Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Joe Beninati said during the broadcast AO's grandfather passed away this past weekend. Quite possible (and certainly understandable) that was weighing on his mind. Agreed he didn't quite look himself tonight.
True or false?
Update: Seems like true, same comments at Caps forum... R.I.P...
No wonder why it was not his best game tonight...
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Caps 4, Sabres 2.
Thomas Vanek didn't score and he and Ovechkin will finish the year of 2008 sharing a second place in the NHL in goals scored.
Alex got -1, total ice time 21:35, second after Green(24:10), average shift was 01:04, and 1 hit (?).
Not the best game by Ovie, but not the worst either. The highlight for Ovechkin was a breakaway where he tried to solve Miller shooting in 5-hole between the pads. Miller is too good for that, need to go up on him. Speaking of the goalies, Theodore was solid, I'd say, rock solid, though he let two goals in.
Overall, congrats to Caps to finally beat Sabres at their home and finish the year on a good note. And again, the quote from the coach:
"We have to exercise our demons in this building. We have lost some big games in this building. We have to see if we can't overcome them. It is an important thing. Sometimes the mentality going into a building is, 'We can't possibly win here.' To become a champion, you have to overcome those things."
And Caps did it tonight.
Lopyreva is in Russia and Alex parents are visiting DC for New Year's celebration. What a coinsidence! :-)
Here's an excerpt from Victoria Lopyreva interview with Russian newspaper MK dated by... January 5th, 2009 (seriously, even a link has the date in it: http://www.mk.ru/blogs/idmk/2009/01/05/Bulvar/388835/):
Can you share your view about men? Teenage girls usually like bad boys...
And I still like them (smiles). I was never attracted to good boys, unfortunately.
The recent rumor is about your love affair with the leader of Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin. Is this true?
It's too personal so I will not confirm anything. But I would say that at the moment I'm in love and everything goes well.
The Capitals told me today they aren't pleased that the chewing tobacco reference made it into Pat Jordan's piece, as well as with the general tone of the article. It's that tone -- which portrays Ovechkin somewhere between perturbed and egotistical -- that has Caps bloggers dismissing it as trash.
- Pat Jordan
Comment by Tuvanhillbilly: "I agree with you 100%! I just cringed when I read the article. How many stereotypes can you cram into one article?"
- Don't buy Maxim
It was found that three hours before the game between Vityaz and Avanguard, during which Cherepanov's heart stopped, he was injected with cordiamin prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. In this regard the KHL Disciplinary Committee dismissed Omsk team's doctors from their duty.
I tried to get to KHL site (www.khl.ru) and apparently it's overwhelmed, almost like denial of service attack.
Googling cordiamin, I found this on Russian site:
The history of doping scandal started at the World Championships in Italian Anterselve after Relay Competition on January 24. That time successfully having done that competition, Albina Akhatova almost fell unconscious. Athlete’s blood pressure was “45 on 0”, that’s why a Russian biathlon combined team Tatiana Popova decided to make an injection of cordiamin which contains the forbidden niketamid.
Nikethamide is a stimulant which mainly affects the respiratory cycle. It was formerly used under the brand name "Coramine" in the mid-1900s as a medical countermeasure towards tranquilizer overdoses, before the advent of endotracheal intubation & positive-pressure lung expansion.
In sports, nikethamide is listed by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a banned substance. Cyclist Jaime Huelamo was caught at the 1972 Summer Olympics using it. When it was discovered that American sprinter and world champion Torri Edwards had used nikethamide, she was banned for two years. In 2005, however, WADA downgraded nikethamide so that one would only receive a maximum one-year ban.
The New York Times:
Antidoping experts said there were 4 to 15 instances a year in which nikethamide was detected. Dr. Christiane Ayotte, director of the World Anti-Doping Agency's accredited laboratory in Montreal, said the stimulant was not often found in North America, but is more frequently found in Europe and Central and South America.
Nikethamide is a respiratory stimulant that affects the central nervous system, having the effect of increasing breathing capacity.
Alex Cherepanov was sent to the resuscitation
The last game of year 2008 is going to be a tough one. Alzner and Brashear are not expected to play tonight. The individual race between Vanek and Ovechkin, who both scored 25 goals and share the second place in NHL, is going to have a direct affect on which team will win tonight.
Caps need to contain Vanek and Ovechkin needs to solve Ryan Miller.
Corey Masisak, TWT:
The Caps are 1-7 in their last eight trips to this building, a fact not lost on Boudreau.
"We have to exercise our demons in this building," Boudreau said. "We have lost some big games in this building. We have to see if we can't overcome them. It is an important thing. Sometimes the mentality going into a building is, 'We can't possibly win here.' To become a champion, you have to overcome those things."
In other news Robert Picarello, FoxSports, writes:
Week 11 Power Rankings
The Washington Capitals were able to move four steps closer to the top of the power rankings mountain this week thanks mainly to the outstanding play of their sniper Alex Ovechkin. The left wing posted six points in Washington's three Week 12 wins.
Ovechkin was at his best on Dec. 23 in a 5-4 overtime win over the New York Rangers when his two goals and one assist helped lead the Caps all the way back from a 4-0 deficit. He followed up that dramatic performance at Madison Square Garden with three more goals in Washington's next two games – two of which were game-winners. Heading into Week 13, Ovechkin had recorded 44 points in his past 28 games off 23 goals and 21 assists, including a league-leading 12 goals in 13 December games.
Rank Team Last Wk Rise High/Low
5 Capitals 9 (+4) 5/19
By winning three in a row last week, the Capitals were able to climb into the top five in the power rankings. Nicklas Backstrom netted six assists in Washington's three Week 12 victories.
Jeff Carter and Flyers are playing Canucks tonight at 10:00PM.
Go Caps! Go go, Ovechkin!
The Bruins continue their torrid pace but are challenged for first in the East by the Caps, who beat Boston in overtime when Alex Ovechkin races into the zone, tries jumping over Zdeno Chara, lands on his head but still controls the puck and, sliding goalward on his helmet, beats Tim Thomas through the five hole. “I was not happy with that goal,” a visibly disgusted OV says, “because I could not body slam myself into the boards after I scored."
The Caps advance past Montreal after Alex Ovechkin scores in Game 7 overtime by shooting from the blue line, jumping over three Canadiens in a single bound, picking up his own rebound and shooting past Carey Price. Seeing replays, Boston’s Zdeno Chara says, “He won’t jump over me.”
… At the N.H.L. awards show, Alex Ovechkin wins almost everything, including the Norris Trophy, the Vezina Trophy and a retroactive Calder Trophy. OV does not win the Masterton, however. That is awarded to Sean Avery, now considered the friendliest, most popular man in hockey despite his retirement.
In a second half of the year things get too graphic and can offend Ted and Caps fans. Reader discretion is strongly advised.
