Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Katie Carrera of the Washington Post,
Through two games, Crosby has accounted for four of the Penguins’ five goals, and three of his tallies have come while standing atop the Washington crease. Coach Bruce Boudreau said that without the Capitals taking penalties against Crosby every shift, it’s likely the Penguins center will continue to position himself in front of or next to goaltender Simeon Varlamov.
“We’ve got to make sure that we eliminate him,” Mike Green said. “[In Game 2] there was two times where pucks bounce off legs and in the blink of an eye he’s got it on his stick. Definitely have to be more aware of it, but you live and you learn. It’s just his presence around the net. If he’s not able to have any room or you get more in his face, then maybe he won’t have that opportunity to score.”
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
Children love his absolute joy of playing. They love the leap into the boards after every goal. They love the new Hip Bump with which 23-year-old Ovechkin and young 21-year-old Nicklas Backstrom celebrate victories. They loved Ovechkin’s clown getup for the shooting competition at the all-star game. And they loved his stick-on-fire routine following his 50th goal of the season.
Don Cherry attacked Ovechkin for this on Coach’s Corner, and the support for Ovechkin’s bringing a little delight to the game was so overwhelming that, in subsequent weeks, Cherry backed off and even began praising the Russian star.
Ovechkin is not only good for the game, he is becoming the game, just as only Gretzky has done previously.
From Dmitry Chesnokov at Puck Daddy:
Q. I know that you get really tired of this question. But this series thus far is exactly what the NHL wanted: Crosby vs. Ovechkin.
OVECHKIN: I am tired of this… This is a game. Two teams are playing, and not just two players. What must not be forgotten are those chances that our teams create for us. Yes, we score goals. Yes, our names are announced as stars of the game. But if it weren’t for our teammates, the guys who create those chances, we wouldn’t be anywhere.
much more from Ovechkin, plus Sergei Gonchar, and Simeon Varlamov
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Alex Ovechkin was hoping for more, but Pittsburgh Penguins wing Chris Kunitz will not be suspended by the NHL for his late-game hit to the neck area of Capitals goalie Simeon Varlamov seconds before Sidney Crosby scored his third goal of Game 2 with 30.4 seconds left in the third period.
League officials confirmed that the tape has been reviewed.
Tuesday morning Ovechkin called the play “dirty” and said, “I think the League has to do something about it. It’s a cheap shot and it’s not good for hockey.”
This surprises me: Ovechkin and Crosby’s matching hat tricks is only the fourth such occurrence in Stanley Cup playoff history. The other three times were:
April 25th, 1996 - Trevor Linden, Vancouver and Joe Sakic, Colorado
April 26th, 1993 - Ray Ferraro, NY Islanders and Al Iafrate, Washington
April 14th, 1983 - Paul Reinhart, Calgary and Mark Messier, Edmonton
added 9:42am, from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,
“When Crosby gets one, then Ovie comes back with a couple, and then Crosby gets another, and Ovie gets another,” Capitals forward Brooks Laich said. “It’s unbelievable to see two of the best going at it like that. . . . In the biggest moments, usually your biggest guys step to the front. That’s what Alex did tonight.”
In the Pittsburgh locker room, the Penguins said the same about Crosby. Thus, in the series’ first two games—both won by Washington—unmatchable hype is being matched, because the two best players have four goals apiece and are delivering the kind of performances that forge true rivalries.
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
On Monday night in Washington, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin pushed one another to the highest of levels, raising their games to places only the best can reach. Maybe it wasn’t a Game 7. Maybe it wasn’t the Stanley Cup final. But it was something special, something spectacular, something we can only hope to see again.
When it was over, the home crowd booed as Crosby, who did not appear, was named the second star. I was disappointed in that, and hope those people reconsider. Crosby deserved respect for his brilliance in defeat, as much respect as Ovechkin deserved for his greatness in victory.
The Crosby vs. Ovechkin debate should be retired after this one. If you love sports, you can like both. You can recognize that these are the best young players since Gretzky and Lemieux.
added 7:16am, from John Buccigross of ESPN,
In the opening scene of “Batman and Robin,” Chris O’Donnell (Robin) and George Clooney (Batman) fight Arnold Schwarzenegger and his legion of ice-skating villains. At one point, Robin turns to Batman and says, “This is a hockey team from hell.”
Playing against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in D.C. can sometimes feel like that. Ovechkin, feeding off the energy of the home crowd like a solar panel, becomes a hockey player from hell. On ice. You can tie your CCMs with those laces of irony.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are Pittsburgh’s Batman and Robin fighting Ovechkin and his waves of teammates. Pittsburgh has complementary pieces, but make no mistake, the Penguins will only go as far as Batman and Robin will take them.
Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins with a stick to the throat of Capitals goaltender Simeon Varlamov last night…
from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,
If you’re one of the best hockey players in the world, and you have a potentially undeserved reputation for excessive complaining, and you’re asked what you were discussing with a game official following your rival’s game-clinching playoff hat trick, you could potentially say, “Oh, it was nothing.” Or, if you were feeling frisky, you could venture further afield.
“People kept throwing hats,” Sidney Crosby said tonight. “I was just asking if he could make an announcement to ask them to stop. I mean, the first wave came and then I think they were all pretty much picked up, and then more started coming. So for us, we just wanted to make sure we kept kind of moving and kept the game going, wanted to try to get back in it. So wasn’t complaining about anything.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Interesting morning down at the Verizon Center in advance of Monday night’s Game 2. …
• First, it continues to boggle the mind that the NHL chooses not to force the Penguins and Caps—or, frankly, any two teams during the playoffs—to take the morning skate in the same building.
The Caps don’t like to skate at Verizon Center on game days, choosing most often to skate at their practice facility in Arlington, Va. Fair enough, but for the media covering the series—and, really, isn’t it always all about the media?—travel between the two sites on the morning of a game is difficult, not to mention annoying….
continued with more pre-game notes…
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
The one guy who knew Simeon Varlamov really well - better than anybody else on the Washington Capitals, probably - was Dave Prior, the team’s goaltending coach, and he didn’t want to use him. Sure, José Theodore had been ventilated in the first game of the playoffs, and Washington’s whole enterprise was suddenly unsure.
But though Varlamov had played well in his six regular-season appearances, Prior didn’t know if the silent Russian kid could handle playoff hockey, playoff pressure. Nobody did.
“Well, it wasn’t an easy choice,” said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau Sunday. “I lost hair over that one.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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