Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
On the heels of an MVP-calibre season in which he scored 65 goals, added 47 assists and led the Washington Capitals into an unlikely playoff berth, the 22-year-old’s marketing representatives are close to announcing Ovechkin’s first major sponsorship contracts.
In the works are deals with Ferrari and U.S. mobile phone company Verizon, says Konstantin Selinevich, who spearheads Ovechkin’s off-ice business relationships. Selinevich says talks continue with others, including Coca-Cola. Just last month, the Wasserman Media Group, a powerful sports marketing agency in Los Angeles, was hired to buttress efforts to land endorsements for Ovechkin.
While the star already has sponsor agreements with Reebok’s CCM brand, trading-card company Upper Deck and Hype, an energy drink, none has put much marketing muscle behind him. (Selinevich says that will change this summer when Reebok rolls out an Ovechkin clothing line.)
From Tarik El-Bashir at the Washington Post,
...just hours after an excruciating overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, one absence was conspicuous.
Veteran goaltender Olie Kolzig had cleaned out his locker stall and left the building, skipping the mandatory meeting. He did not speak to reporters. After Monday’s 3-2 loss at Verizon Center, he stripped his name tag off of his locker stall.
Kolzig, a fixture in the Capitals’ net for a decade before being essentially replaced by trade-deadline arrival Cristobal Huet, did not play after a 5-0 loss in Chicago on March 19. In recent weeks, Kolzig seemed increasingly detached as Huet led the Capitals to the franchise’s first playoff berth in five years. Kolzig, 38, did not return a message left on his cellphone, and his agent, Art Breeze, declined to describe his client’s thought process, other than to say: “The choice will be Olie’s as to where he plays next year…”
continued… with more post-season Capitals talk (reg. required)
Update 1:20pm ET: El-Bashir hears from Kolzig and updates at his blog,
First, Kolzig said he doesn’t want to give any interviews for a few days as he collects his thoughts. He said he obviously has some decisions to make and will talk soon.
Second, he also said he didn’t remove his nameplate from his locker stall at Verizon Center out of anger. He acknowledged that the Caps’ Game 7 loss to Philly could “possibly” have been his last game in Washington, so he wanted to take the nameplate as a memento. He plans to frame it with a jersey.
Today’s NHL media conference call brought together Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Nicklas Backstrom from Washington. Earlier today all three were named as finalists for the Calder Trophy Award for the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.
Here is a transcript from that Q&A session.
Q. For Patrick and Jonathan, going after the same award, how do the two of you feel about that?
via the AP via Yahoo,
Coach Bruce Boudreau has been given a contract to stay with the Washington Capitals, a reward for leading the team from last in the NHL to a Southeast Division title.
Capitals general manager George McPhee said Wednesday: “He’s our coach. He’s under contract ... for a long time.”
added 2:28pm, more on the Caps at Capitals Insider...
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
For some reason I found myself referring to Chris Clark, the Capitals’ injured right wing, as “Clarkie” the other day, as in, “What’s Clarkie doing sitting up here in the press box?”
It didn’t feel chummy or corny, of which it was probably both. It felt oddly natural, like my friend who walked up to Donald Brashear yesterday and said, “What’s up, Brash?” as the Caps’ enforcer winked at the notion of a virtual stranger knowing his nickname. Ovie the Kid. Olie the Elder. Greenie. Feds. Brooksie. And, yes, “Gabby,” Bruce Boudreau, that chatterbox coach from Hershey, whose wry humor and spare honesty disarmed most anyone interested in his hockey team.
They let Washington into their world the past five months, into their clubhouse—a grown-up bunch of Lil’ Rascals, armed with sticks and pucks. They fell to a more focused Flyers team that taught them a good lesson about playoff hockey:
Let’s just hope the Washington media who recently discovered that Washington has a hockey team, doesn’t forget about them next year!
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
And the performance of the duo of veteran referees Don Koharski and Paul Devorski in Philadelphia’s 3-2 overtime win over Washington Tuesday has to be noted, because it was simply abhorrent.
If there were a way to get a police sketch artist to encapsulate Koharski and Devorski’s wildly varying in-game assessments – featured by a stretch in which no penalties were called from the 13:27 mark of the second period to Tom Poti’s chintzy tripping minor 4:15 into OT that led to Joffrey Lupul’s game-winner at 6:06 – I’d transfer that image to thousands of Wanted: Dead Or Alive posters and start fundraising immediately to raise as much money as possible for a reward.
Making matters worse, if it weren’t for another blown call in the second period, the Caps might’ve won their Eastern Conference first-round series in regulation time.
Update 3:35pm ET: Jamie Fitzpatrick writes a response to Proteau’s comments at About.com
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens, whose victory provided the backdrop for the disturbances, weighed in with regrets yesterday. Team president Pierre Boivin said: “We wish for celebrations to take place in the traditional spirit of happiness and respect of our sport that brings us together.”
But it was ironic that Boivin added: “We ask our fans to show the same public-spiritedness as they do in the Bell Centre.”
For the record, there was a distinct lack of civility at the Bell Centre Monday night as fans shouted and booed while Charles Prévost-Linton sang the U.S. national anthem.
It wasn’t like that in the good ol’ days.
from Greg Wyshynski at Yahoo,
...it was rather embarrassing to see those same fans litter the ice with rally rags, food, beer and the whatever containers had housed said beer after the Capitals’ 3-2 overtime loss in Game 7 last night to the Philadelphia Flyers. We’re talking pools of overpriced brew that splashed on the ice near where the Flyers were celebrated Joffrey Lupul’s game-winner, and showers of concessionary debris that kept falling during the postgame handshake—and post-series interviews, like this one with Jeff Carter:
more and watch the video…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
They played their hearts out,” Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game. “They laid it on the line like you knew they would. That’s probably why they’re so sad.”
What did Boudreau say to his boys afterward, before reporters swarmed in to record the Caps’ disappointment?
“I just told them that they’d given me the greatest year of my life and I thanked them,” he said. “We’ll talk tomorrow. They don’t want to hear too much and I couldn’t say too much at that point.”
Tonight’s highly anticipated faceoff in Washington features a few players with some game 7 experience. The Flyers available lineup tonight features 7 players with 15 games experience in this situation; the Capitals boast 6 players with 16 games experience.
Only Washington’s Matt Cooke and Sergei Fedorov have ever scored in a game 7 situation.
But does any of this matter? And who will come out on top?
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
But here the kid was in Game 6, needing to score—needing to put a volume of shots on goal because nothing else seemed to be working. He came through brilliantly. His ungodly 13-year, $124 million contract doesn’t kick in until next year, but Ovechkin was poised for criticism this postseason if he couldn’t find the net again.
In a blink he morphed into something none of his teammates had seen for days—from Alex the Awestruck to Ovie the Incomparable, all his talent and power shown in full. And now it’s one game for everything in this first-round classic.
more (reg. req.)
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org