One thing you may not have seen yet is the January issue of Maxim, which is now on newsstands. The monthly magazine features a two-page article on Ovechkin and provides some insight into the MVP's life away from the rink. It was written by Pat Jordan, a freelance journalist for 40 years and an author who was recently called "a national treasure" by Booklist.
If you haven't read J.P.'s or my post "Don't buy Maxim", I can repeat it again, don't waste your money to buy it. And not just that, boycott it. It portraits Ovechkin with the stereotype used for Russian Mafia. I googled Pat Jordan and here is an excerpt from his article:
In January, I got an assignment from the New York Times Magazine to write a profile of Josh Beckett, the Red Sox pitcher.
...But, alas, in a single-sentence e-mail from his agent, Beckett declined to be interviewed by me or anyone else. I could understand that. Why would he want me poking around in the closet of his life? Maybe I'd spend four days with him, and catch him saying something derogatory, in a moment of weakness or fatigue, about his manager, Terry Francona, or about Manny Ramirez.
Here we go, he just did it to Ovechkin. Beckett's agent is way smarter than Ovechkin's... Couldn't get an interview from Beckett? Let's try an easy target, a hockey player, he won't refuse...
And one more thing, I am pretty sure Beckett will give an interview to someone else, but Jordan...
There was less than a minute left in the game against Toronto when one of the other Washington Capitals found Alex Ovechkin, unguarded, with nothing but ice between him and an empty net.
Another score would be gravy. The Caps led 3 to 1, on two goals by Brooks Laich, and a nifty shot by Ovechkin at the close of the second period. Now, as the Capitals superstar turned toward the Toronto net, he could see Laich streaking down the other side of the rink, ready for the feed that would give him a hat trick.
Instead of passing, Ovechkin took the easy goal himself. He said after the game that he saw a blue Toronto jersey closing on Laich. If so, he has remarkable peripheral vision.
Being a superstar has its prerogatives, as well as its demands. The real greats in sports are selfish, driven, greedy. They want to score, and they know they are paid for spectacular performance. And the Laiches of the sporting world recognize that the Ovechkins are the meal tickets—that the fans paying exorbitant ticket prices do so to see Ovi perform.
Allowances are made. Especially since, aside from Ovi and the other remarkable young Capitals (who are in first place in their division and on a hot streak, despite a rash of injuries), the sporting scene in the nation's capital is so terribly, awfully dismal.
Hold on just a sec, let me comment on that... He gave a pass to Backstrom in a game vs. Islanders,
and Backstrom, instead of returning a favor, scored on an empty net... :-) Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me!
Or, like Prez Bush said:
"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
Alright, let's go back to the article:
Everyone knows why Mark Teixeira snubbed the Nationals and took the Yankees' money: Washington teams are Losers.
Ovi and the gang may change that. The Caps have the fourth-best record in the league. On their home ice, the Caps are 15-1-1 this season. There is no denying they have the talent. And, in a remarkable playoff drive at the end of last season, they showed heart. The injuries could prove to be a blessing, as even younger replacements from the minors are getting NHL ice time and acquiring a taste, and the tricks, for victory.
Ovechkin makes things happen. He lurks, circles, lulls the defense—then stunningly is everywhere, throwing his body, stealing the puck, shrugging off defenders, and there's the red light.
I don't know it, but it's a fair guess that Laich's first goal got past a distracted Toronto goalie, who was trying to keep an eye on Ovechkin, charging from his right, as Laich slipped the puck in from his left.
God forbid there's another Cold War before Ovechkin and his fellow Russians bring D.C. a Stanley Cup. Is it only old-timers like me who watch the Capitals (or "the Red" as they're being called) in their crimson jerseys and see CCCP on their chests?
These Caps play a game of hockey, based on raw talent, young legs, and crisp passes, that Washington fans have not known. You can take that from me, who fell for the team in its beginnings (remember Ace Bailey? Guy Charron?), and recognized far too many of those grizzled old-timers—starting with Yvon Labre—who showed up to honor hall-of-famer Mike Gartner, whose jersey was retired last night.
Will the Caps do it? It's hard to say until the injured return. For all Ovechkin's fire—he's unafraid to hit anybody—the Caps are a finesse team that can still get its butt whipped, as in the one-sided loss to Philly this month. The team will need a hot goaltender in the playoffs, and that role is still up for grabs.
Much will depend on Ovi. For every Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan, there is an Allen Iverson, or an Alex Rodriguez, or a Mike Mussina, whose skills sell tickets, but—for lack of a coach or a supporting cast, leadership, or maybe just luck—underperforms at trophy time.
Away from the Caps' downtown rink, the reviewing stands are going up, at the Capitol and the White House, and along Pennsylvania Avenue, for Barack Obama's inauguration. Congress returns next week. Political Washington is about to stage a grand debate about the blessings and drawbacks of the system of creative selfishness we call capitalism, and how it should be bridled, via the cooperative political system we call democracy.
That was the issue on the ice last night. We need our superstars; they need teams.
Should Ovechkin have taken that empty-net goal? Or, in solidarity, for the team, for a greater good, should he have given Laich the honor?
I guess Prez Bush answered that question, "Fool me, you can't get fooled again"
Monday, December 29, 2008
#2. Alexander Ovechkin's dominant performance
Christian Petersen - Getty Images
Ovechkin was unquestionably the NHL's best player in 2007-08.
The talented Russian led the league in goals with 65, becoming the first player to crack the 60-goal plateau since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in 1995-96. He also set an NHL record for most goals in a season by a left wing, and became the first player to win the Art Ross (points), Richard (goals), Hart and Pearson (league and players' MVP) trophies in a season.
Ovechkin has emerged as the most exciting goal-scorer since Pavel Bure, and his offensive wizardry powered the Washington Capitals to their first playoff berth since 2003.
He also helped Russia win its first gold medal at the World Hockey Championship in 15 years. At 23 years old, Ovechkin's best seasons still lay ahead of him.
By Sarah Millar, National Post, Dec. 27, 2008 "Year in review":
The show stopper
Some hockey players just have it: a dramatic flair for shining best when the spotlight is shining brightest. Alexander Ovechkin has it.
With the Washington Capitals needing a win against Tampa Bay in the second last game of the regular season to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Russian delivered. Ovechkin struck early, scoring his 64th goal of the season to break Luc Robitaille’s record for left-wingers. He struck again late with the game-winner midway through the third period, while the home crowd serenaded him with chants of “MVP! MVP!”
Apparently nhl.com thought so, too. The Web site put Ovechkin MVP shirts up for sale a week before the league’s leading scorer won the Hart Trophy in June. “I bought hundreds,” Ovechkin joked.
Ovechkin was named third Russian athlete of the year 2008 in Sport-Express voting.
