Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Slava Malamud, contributing at Tarik El-Bashir’s blog in the Washington Post:
And here is what we could learn about the assorted feuds of the Alexes, the Kid and Malkin. You can believe me when I say that Russian journalists would much rather write about goals and wins, but since this story is apparently a gift that keeps on giving, we deemed appropriate to get further into it.
For one, Alex Ovechkin apparently speaks to Sidney Crosby. Loud and clear at that, to the point where all the teammates of both players and a couple of officials would like to gather around and partake in the exchange. And here is another thing: Alexander Semin also speaks to Crosby. At least, according to Evgeni Malkin, and that is a bit of a surprise, to say the least. And here is the third thing: Ovechkin and Malkin - nope, still not talking to each other, presumably, because both are so busy talking to Crosby.
Sheesh. This story is turning into some sort of odd Russian love triangle/feud, with a stray Canadian tossed into the mix. Read on for quotes after last night’s Pens-Caps game.
I always give big hits, so if I have a chance to hit him, why not? We both play in [the] Russian national team, so it’s not a rivalry. We’re not friends [but] we can still talk to one another.”
-Alexander Ovechkin talking about Evgeni Malkin. Much more at Capitals Insider as the Penguins and Capitals prepare to meet tonight…
from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,
The Capitals committed ghastly turnovers, took bad penalties, were outworked at both ends and suffered another humbling defeat, this one by the score of 5-2 to an Oilers team that didn’t have its leading scorer and came to Washington 17 spots behind the Capitals in the league standings.
“When it gets to the point that everyone wants to be the scorer but no one wants to be the mucker, you’re not going to do anything,” Boudreau said. “They’re lucky there’s no practice tomorrow.”
‘‘We’ll stick up (for Malkin), like you would for any teammate. They’re intense, physical games and as long as that’s the way they stay, that’s safe. But if there’s deliberate intent to hurt someone, you kind of step outside the line a bit, you have to make sure you stick up for your teammate.’‘
-Sidney Crosby speaking about the game tomorrow against the Washington Capitals. More from the CP via TSN.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Statistically, the gap between the two rivals is modest. At the moment, the Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin is second in the NHL scoring race and leads the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby by just two points….
In the 3 1/2 years they’ve been in the league, Crosby and Ovechkin have developed a Magic Johnson-Larry Bird sort of rivalry. Ovechkin won the Calder Memorial Trophy in their rookie seasons, ahead of Crosby, who is 20 months younger but joined the league the same year as a result of the lockout. Crosby won the MVP in Year 2; and Ovechkin took it last year, a season in which Crosby was out of the race early as a result of the 29 games he missed because of a high ankle sprain.
This year, Ovechkin’s advantage stems largely from team success. The Capitals are off to an excellent start, despite massive injuries, while the Penguins waddle along, their herd thinned by free-agent defections and an inability to handle their casualties as well as the Caps.
But half a season does not a year make and a healthy and motivated Crosby may still have something to say about the scoring and MVP races before all is said and done.
from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,
Later, I briefly asked Ovechkin whether he was really trying to pick up fighting tips from Brashear, and he clarified, saying he wants to be prepared just in case anything happens, but that he has no intention of becoming a brawler.
“Show me how I have to do something if somebody grab me,” he said he asked Brashear. “It’s normal thing. I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to get hurt. I’m terrible fighter. Probably worse than Sasha.”
Earlier, Ovechkin had joked that Semin “hits pretty cool, actually,” but when another media person now asked jokingly about Semin’s fight, Ovechkin bristled a bit.
“Well, he do it for our team,” he said of Semin. “And he fight. I want to see if you go over there and fight with Staal, and how you’re gonna be fighting.”
from Japers’ Rink,
This morning I noted that “On this date back in 1998, Dale Hunter had three helpers and reached the 1,000 point plateau, becoming the first - and still only - player in NHL history with 1,000 points and 3,000 PIMs in a career.”
Maruk commented that Huntsy may be the only member to ever enter that exclusive club, and while you never say never… he’s probably right. A quick glance at the active Top 100 in points and PIMs makes you realize that it’s unlikely anyone currently playing is going to reach the double milestone, but let’s take a look at just how unlikely.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have partnered with AOL to create the first ever Capitals email domain along with a toolbar to keep fans up-to-date with the Capitals.
The AOL affinity email is free to sign up and the user can view their Capitals email from anywhere in the world. There are four different domains; CapsHockeyFan.com, MyCapitalsMail.com, CapsRed.com and CapsFanatic.com. The user can copy their address book and emails from another account, while sharing Capitals hockey with friends and family. Fans can find the email domain and toolbar at http://capitals.nhl.com/fanzone/caps_aol.htm.
from the CP via TSN,
...Their coach and some other members of the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference were a tad less diplomatic.
“We know on merit that Nick and Mike and maybe Alex Semin should all be on that, but that’s not how the scenario goes and it’s not because they don’t deserve to be on that,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s the way the whole thing is situated - the way they pick.”
Goalie Jose Theodore, twice an all-star for other teams, also spoke strongly.
“There are some stars but it’s not all the stars,” Theodore said. “The league should really review the system.”
from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post,
All over Washington, just when few thought it would ever happen, Caps craziness, Rock-the-Red fever, a region-wide Great Eight debate, has exploded.
Just one year ago, the Caps had only one sellout crowd halfway through their season and wouldn’t get their second full house until Feb. 24. The sport was still dormant, kept viable by the adoration of a devoted fan base but a whisper to casual fans. Now the Capitals are storming the city.
So far this season, Verizon Center has been 98 percent sold out, an increase of 31.5 percent in attendance.
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