Kukla's Korner Hockey
Easy question tonight- Who wins?
from Slava Malamud at NHL.com,
It’s the Stanley Cup Playoffs’ marquee series, and even those members of the Caps’ Russian contingent who are not capable of giving interviews in English are in high demand, forcing Russian hockey writers like myself into moonlighting as interpreters. But my real job this night will involve writing another 3,000-word article on the Capitals, the Penguins and their Russian stars, which will likely make front-page news at home. I can also be quite sure that the next day my editors will be on the phone screaming for more. This at the time the World Championships are being played in Europe – unthinkable!
Yes, Russia has gone certifiably crazy for the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin. The latter’s popularity in particular has eclipsed all conceivable limits and has reached the point where it is actually becoming fashionable to hate Alex, if for no other reason than bucking the national trend.
from Reed Albergotti of the Wall Street Journal (written before last night’s game),
In Washington, where the Capitals have long been the poor stepchild to football’s Redskins, Mike Kardash, an attorney in Gainesville, Va., dumped his Redskins tickets two seasons ago and began attending more Capitals games. “It’s just more fun to watch,” he says, comparing Mr. Ovechkin to longtime Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington, for his bruising hits and speed. Mr. Ovechkin, he says, “he’s why people go.”
more & thanks to a KK member for the WSJ pointer…
via Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
Hockey Night In Canada was to get the official freeze out from the Washington Capitals last night at Mellon Arena.
CBC producers were told yesterday that cameras not only weren’t welcome in the team’s dressing room, but the public broadcaster would not be granted between-period interviews during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semi-final between the Caps and Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Caps still are upset that the CBC aired footage prior to Wednesday’s Game 3 that included strategic information on the team’s dressing room white board.
A team official said the ban is “indefinite” and will preclude CBC reporter Elliotte Friedman from interviewing players during intermissions both last night and for tonight’s Game 5.
update 9:32am, It is my understanding the Capitals now will allow intermission interviews.
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider at the Washington Post,
Opinions among the media varied regarding Ovechkin’s right knee to right knee hit on Sergei Gonchar at the end of the first period. Gonchar had to be helped off the ice and speculation around here is that it could be serious. We should know more in the morning.
We should also know tomorrow morning whether the league felt the hit warranted a fine or suspension.
“It tried to hit him and he tried to move to his left, and I don’t have time to realize what is going on and I hit [him with] my knee,” Ovechkin said. “It was accident. I’m not the kind of guy who wants to injure a player like this, especially [because] I know Gonch. I tried to hit him with my shoulder and he moved left but his legs were in the same spot.”
A couple of Penguins had a different take on it.
added 8:14am, Craig Custance of Sporting News Today says it is hard to imagine the NHL suspending Ovechkin with the Capitals playing their biggest game of the year tonight.
Watch the CBC view of the play…
added 8:54pm, via Scott Burnside of ESPN,
...just the replay a couple of times in the press box and it definitely looked like Ovechkin stuck out his knee and took Gonchar knee-on-knee as the Pens defenseman tried to spin away from the Caps star. Now, it’s not quite Bryan Marchment, but it was definitely a dangerous play. And seeing Gonchar writhing on the ice by himself while the play went into the Capitals’ zone on the delayed penalty was pretty scary.
Directing more shots at Varlamov and getting more bodies in front of him probably will be the plan for Pittsburgh, which could tie the best-of-seven series at two games apiece with a Game 4 victory Friday.
Malkin, who was criticized for his play in the first two games, beat Varlamov from the slot on Wednesday when his shot whizzed by teammate Bill Guerin, who was positioned in front of the Washington netminder.
“Just trying to do my part,” said Guerin, who has two assists in the series.
Hockey Night in Canada analyst Mike Milbury wants the former New York Islander to do more, suggesting to viewers that the Penguins run Varlamov over, like Malkin did in Game 3.
Fellow HNIC panelist Kelly Hrudey took a different tact and suggested Pittsburgh players get in the goalie’s face more often.
“He hasn’t faced a lot of the pressure that the other [playoff goalies] have, right in his face,” said Hrudey. “Here’s a kid [in Varlamov] that looks like he has so much energy and so much quickness.… He’s aggressive enough when he needs to be and he’s patient enough when another opportunity is there.”
via Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
A big bus pulls up and undercover security leaps out, scowling through their dark glasses and cordoning off the sidewalk. A Globe journalist, fully credentialed, was even blocked from entering the walkway to the garage The area secured, the bus door opened again and a grim-faced Alexander Ovechkin fast-marched to the rink, followed by the rest of the Washington Capitals.
Such is the world of goofy 17-year-olds mouthing off in the digital age.
Lisa Hillary of Comcast Sportsnet in Washington was doing a report after the game between Capitals and the Penguins on Monday night at the Verizon Center when a large rat ran in front of her…
Any predictions? With a win tonight, both Washington and Carolina can go up 3-1 in their series.
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
Thank goodness for that patch of lousy ice. Thank goodness for the ice that Bruce Boudreau called “sticky” and Alexander Ovechkin called “just a mess” and which, according to the Washington Capitals star, was about the only thing keeping his team from taking a 3-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins the other night.
“In overtime, ice was just a mess, pucks just bouncing and stuff,” Ovechkin said, a touch grumpily, after his team’s 3-2 overtime loss Wednesday. “We have three-on-two, [Hal] Gill goes down and I have probably 100% chance to score goal. But puck just stopped moving.”
Good thing, too. Because that particular puck stopped moving, what could have been a blowout is now a series, and one whose temperature is rising. We are being treated to complaining about the referees, occasional speculation about illegal sticks, and two young and thrilling teams that have played three fast and thrilling games.
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.
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