1. Andrei Arshavin, football
2. Elena Isinbaeva, track and field
3. Alexander Ovechkin, hockey
The votes were submitted by Sport-Express writers, one of them was Slava Malamud. Imagine that, he voted for some footballer named Dmitry Torbinski! Way to go, Slava!
Sport-Express, Dec. 29, 2008 "Who vote for whom":
Slava Malamud. 1, Torbinski 2. Ovechkin 3. Malkin 4. Nabokov 5. Kovalchuk
Here is some insight why he Slava voted for a footballer by Slava himself...
Slava Malamud on Capitals Insider (Guest Blogger: Things Ovechkin Hates):
...PS: This interview was a part of Sport-Express' New Year edition, in which we traditionally pick the Russian Athlete of the Year. Basically, it's Russia's version of the SI Sportsman of the Year award.
At the time of writing I didn't know whether it was Ovechkin who won it... or Andrei Arshavin, a footballer. You are probably wondering how it could happen that the best player in the world's best league who has helped Russia win the World Championships for the first time in 15 years (and at a sport which we are actually good at!) and was a finalist for SI's Sportsman of the Year even gets mentioned in the same sentence with a footballer.
I was wondering, but now I know why... bhahaha
Update: no bhahaha, please read the comment by Slava...
By the way, Arshavin gave an interview to Sport-Express, and here what he said:
Any poll is the subjective opinion of a group of people, therefore, one should relate to such things accordingly. If I could make a choice I'd name Alexander Ovechkin as the best athlete of the year. It was he who was the leader of team Russia spiritually and on ice at the world championship.
The full interview with Ovechkin by Slava Malamud in Russian has some more details about this episode: "They had written that in Beijing (at the Olympics) I got drunk and totally destroyed a hotel room..."
Ovechkin confronted the journalists who wrote that:
"I told them, "Prove that it really happened or write a refutation." A month later they wrote that all that was not true."
Washington Capitals left-winger Alex Ovechkin was named the NHL's first star of the week on Monday.
The Russian sniper tallied five goals and one assist last week, including three points (two goals, one assist) as Washington overcame a 4-0 deficit to defeat the New York Rangers 5-4 in overtime on Dec. 23.
Ovechkin also scored the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres Dec. 26 and recorded a pair of goals, including the game-winner, as the Capitals defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 Dec. 28.
Ovechkin has 44 points (23 goals, 21 assists) in his past 28 games. He ranks second in NHL scoring with 49 points (25 goals, 24 assists) in 35 games.
Ovechkin wearing #11 at pre-game skate in honor of Mike Gartner whose number was retired before the game. Photo by Marge, our blog reader.
Ovechkin's post game interview
After Ovechkin scored his empty-netter, the camera showed Laich and Ovechkin talking at the bench. I thought "I guess they congratulate each other".
Alex Ovechkin said he looked to pass the puck to Laich as the two broke toward the Leafs' empty net in the waning seconds of the period but that Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle blocked the play. Laich didn't seem too concerned about missing out on his first-ever hat trick though.
"It would have been nice to get that one but it wasn't a clear cut play and at the time the game was still in question," Laich said. "We got back to the bench and he said sorry. I told him: 'Don't worry about it the game is more important.'"
Ron Wilson was interviewed on NHL network and he said "When you play against the best player in the league..." then he realized... Oops, where's political correctness, and continued... "or one of the best players in the league"
"We should have realized the time, the score and who was on the ice," said Wilson. "When the best player in the league is on the ice, or one of the best, you can't mismanage the puck and we did."
Ovechkin steamed down the right wing and snapped a shot that squeezed between goaltender Vesa Toskala's left arm and body. That gave Washington a 2-1 lead with 10 seconds remaining in the period.
"That goal killed us," said Antropov. "You just can't make those mistakes in our zone."
The late second period goal by Ovechkin was an obvious topic in the visitors' dressing room after Sunday night's encounter. Though defenceman Ian White tried to block the shot with his stick, Toskala admitted it was a clean goal. "I don't think it hit anything on the way to the net, it just went in under my arm" the goalie said. "It's amazing how heavy Ovechkin's shot is."
Ted's Take, Dec. 29, 2008:
We are now in sole possession of second place in the East with 49 points which is also 4th best in the NHL. We are 10 points up on Carolina.
Things are going well so I worry!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Photo by Marge, our blog reader (Nice pic, Marge!)
Leafs 1, Caps 4.
Two ladies men, Ovechkin and Laich, one on a Russian side and another on American side, each scored a couple tonight... This is what they do, they SCORE!!! :-)
I was really hoping for Alex hat-trick, but 2 goals is good enough...
Wait, good is not good enough... :-)
Oh well, Alex has one more game to get to a number one position in goals before January 1st, 2009...
Ovechkin is second in the NHL in points and second in goals.
Ovechkin was +2, total ice time 20:08, average shift 00:54. Believe it or not, but it was Karl Alzner 22:39 with the most ice time, Mike Green was second, 21:53. Ovechkin was 4th (!) in ice time after Shaone Morrisonn...
Lopyreva is back in Russia, according to intermoda.ru she was at the Helen Yarmak's party in Moscow on December 23rd.
InterModa: "Victoria Lopyreva was dressed in a long fox coat and weared a beautiful ring with sapphires, diamonds and topazes."
You've got to be all mine, all mine
Ooh, foxy lady
The same day, Tuesday, December 23rd, Alex had an outstanding game vs. Rangers followed by another excellent game vs. Sabres. The Romovechkin case is closed. :-) Maybe there's some truth in it, after all...
Tarik decided to take it down, I guess it will be a full blown article in Washington Post, but Paul Kukla was quick enough to catch a glimpse of that interview:
Q & A with Alexander Ovechkin
If you and Malkin ever got into a fight on the ice - who would win?
Whoever landed the first punch. But fighting is not my calling. And really, I don’t see any rivalry between myself and Malkin. Or between myself and Crosby. And now they are adding Semin to our threesome too. There is nothing of that sort: we just play, get our points, someone is in front, someone is second… Of course, a headline like “Ovechkin Versus Malkin” catches the eye, but I don’t see any reason to pour gasoline onto the fire.
Guest Blogger: Things Ovechkin Hates
What is the question from the media that you are most tired of?
It used to be "Compare yourself with Crosby." Now it's "Compare yourself with Malkin." Actually, I have to do two or three interviews every day and almost always they ask me the same things. I could even write all the standard questions on a piece of paper and just hand it out to the journalists.
Staying with the subject, could you talk about your relationship with Malkin? There are rumors of all but a war between you two.
No, there is no war and everything that was between us is in the past. I just think that he was wrong in acting like he did. He said things that shouldn't have been said. I won't go into it in detail.
