Malkin would stand by the end boards. Ovechkin would race at him 100 mph and try to put him through the glass.
Not a single hit by Ovechkin was illegal, Mr. Starkey, including the one described as:
"Very dangerous hit," [Malkin's agent] Barry said. "Had (Ovechkin) actually (landed the blow), it would been a disciplinary-type hit."
Good imagination, Mr. Barry, but luckily we live at the times of YouTube, not the telegragh.
Anybody can see the hit on the video, no need for a verbal telegraph from a person who is paid by Malkin. Now not in a single hit Ovechkin had those extra steps that qualify as trying to injure the opponent. I watched Pens feed in the last game and one of the commentators tried to insinuate that, but after watching the review he said that he had to take it back, Ovechkin didn't do anything wrong. All Ovechkin hits are legit, no elbows, that Malkin likes to use, no boarding, like Malkin did on Semin who went into the boards head first, you can't blame Alex for that.
Back to Starkey's article:
One theory has it that something went awry in August of 2007 at a Moscow nightclub, where Ovechkin allegedly punched out Malkin's Russian agent, Gennady Ushakov.
Ovechkin has denied the story.
Two days ago, I asked Malkin -- who is no longer using a translator in interviews -- if Ovechkin punched Ushakov.
"Yes," he said. "Bad situation."
Might whatever have occurred that night be the reason for Ovechkin's obvious hostility?
"Maybe," Malkin said. "I don't know."
Malkin doesn't like finishing second. He answered passionately when asked if he longs to out-do Ovechkin.
"Yes, I want to," he said. "I try. I want to try to be better. Maybe this year I'll be better."
Ovechkin repeatedly has denied he has it out for Malkin, but at the aforementioned Awards Ceremony, he didn't exactly squelch the notion that more of the same was in store this season.
"You'll see," Ovechkin said.
Malkin's North American agent, J.P. Barry, has not been punched by Ovechkin.
Not yet, anyway.
Barry's version of the Moscow club story: "I'm not going to comment. There are all kinds of things I hear from Russia that I'm not able to verify."
Malkin, understandably, doesn't want to sound as if Ovechkin's targeting of him is bothersome.
"Ovechkin is a good strong guy, a physical guy," Malkin said. "I'm OK."
That almost was not the case Jan. 21 of last season at Mellon Arena, where Ovechkin took a maniacal run at Malkin and nearly blind-sided him into oblivion. Malkin dipped his shoulder at the last instant and sent Ovechkin careening into the boards.
"Very dangerous hit," Barry said. "Had (Ovechkin) actually (landed the blow), it would been a disciplinary-type hit."
Maybe a season-ender, too.
Obviously, in exploring the nature of this grudge, the questions far outnumber the answers.
Let's take on three of them:
1. Does this feud supersede the massively hyped Ovechkin-Sidney Crosby rivalry?
Absolutely. Now, whether it'll beat Alex Semin-versus-Crosby is another matter. Semin, the Capitals' other star Russian forward, ripped Crosby in a recent interview with Yahoo.com, essentially saying he is overrated.
2. Is such a high-profile feud good for the NHL?
To a point, sure. And you have to believe commissioner Gary Bettman craves a Capitals-Penguins playoff series. However, as Barry put it, "(The rivalry is) healthy for the league, but you hope it doesn't go over the edge." In other words, it wouldn't really help the league if one of its marquee stars were beheaded.
3. What's going to happen Jan. 14 at Mellon Arena, the next time the teams meet?
Should be mighty interesting - and if the NHL doesn't tell Ovechkin to cool it, the Penguins need to make it very clear, very early, that his behavior will no longer be tolerated.
Why not to ask Malkin to drop the gloves? I believe the writer is afraid it won't be in Malkin's favor. Come on, Malkin is a big boy, he is taller than Ovechkin, he had some fights in Russian Superleague. Let them settle it on their on way, no need for goons.
And by the way our goon will beat your goon, Mr. Starkey (maybe that's the reason why you didn't mention him).
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