong, too, a big boy and strong on his feet. He finishes his checks. He's very tough to defend with his speed, and he's got a good shot, too. He's so quick, and he's not afraid to cut in and go to the net, either."
Update Dec. 18
From Detroit News, Dec. 18
Ovechkin didn't disappoint in his first Joe Louis Arena appearance with a goal and five shots on goal in 26:08 of ice time.
"He loves hockey and that's a fantastic thing," Babcock said. "It's always great when superstars love the game because to me, that's contagious -- the enthusiasm -- and people like to watch people who love (playing) hockey. It reminds me of Pavel (Datsyuk) in that way. There's a stigma, a little bit that Russian guys don't (love the game). Yet, both of them have a riot playing the game."
From Macomb Daily
Alexander the Great
Dominik Hasek and Chris Chelios could be considered the old guard in the NHL. Alex Ovechkin is one of the fresh faces.
"(Ovechkin), Sidney Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin are the future of the NHL," Hasek said. "The way (Ovechkin) scores goals, he's such an exciting player. You see him on the highlights."
Ovechkin beat Hasek on a wrist shot in the first period.
"The league is about the stars," Hasek said. "That's what people pay the money to go see. Big stars score the goals and big goalies make the saves. The stars are great for the NHL.
"This reminds me of when I came to the NHL, people talking about me being a future star," Hasek added. "Now the people talk about these guys. It's all part of life, one star is ending a career while another is just starting."
From Detroit Free Press
While superstar Alexander Ovechkin garnered much of the attention during Monday's 4-3 shoot-out victory over Washington at Joe Louis Arena, a handful of Red Wings were just as intrigued to see Capitals rookie Nicklas Backstrom.
Backstrom is a compatriot of the Wings' seven Swedes, several of whom have played with him on the national team and have kept an eye on his career in the NHL.
Backstrom played on a line with Ovechkin (who had a goal) and Matt Pettinger on Monday, logging 23:10 minutes of ice time and finishing with a minus-one rating. Henrik Zetterberg was on the ice for much of the night against Backstrom and Ovechkin.
"They have a real good future, both of them," Zetterberg said after the game. "They're playing really good and are really mature for their ages. They're going to be big stars in this league for a long time."
In Sweden, Backstrom, 20, is considered the second coming of Zetterberg and Peter Forsberg. Zetterberg played with Backstrom at the 2006 world championships and also knows him because their hometowns are within a half-hour of each other.
"We've spent some time in the summers together," Zetterberg said. "And we've got the same agent, so I know him pretty good. He's a really skilled, all-around player, really takes pride in working both ends. Last year in Sweden, he really became a big star there. I think, maybe, he is still a little weak, but he is still young, so when he will get some muscles on him, he will be a real good player.
"He has to become more selfish. Right now, he is a big passer, and if he plays with Ovechkin, that's maybe good. But he's got to think a little bit more selfish, I think, and go more straight to the net. But it's still his first season, and he'll get better as the year goes on."