Do you mean your confrontation with his agent Ushakov? Malkin's words in the media that the fight indeed took place?
Yes, I won't go further into it. He shouldn't have said it.
Is there something about life in America that you don't like?
Nothing really bothers me. What is there to be bothered about? I spend most of my time with the other Russian guys... Well, maybe the drivers. The way they drive here, you could write a book about it!
Oh yes! There are drivers here with the capital D! In Russia they would simply get shot. Let's say you are driving on an empty two-lane road. Any fool knows the left lane is the fast one! But here they don't get it at all. Two of them will get next to each other and just keep going like that: nobody in front of them and a traffic jam behind. Why, why would you drive slowly in the left lane? Who knows. They just do it.
And what are the things that you like the most about living here?
I have never been lied to [anything] here. Take my relationship with the team, for example. Everything they promise me, they always do it. It never happens that they tell you something and then forget. I have never before seen such professional relationship anywhere.
Is there anything you miss the most?
The pace of life in Moscow. When I am there, I don't even have the time to relax. I would get home at four in the morning, sleep for four hours and - back in the saddle again. Hanging out, partying... What do you expect? If a guy toils without rest for nine months, what should he do: come home and sit in front of the TV with a bottle of water and potato chips and watch the news?"
You lead an interesting life.
In truth, what they write about me is much more interesting than how I live... They had written that in Beijing (at the Olympics) I got drunk and totally destroyed a hotel room... (And) the Russian press has made me into such a ladies' man... As soon as I arrive in Moscow, go to a party and sit down with somebody at the same table, they will immediately write about Ovechkin's new romance. So, I try not to go with anyone or only to go with (male) friends. So they will wind up thinking that I am... All right, that's enough about that.
Is this why you offended Miss Virginia after one of the home games, refusing to have a picture taken with her?
Ah, it's nothing. I didn't even see her. I just heard someone saying something to me about a Miss Virginia, so I said that our girls are better and left.
Prepare yourself for this one - maybe with a Stoli martini or two.
Back in the days of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Red Army had an official choir composed of male soldiers and musicians. It still exists. The Red Army Choir performs throughout Russia to this day.
Now consider the Finnish rock band called The Leningrad Cowboys. A little while ago, they held a concert in Russia, in which - to the screaming applause of Russkie teen-agers - they got the Red Army Choir to join them on stage for a performance of "Sweet Home Alabama." In English. You couldn't make this up.
We're talking seriously off the wall here. Better have that Stoli ready when you watch it:
Leningrad Cowboys & Red Army Choir - SWEET HOME ALABAMA
It is the most unassailable offense-related re cord in NHL history, the 550 shots Phil Esposito sent on net in the 1970-71 season during which he would plant himself in front and hammer rebound after rebound in what became a 76-goal year.
No one has come within even 100 shots of the record that helped inspire the famous bumper sticker ubiquitous in the Hub those days that read, "Jesus Saves . . . and Espo scores on the rebound!"
But now, the unassailable record is under assault . . . and it's under assault from the greatest and most compelling athlete in the game.
It's under assault from Alex Ovechkin, hockey's Big O, hockey's greatest player.
Ovechkin, who recorded 446 shots last year to surpass Paul Kariya's 429 in 1998-99 for second-best all-time, had 216 shots through Friday, an average of 6.35 per that would bring him to 505. But Ovechkin, who missed two games early in the season, is averaging 7.875 shots per over the past 16 games, a pace that would allow him to challenge the historically unchallengeable.
The gulf between Ovechkin and every other player in the league is growing wider by the day. Even if Ovechkin may not be the most talented, or the best skater, he is by the far the most compelling athlete in the league. You can't take your eyes off him. Indeed, the Big O is the most compelling player in the league since the pre-concussion Eric Lindros.
Ovechkin never stops. He is a mix of ferocity and fury; insatiable in his hunger for the puck, his desire to score, his will to win. He is Jim Brown on skates, a dominant physical force of nature who would just as soon go through an opponent as around one (or two, or three). He's what Rocket Richard must have been like in the '40s and '50s.
Too bad, though, Ovechkin has approximately one-third the number of All-Star votes as NHL favorite son Sidney Crosby. One-third as many votes as Crosby? Why, the league's best player has one half as many votes as Alex Kovalev, and just over half as many as the great Alex Tanguay!
The NHL should be embarrassed for itself.
Look, Crosby is an admirable individual and great player. But the NHL has made a drastic error in anointing No. 87 as The Chosen One. The NHL's All-Crosby-All-The-Time marketing machine has been detrimental to the sport by virtue of its exclusionary policy.
We get it, Crosby is Canadian and Ovechkin is Russian. But we also get that focusing on one athlete at the expense of a contemporary at least his equal and now clearly his superior, is stupid strategy that makes for horrible business policy.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
In my previous post I had a video from capitals.nhl.com (Thanks Brett and Nate, you are doing a terrific job), but this YouTube video has much better angles that allow you to feel better how terrific that goal was...
You witness the goal of the best hockey player ever in this entire Universe... What a determination!
H/t to rh71 (ovechkinfans.com)
Reaction around the league:
- According to Caps forum Ovechkin's goal is #1 on ESPN's SportsCenter's Top 10
- By John Vogl, Buffalo News, Dec. 27, 2008 "MVP Ovechkin makes difference":
WASHINGTON — Alexander Ovechkin hadn’t even scored and he was already the most noticeable player on the ice. Then, when he added another moment to his ridiculous collection of highlights, the fans serenaded him as the most dominant player in the league.
The reigning NHL Most Valuable Player scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period, and Washington held off Buffalo’s late rally to deal the Sabres a 3-2 setback Friday night. The loss extended the Sabres’ winless streak to three games (0-1-2). They get a chance to end it at 7 tonight (MSG, Radio 550 AM) when the New York Islanders visit HSBC Arena.
Ovechkin gave the Capitals a 3-1 lead with 11:33 to go, and the Verizon Center went bonkers. The superstar skated past Sabres defenseman Toni Lydman out of the Washington zone and abused Henrik Tallinder. Ovechkin was on the defenseman’s left and hopped to Tallinder’s right by pushing the puck between the blue-liner’s stick and skates.
Ovechkin then closed on goaltender Patrick Lalime and fired a puck past while falling to the ice. The 18,277 in attendance gasped as the highlight played on the scoreboard, and they burst into a chant of “MVP, MVP.”
“He’s one of the best, if not the best player in the league,” Lydman said. “You know every time he is on the ice you’ve got to be sharp and you’ve got to be watching.”
The goal capped a night in which Ovechkin fired 19 pucks at the net. Eight made it, another eight were blocked and three others went wide.
“It was a pretty cool goal,” Ovechkin said. “You always want to do some crazy things. It was a great goal, and I’m happy it happened to me.”
