Alex Ovechkin practises with the Washington Capitals at GM Place in Vancouver on Thursday. The Capitals take on the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, Vancouver Sun.
TarikElBashir: Alex Ovechkin just received an ovation from a portion of the crowd here at GM Place as the two-time MVP left the ice following warmups.
By Jim Matheson, EdmontonJournal.com, DEC. 19, 2009
EDMONTON - The Travelling Ovechkin circus hits Rexall Place tonight with much the same hype as the ‘80s-era Oilers when Wayne Gretzky led his merry band on the road and everybody wanted a piece out of No. 99.
And everybody wanted to talk about Ovechkin’s skills — even people whose job is to find a way to beat the two-time league MVP.
“We don’t see him enough out here. He’s a wonderful talent ... he’s a real gift to our NHL game,” said Oilers’ coach Pat Quinn, who is clearly a fan as much as an adversary of the 240-goal player.
“Great players will make their great plays ... you need a team to nullify them. He’s got a good surrounding cast, too. You can’t forget that,” said Quinn.
The Caps will dress their backup goalie Michal Neuvirth rather than Jose Theodore. Neuvirth has played two games, lost both, with an .845 save percentage and 4.56 average.
What is Caps’ coach Bruce Boudreau, who is seeing The House That Gretzky Built for the very first time (he was never here as a player), hoping for from Neuvirth?
“Some saves,” said Boudreau, who will also dress forward Quintin Laing, who will be skating with a full faceshield to protect a broken jaw. He’s missed 14 games. Laing’s dad Billy played for the World Hockey Association Oilers in their early days, and is driving in from Saskatchewan to see his boy.