- The Hockey News, Dec. 26, 2008:
WASHINGTON - Alex Ovechkin got a little mad when the officials wiped out an apparent goal late in the second period.
But Ovechkin got over it by scoring a highlight-reel goal in the third period in the Washington Capitals' 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Viktor Kozlov and Boyd Gordon also scored, and Jose Theodore made 22 saves.
Ovechkin's spectacular play made it 3-1 with 11:33 left.
He pushed the puck through Henrik Tallinder's legs just inside the blue line, got around him and fired a shot past goalie Patrick Lalime while falling.
"He was mad, and he was going to make up for it," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "They were checking him, and he was losing the puck, but he was just determined. It was like, 'They took one away from me, and they're not going to take another one away."'
The sellout crowd of 18,277 broke into loud chants of "M-V-P!, M-V-P!" for Ovechkin, the NHL's reigning Most Valuable Player.
"It was a pretty cool goal," Ovechkin said. "I just made some moves. You always want to do some crazy things. It was a great goal, and I'm happy it happened to me."
Defenceman Bryan Helmer had the only assist on the goal, pushing the puck forward to Ovechkin, who did the rest.
"That's why he's the best in the league," Helmer said. "He never gives up on the puck, and the next thing you know it's in the back of the net. It's amazing what he can do."
Ovechkin appeared to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead late in the second, but a goalie interference call against teammate Brooks Laich negated that and lit the MVP's fire.
- Puck Daddy "Ovechkin schools Sabres defense for another classic goal"
Ovechkin showed why he's the reigning league MVP after breaking out of his own zone, tipping a pass to himself while turning around a Buffalo defender at the blue-line, and getting a hard shot off while falling to his stomach for a goal that sent the home crowd into a frenzy and solidified a two-goal lead with 11:33 left in the game.
And here's for desert:
ovechkinfans.com moderator (OV-1) post: "My collection is complete!"
Friday, December 26, 2008
Sabres 2, Caps 3.
Probably the most electrifying goal by Ovechkin in the last two seasons and it turned into game winning goal tonight. He had a lot of amazing goals, but this one will stick in a memory for a long time.
He scored similar goals in the first season as a rookie, but then was put under constant surveillance by opposite teams. Seems like he is getting in a good shape.
Ovechkin: "It was a pretty cool goal, it happens sometimes... :-)"
Ovechkin got hard hat tonight...
Ovechkin had 1 goal, +2, total ice time was 24:04 !!! Second game in a row he had more ice time than anybody else including defencemen. In the last game vs Rangers he had 22:02.
Average shift was 1:08. Alex also registered 3 hits. He was robbed of one goal he scored from the point because Laich got goalie interference. Another entertaining episode was when he got back with Roy on his breakaway and prevented a goal, Roy was like three steps ahead of him. Nice! Ovechkin had legs tonight...
Will he score more goals than anybody else by January 1st? That remains to be seen. You've got one day to vote before the poll will be closed. Hurry up! :-)
Go, Ovechkin! Go, go Ovechkin!
Alex Ovechkin slides on the ice after he scored a goal against Buffalo Sabres goalie Patrick Lalime (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Alex Ovechkin slides on the ice and collides with Buffalo Sabres goalie Patrick Lalime (40) after he scored a goal (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin, center, of Russia, celebrates his goal with Viktor Kozlov (25), of Russia, and Nicklas Backstrom (19), of Sweden, against Buffalo Sabres goalie Patrick Lalime (40) and Henrik Tallinder (10), of Sweden, during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Dec. 26, 2008, in Washington. The Capitals won 3-2. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Ovechkin's goal was a highlight-reel effort. He pushed the puck through Henrik Tallinder's legs just inside the blue line and fired a shot past goalie Patrick Lalime while falling, giving the Capitals a 3-1 lead.
Washington improved to an Eastern Conference-best 14-1-1 at home.
Washington opened the scoring on Kozlov's hard shot from near the right boards with 2:14 left in the second period.
Ovechkin appeared to score 1:09 later, but a goalie interference call against teammate Brooks Laich negated that.
Bruce Boudreau: "This one was a determination goal by Ovechkin... Once he scored the goal that was not counted, he turned it up, he got mad..."
Brian Helmer(On Ovechkin's goal): "Yeah, I shovelled puck to him... he made a heck of a play... it's amazing what he can do... It shows how much character we have in this room... It comes directly from Ovie..."
Totaly agree with Japer's Rink on Ovechkin's Maxim article, don't waste your money. In fact, if you are really curious, the scan has been posted at Ovechkinfans.com.
Konstantin Selinevich needs to choose the interviewers carefully, even if it is Maxim. Who cares how much they pay, we don't need a negative image.
Apparently the journalist got frustrated that he wasn't invited inside the house, or, whatever it was, he didn't paint the nice portrait of Alex.
And where did he get that picture of Alex in pink? He only was in Alex car, waited for him inside a Hair Cuttery and was dropped at his hotel. If I were Ovechkin, I'd sue Maxim for that article.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Alexander Ovechkin MVP video from capitals.nhl.com:
For this weeks' Best of Game Entertainment we revisit Alex Ovechkin's award winning season and the celebrations that followed.
And the best advice from Fedorov:
You've played against Gretzky and Lemieux. Is Ovechkin better than them?
The press and the hockey analysts should do such comparisons. I know one thing, Sasha had a great season. In a new season he'll have a lot of work to do. And the sooner Ovechkin will forget about the last season, the better it will be for him.
With the last game victory over Rangers I can tell you, and you hear it here first:
Alex Ovechkin is the best player ever who played a game called hockey.
It was the first time the Rangers had ever led 4-0 at the Garden and lost. "I will try not to let this ruin my Christmas," said Chris Drury.
The Dark Ranger blog "You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry...":
Santa will not be delivering the goods for us Rangers fans this year, tonight's game against the Washington Caps came as no surprise as we dramatically lost to the Caps 4-5 in OT, after opening the third period with a three goal lead. Alexander Ovechkin scored two goals leading his Caps rallying four straight goals in regulation followed by the game winner in OT.
By Steve Zipay, newsday.com:
The last time the Rangers led 4-0 at home and did not win was nearly 30 years ago, against the Philadelphia Flyers in 1979. Last February, the Blueshirts built a 5-0 lead in Montreal and gave it away.
Those memories returned last night, as disbelief coursed through a once-confident, festive crowd at Madison Square Garden.
Led by the dynamic Alex Ovechkin, the league's reigning MVP who finished with two goals and 13 shots, the injury-riddled Capitals wiped out a four-goal, second-period deficit as Shaone Morrisonn scored the fifth straight Washington goal at 59 seconds of overtime for a shocking 5-4 victory.
"This was not the way you want to go into the Christmas break," said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who was sharp through two periods but was blitzed in the third as the Rangers lost their composure.
Ranger Pundit blog:
You have to hand it to the Rangers. They know how to screw up the holiday season. Led by the one man wrecking ball known as Ovechkin the Washington Capitals stormed back from a 4-0 deficiet to beat the Rangers in OT, 5-4. Funny about that score. When it went to 4-0 Rangers, number two son said to me and number one son and grandson Nicholas, this game is going to end 5-4. Darn it, it ended 5-4 with the Rangers on the short end. However, there was something in the air watching Ovechkin skating and hitting and charging to the net that you knew something was going to happen, something was going to change.
ALEX THE GREAT: The Capitals' Alex Ovechkin celebrates after scoring past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the third period to tie the game before the Rangers lost in overtime, 5-4.
Ovechkin started the big comeback in the second period and netted the tying goal in the third for the Southeast Division-leading Capitals, who erased a four-goal hole and beat the Rangers -- the Atlantic's top team -- 5-4 in overtime Tuesday night.
"They stopped playing hockey," a jubilant Ovechkin said. "They probably believed 4-0 they'd win the game. They tried to play conservative, but we play a different way. We play a hard, physical game and take lots of shots. You see the results."
Ovechkin, who came in with only two career points in six games at the Garden, showed off his MVP form with two goals and an assist. Shaone Morrisonn scored his first of the season on the only shot in overtime to win at 59 seconds.
Ovechkin tied it 4-4 with his 22nd of the season, scored with 7:22 left in regulation. He celebrated with an enthusiastic jump-slam into the glass in the corner.
Shaone Morrisonn scored just 59 seconds into overtime to give the Capitals a shocking victory. (Associated Press)
Post-game notes by Corey Masisak, TWT:
Ovechkin had two goals, an assist, 13 shots, four hits, a bloody lip and the first big night at the Garden of his four-year career. Backstrom had three assists, including a great pass to Kozlov, who made it 4-3 with a shot Henrik Lundqvist had no chance on. It can be a roller coaster with those, but that was a lot of wow tonight.
Those last 35 minutes or so for Ovechkin might stick in the minds of some MVP voters from this part of the country in a few months.
Later that night, my family and I watched our team play. We had 10 players out with injuries, actually 11 as our goaltender was injured as well. Our team went down 3-0 on the first give shots. We all had a sinking feeling that this would NOT be a pretty game and then the Rangers went up 4-0. My daughter looked at me and said, “OK Dad. Never give up.”
And then Ovechkin scored, 4-1. Then Fleischmann scored, 4-2. Then Kozlov scored, 4-3. By this time, my family was going crazy. Then Ovechkin scores and we tie the game 4 to 4. We go into OT and - bang - we win 5-4 on a goal by a D man who NEVER scores a goal.
Never give up. Always believe. Stay positive. Don’t be negative. Find a way to win. A life lesson for us all.
Obviously Ted has to be politically correct and he is right, but I'd say, "A life lesson for all of us from Alex Ovechkin"
By Matt Romig, Puck Daddy:
No. 1 star: Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Then along came Ovechkin, who entering play had fewer points at the Garden (2) than any other building in which he's played more than two games. Ovechkin fired again and again at Rangers goalie Henrik Lunqvist, registering a season-high 13 shots while scoring Washington's first goal and the third-period marker that set up Shaone Morrisonn's OT winner in a most improbable 5-4 triumph. How active was Ovechkin in the offensive zone? When you factor in his seven shots that missed the net, he single-handedly out-shot the high-octane Penguins, who managed just 15 shots on home ice against Tampa Bay. Alex, enjoy your brief two-day holiday break with Puck Daddy's blessing.
And Mike Vogel said it best:
Watch Alex Ovechkin play and see if you can figure out what the score of the game is. He doesn't mail it in when his team is down several goals and he doesn't coast when the Caps are a few to the good. He only knows one gear, and it's one that 99% of the opposition doesn't have.
My 10-year-old son and I were watching last night's game together, just a couple days after we watched the Caps get pasted 7-1 in Philadelphia. With the score 4-0 in the second period, I could tell that the boy was getting itchy and thinking of what else he could be doing. Watching his heroes get outscored 11-1 in the previous four-plus periods wasn't getting it done for him.
"I wouldn't write this one off yet," I said, even though I'd written off the Philly game at 3-0 (we watched the rest, but without hope of a good result). "The Rangers' defense is soft and it's all Lundqvist right now."
Sure enough, Ovi breaks the goose egg with a fluky blind spin shot. But really, when you take so many shots, what's fluky about any goals you get? Ovi routinely leads the NHL in shots on goal, and he launched a career high 446 last season. Despite missing two games in 2008-09, he is on pace for 487. Phil Esposito's once-unassailable record of 550 (set in 1971-72) suddenly seems assailable, although no one has come within 100 of Espo's record yet.
Right now, Ovi is outshooting the rest of the league by a wide, wide margin. He has 208 shots on goal, and runner-up Dustin Brown of the Kings has 157. Ovechkin has had 25 shots on goal in the last two games, and has missed the mark on another dozen bids (three were blocked and nine missed the net).
Ovi is like a dogged and diligent salesman; he deals in volume. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Shoot enough, and pucks will go in. Don't worry about being rejected. Don't worry about missing the mark. Keep making those cold calls. He'll never lead the league in shooting pct., but he'll lead in shots and in goals. We've seen that already.
Last night's "Miracle on 34th Street" was sparked simply because to Ovi, the only bad shots are the ones you don't take. So he took a low percentage shot from a low percentage scoring area and put it toward one of the best goalies in the league. It glanced around like the Alleged Shot From the Grassy Knoll, and it went in. Without that goal, the comeback never gets off the ground. I firmly believe that.
It took a while to get off the ground even after that, but you could see the momentum building with each shift.
When I was a kid, I lived near Boston and had the great fortune of watching Esposito and Bobby Orr and I learned at a very early age that no lead was insurmountable. I'm glad my son has Ovi to look up to, because without even knowing it our No. 8 is teaching the youth of this area some very valuable life lessons.
Thank you, Mike...
Alex Ovetjkin blog is wishing all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year!
New Yorkers are all talking about last night’s game and Alex Ovechkin. Do you realize he took 27 shots with 13 on net last night? Friends are saying Alex is the talk of the town a la LeBron James after a recent Knicks game except Alex is signed with us for 13 years so Rangers fans can’t have fantasies about his playing on Broadway any time soon.
Good for us and good for Alex. I am truly flattered.
Go, Caps! Go, Ovechkin! Go, go Ovechkin!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Caps 5, Rangers 4
I wanted to turn off TV after Rangers were 3:0, thanks God I didn't. MSG commentators: "Alex Ovechkin lifted his team on his shoulders and carried it to the victory." If there ever was the greatest player in the history of this game, it is Alexander Ovechkin.
Legends will be told about this guy, and one of them was started tonight. We'll tell about this game to our grandchildren. With all due respect, roll over Wayne and Mario, it's now the era of Ovechkin.
Alex had 2 goals, 1 assist, 13 shots on goal, played every other shift.
And he is #1 star of the game by MSG.
With Green gone, Alex set a record tonight, he played 22:02, more than any other player in Caps roster, he is usually second after defenseman Green. He even played more than a goalie! Is it possible? (Hint: Johnson :-)
This piece was written by Lynn Zinser, NYT, before tonight's game, "In six previous visits, the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin never gave fans at Madison Square Garden a true view of his talent."
Well, he did tonight...
When asked Tuesday why he and Boudreau clicked so quickly, Ovechkin shrugged.
“Everybody asks me this question,” he said. “I said all the time that he brings the team energy, and he brings the team trust. He trusts players, and he knows what situations for us to play. It’s really good when a coach knows you.”
The 23-year-old Ovechkin was already perhaps the most dynamic player in hockey when Boudreau arrived last season. Ovechkin finished the season with an astounding 65 goals and made the playoffs for the first time. The Capitals lost in the first round, in a thrilling seven-game series with Philadelphia, but clearly had themselves pointed in the right direction.
“Last year was a fun year for everybody,” Ovechkin said. “We knew if we lose, we’re done. So we fought every game. We played hard every night, every shift. We got results and we go to the playoffs. We got the experience to help us this year. We know if you win in the beginning of the year, and we try to win every game, it’s going to be better for the end of the year.”
The Capitals have gotten off to a good start this season and came into Tuesday’s game atop the Southeast Division at 20-11-3.
They have goaltending issues, with the free-agent import José Théodore failing to grab the No. 1 job outright and sharing duties with Brent Johnson.
They also have injury issues, with Alexander Semin, their sniper of a left wing, in and out of the lineup with back problems, and each of their top four defenseman struggling with injuries.
But the Capitals are very much Ovechkin and Boudreau’s team, with the supporting cast expected to fill specific roles. Success has come from the top.
“I know the common denominators are mutual respect,” said Rangers Coach Tom Renney, a longtime friend and colleague of Boudreau’s. “As a coach, we don’t know it all. We shouldn’t pretend we do. Bruce is very much like that. But at the same time, he knows where to draw the line. I think his athletes know that, even his star people.
“The fact of the matter is, he’s got one of the most committed, hard-working, intelligent players in the game playing for him. Not to take anything away from Bruce, but it sounds like a nice package.”
Photo from Stan Fischler's post named "Al Ovechkin Isn't Bringing Any Gifts"
Look at this picture, just look, 60% :-) of Caps are gone from it, and they're still winning... Al Ovechkin IS bringing Christmas gifts to Caps fans. Thank you, Al, I mean, Santa...
...but there are two stick skills – scoring and faceoffs – where his performance has been far less than superstar-like.
...Simply put, Crosby’s shot isn’t great.
...On faceoffs, Crosby is 65th in the league and has never finished in the top 40. He’s had a success rate of better than 50 percent just once in his career.
...It’s clear so far that Crosby, while reasonably productive as a goal-scorer, is simply not in the class of Ovechkin, or Jarome Iginla. When it comes to goals, Crosby is clearly among a second tier of guys such as Daniel Briere, Martin St-Louis, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash and Jason Spezza.
...Great things have been predicted for Crosby for years, but the difference between being ultimately remembered as a great player and being one of the greatest of all-time will, in my opinion, depend on whether or not he can pick up his goal-scoring clip to an all-world level.
And I would add that Crosby needs another entire NHL season to score as many or be close to what Ovechkin has already scored... Entire NHL season! Sorry, Sid, Ovie is not gonna wait for you. :-)
Monday, December 22, 2008
Puck Daddy, Yahoo! Sports, Dec. 22, 2008:
Victor Kozlov talks about life in the NHL and Ovechkin:
What's the most difficult about playing with Ovechkin?
Ovechkin? There is absolutely nothing difficult about it. Just pass to him and move forward. When you are playing with Alex it is actually easier to play, because he draws a lot of attention from defensemen, so Nicky [Backstrom] or another partner has more time and space to create chances.
Playing with Ovechkin on the same line. Is this the reason you started putting up points lately? Or maybe because you have recovered from your injury?
Of course it is more difficult to play with injuries. Also you get a lot of pleasure playing with guys who give you the puck and create chances. I enjoy playing on any line in Washington. It's just the injuries.
You have played with both Ovechkin and Pavel Bure. What are the differences between them?
The difference is that they are both great high scoring forwards, both love winning, but Ovechkin is amongst the league leaders in hits. That's the difference. You saw that game in Toronto when he was hitting people left and right. Every game he hits people. That's the whole difference.
Maybe you should tell him to be a little more careful throwing hits because he might get injured.
Look, he is such a big guy. A hog!
Lindros was also a big guy.
No, that's different. Eric was a more 'straightforward' kind of player. A really big guy. He could move opponents away with one hand. And Eric didn't really see the ice that well. Just remember that Scott Stevens' hit on him. That's because he started skating towards the center ice with his head down. But Alex sees everything very well. Not only can he get away from being hit, he can also hit the guy coming towards him. A lot of guys don't expect that. They think ‘I am coming to get you.' And Alex has that very good feeling, an extra strain in his body, he moves his body forward a little bit and just kills the guy coming to hit him.
Why does he always hit Malkin?
He does? Really? I don't even know. It looks like Alex doesn't have any friend when he's on the ice. So I wouldn't want to play against Ovechkin.
Kasparaitis used to enjoy hitting people.
Yes, he really did. And then sometimes he'd laugh after the hit. But everyone thought of him as a nice guy. But on the ice you'd hear ‘You this and that,' hit him with a stick. And he is happy. What can you do?
Ovechkin opened his own clothing line recently. Did he give you a present?
I have a hat. He didn't sign it, but I have a picture with him as proof that we have met.
What car are you driving these days? And what's your dream car?
I had a BMW X5, but I sold it. Now I own a black Mercedes, it is my dream car. An S 63 AMG. It has a little less than Ovechkin's 65, but enough for me. Police are happy when they see me.
Because they caught me a couple of times. I don't know where Ovechkin and Semin can race, because here police hide behind every bush.
And when cops stop you, do they recognize you?
Sometimes. They let me go a couple of times. But once I got pulled over and the cop game me four points. I decided to go to court. I talked to my lawyer, who told me that he couldn't guarantee anything but wanted to take my money for his work. And I told him ‘What do I need you for if you can't guarantee anything?' So I am not stuck with four points.
Maybe that cop was a Pittsburgh fan?
I don't know. For seven years, I had no problems driving up I-95. And last year I relaxed a little bit and was caught doing 100 miles per hour in North Carolina. It was an undercover cop, and I wasn't paying attention, thought of something, and passed him in an unmarked car. He then caught up with me and asked why I was in such a hurry. I told him of being very tired, wanting to get home soon. He was very nice and only gave me a fine that I had to pay.
ARLINGTON, Va., – The Washington Capitals and the team's Wives Club raised $18,450 through their Happy Hockey Holiday Silent Auction on Thursday, Dec. 18, at the team’s game vs. St. Louis Blues. All the money raised will benefit Washington Capitals Charities.
Ovechkin and Semin’s basket – which included an autographed Ovechkin CCM hat, a need for speed PS 3 game, a poker set and a Teatro Goldoni $100 gift card, among other items – raised the most money at $5,000.
Boudreau’s basket went for $2,100, while Backstrom and Laich’s basket and Johnson and Theodore’s basket went for $2,000 each.
Three other baskets went for more than $1,000: Nylander’s ($1,250), Fedorov’s ($1,100) and Clark and Pothier’s ($1,100).
H/t to blog's reader Kim Cunningham
Another moment of truth coming from the great hockey nation's writers: Ovechkin is the best! Whatever you say, Bob Mckenzie, about buying Canadian, your fellow countrymen seem to disagree...
By TED WYMAN, Toronto Sun, Dec. 21, 2008 "Cream of the crop: Top 10 current NHL players":
There's no exact science to determine the best player in the NHL.
After all, players play different positions with different styles and differing levels of ability in certain aspects of the game. There are so many factors to consider.
So, in order to compile our third annual list of the top 10 current NHL players, we decided on a democratic vote of Sun Media hockey writers from across the nation.
The Panel: Denis Poissant, Andre Cyr (Journal de Montreal), Bruce Garrioch, Chris Stevenson (Ottawa Sun), Steve Simmons, Terry Koshan, Mike Zeisberger, Rob Longley (Toronto Sun), Ryan Pyette, Morris Dalla-Costa (London Free Press), Ken Wiebe, Adam Wazny (Winnipeg Sun), Robert Tychkowski, Terry Jones, Derek Van Diest (Edmonton Sun), Eric Francis, Randy Sportak, Steve MacFarlane (Calgary Sun).
Eighteen ballots submitted, 18 very different lists.
1. ALEX OVECHKIN, WASHINGTON CAPITALS (162 VOTING POINTS)
Few players in the history of the NHL have a better ability to dominate a game than this 23-year-old Russian. Ovechkin is a born goal-scorer, who tallied 65 times en route to winning the Hart, Art Ross and Maurice Richard Trophies in 2007. He also plays with a remarkable amount of toughness and is not afraid to throw his 6-foot-2, 213-pound frame around. He has an absolutely deadly shot, which he will use from anywhere on the ice, and is a human highlight reel who is on pace for 50 goals and 111 points this season.
2. SIDNEY CROSBY, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (157 VOTING POINTS)
For the first time in the three-year history of this top-10 poll, Crosby is not at the top of the list...
3. EVGENI MALKIN, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (121 VOTING POINTS)
He didn't make this list a year ago, but really developed into an NHL star in the second half of last season.
4. ROBERTO LUONGO, VANCOUVER CANUCKS (91 VOTING POINTS)
5. NICKLAS LIDSTROM, DETROIT RED WINGS (84 VOTING POINTS)
6. JAROME IGINLA, CALGARY FLAMES (83 VOTING POINTS)
7. JOE THORNTON, SAN JOSE SHARKS (49 VOTING POINTS)
8. HENRIK ZETTERBERG, DETROIT RED WINGS (45 VOTING POINTS)
9. RYAN GETZLAF, ANAHEIM DUCKS (25 VOTING POINTS)
10. MIKE RICHARDS, PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (23 VOTING POINTS)
2007 Top 10
1. Sidney Crosby
2. Vincent Lecavalier
3. Roberto Luongo
4. Nicklas Lidstrom
5. Jarome Iginla
6. Alex Ovechkin
7. Chris Pronger
8. Ilya Kovalchuk
9. Henrik Zetterberg
10. Daniel Alfredsson
Sunday, December 21, 2008
By James Duthie, The Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 20, 2008:
2005 North Dakota
This wasn't a world junior tournament, it was a future NHL All-Star Game preview. The NHL lockout made every junior-age player available.
The Russians had Ovechkin and Malkin. Canada had ... well ... EVERYONE. Sidney Crosby, Dion Phaneuf, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Cory Perry, Shea Weber, Jeff Carter, Patrice Bergeron ... .
"They were sick. We're lucky we didn't play them because they would have slaughtered us," says Robbie Schremp, one of the American stars that year. "They were this unstoppable train, and it was a good thing we weren't on the track."
So much for cocky Americans.
"I sat in the crowd for the gold-medal game and the Canadian fans were nuts," says Schremp. "It was kind of insulting, sitting in your own country, watching Canada kick the crap out of Russia in front of nothing but crazy cheering Canadians."
You think he was mad?
Try being Ovechkin, physically targeted the entire gold-medal game and then finally knocked out with a shoulder injury.
"I remember coming back to the bench and watching. It was not too fun," Ovechkin says (understatement due to translation, I'm guessing).
And when Canadian players bring it up these days?
"I just mention the world championship last year," he says with a chuckle.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Update on Semin's injury... D. Checnokov (SovSport, Dec. 20, 2008):
Alexander couldn't even leave after the game by himself. His back was hurting so bad that he couldn't get behind the steering wheel.
"I've already seen the doctor", said Semin with unhappy voice. "I think I was hit in a nerve and it pinched. I can barely walk. I have no idea now how many games I'll have to miss. I felt sick in the morning. Right now I feel worse than yesterday. I am saving myself with pain killers... I am so tired of these injuries. I was barely able to heal one injury, was able to shoot [the puck]. And now another one. God, when this will all end?"
Chesnokov also met Varlamov's Dad...
Simeon Varlamov got the loudest ovation before the game. And this was only his the second game of his NHL career! Alexander Varlamov, Simeon's father, who came to the game from Hershey, was rooting for his son from the stands. I met him during the second break in the hall of Verizon center. The goalkeeper's Dad patted on his bag and sighed: "I carry Validol with me. I am very worried for Senya [Simeon]."
"Now allow me a few words without a protocol. What family and school is teaching us?" Varlamov's Dad quoted Vysotsky. Here we go, time has come to check how good we are, it's about Senya's training and working hard for all these years. I was very surprised that the fans welcomed my son so well. He just played only one game against Montreal (2:1).
- But what a game it was...
- He played at the insane level, I agree. But they don't know my boy yet. What will be next?
Next is going back to Hershey... :-)