Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
If the Washington Capitals aren’t nervous about becoming victims of a first-round sweep, they should be….
You may be wondering — now that the series is two-zip in New York’s favor — why Washington’s weaknesses haven’t been more actively advertised.
The answer is evident: so much hype has centered on Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green & Co. that the automatic tendency is to overlook the fact that hockey still is a team game.
Brandon Dubinsky & Alex OvechkinTherefore, if you have a sieve for a goaltender, an inept defense and generally weak support beyond Ovie and friends, the chances are that you’re going to be susceptible to defeat. And since Alexander The Great scored in neither of the first two games, Washington’s Achilles heels were egregiously exposed.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Ovechkin is trying. He wants to win so badly. But the bottom line is that he has zero goals in this series and his team has zero wins. Forget the Hart and Rocket Richard trophies he already has on his impressive résumé. We’re about to find out whether he’s a winner. Or a leader. Or either.
It’s unfair to lay the entire blame on No. 8 for his second-seeded club’s being down 2-0, shockingly, to the seventh-seeded Rangers. But part of the deal when you make $9 million a year is to shoulder the largest responsibility for your team. No one can question his desire to win, but now he must show he can find a way when the going gets tough.
Yes, Alex, the Rangers are blocking a lot of your wrist shots, and that’s a bummer. Well, find another way. Make better use of your linemates. Adjust your game.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Boudreau tried to bite his lip as best he could, but he was clearly unimpressed with the work of the officiating crew in Saturday’s 1-0 loss, insinuating that all the talk from Rangers coach John Tortorella about the Game 1 officiating had an effect in the next game.
“Well, yeah, I am frustrated with it,” Boudreau said. “They [the Rangers] talk about the refereeing and all of a sudden, you don’t get a power play for 40 minutes. And the call they called on them was sort of like, ‘Better make a call’ because it wasn’t much of a call.”
Boudreau pointed to his team’s five minor penalties.
“Go back and look at them and see how many were deserved,” he said. “Then you’ll find out there wasn’t very much of a disciplinary problem.”
more on the Capitals…
Capitals beat writer Tarik El-Bashir & Washington Post columnist Mike Wise discuss the chances of the Capitals making up a 0-2 series deficit against the Rangers.
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from Stan Fischler of Game On,
Should Alex Ovechkin’s name be changed to Ov-NYET-kin?
That’s NYET, as in nothing. Zip. Zilch goals in two playoff games as he heads for Broadway looking more like a bit player hidden among the headlining Rangers as Henny Lundqvist blanked Ovie and his Capitals, 1-0, on Saturday in our nation’s capital.
“We battled all three periods” says the Blueshirts’ behemoth blocker. “I was aware of Ovechkin but I felt sharp and confident.”
Perhaps it’s a bit cruel to demean Ovie, the NHL’s most feared shooter, as the Blueshirts prepare to host the National Hockey League’s most colorful — give or take Pittsburgh — team on Monday night at The Garden.
Where once The Maven’s suggestion of a New York sweep — made here last Wednesday — seemed the stuff of fairy tales, it now seems very possible, if not probable. As I said in my original forecast of an opening round triumph for John Tortorella’s team, GOALTENDING is the be all and end all of playoff superiority.
“They won the game and the only thing he (Tortorella) did was cry about the two [areas] we won—faceoffs and a penalty. He’s playing the whole game, and it’s pretty lame, quite frankly.”
“He’s talking about Nicky Backstrom, who was 48-percent. He was one of the worst centermen the first half of the year in faceoffs altogether. We went in and I talked to the league and the league said they are perfectly legal. So he’s just crying right now. It’s a dumb thing to cry about. We’re told not to do this, but he’s trying to play the gamesmanship and get the referees on their side. ...Give us a break.”
-Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau via Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider.
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
He knows the creases in his forehead are deepening at the same time his speed is declining. Nothing can hide the obvious. Not the chic red ski cap he wore after practice yesterday—not the Ferrari, not the Maybach, not the European designer jeans and certainly not his tentative Game 1 performance in a 4-3 loss to the Rangers.
In pro-athlete parlance, Sergei Fedorov is old. And so there is a genuine feeling around the organization it might be good to see the Russian legend now, in these final weeks of the 2009 season, because you never know when the great ones will go—and Fedorov more than qualifies….
He concedes the life of an NHL veteran is getting old. “I don’t mind preseason, but I guess the travel, long schedules eventually get to you somehow,” Fedorov said. “It’s probably when you’re younger you kind of digest that. It’s a little bit easier. When you’re older, you’re a little bit, you know, battling.”
more and the one thing I remember about Fedorov in his prime was his strong skating ability. He was so strong on his skates and could find that extra gear when needed. Watch a highlight of Sergei below…
Sports Illustrated posted an AP story which basically states Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau is leaning towards starting goale Jose Theodore tomorrow.
ESPN’s award-winning primetime newsmagazine E:60 will profile National Hockey League star Alexander Ovechkin in the episode airing Tuesday, April 21, at 7 p.m. ET. The program, which launched in October 2007, combines investigative reporting, in-depth profiles of intriguing sports personalities and features on emerging star athletes. These stories are presented in a fresh and innovative format that incorporates producer/correspondent meetings.
E:60’s Rachel Nichols has an all access pass inside the life of this megawatt hockey god who is equal parts everyman, equal parts rock star. In this revealing portrait, viewers see what makes Ovie run 100 miles per hour on and off the ice: his unabashed joy and enthusiasm, his love of fast cars, his simmering rivalry with the other name on the NHL’s marquee, Sydney Crosby, his hell bent for leather style of play that leaves defensemen swiveling their heads, and his burning desire to turn the nation’s capital into a hockey mad city.
The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky, NBA star LeBron James, Caps owner Ted Leonsis and iconic hockey commentator Don Cherry are among the voices in the feature.
Watch a one minute preview of the show below…
from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Bruce Boudreau might disagree, and he gets to make the choice. But after watching Jose Theodore be awfully hard to hit Wednesday night in Washington’s series opening loss to the New York Rangers, you’ve got to believe the man they call Gabby is at the very least considering giving rookie Simeon Varlamov the start for Game 2 on Saturday….
Let’s say Boudreau sticks with Theodore, who now has four wins in his last 15 playoff starts, for Game 2, and the veteran netminder plays poorly and the Caps lose.
Then, you have to stick with Theodore probably because it would be difficult to put Varlamov in for a do-or-die Game 3 in Madison Square Garden.
But if you go with Varlamov for Game 2, he might steal one and even the series, or if he loses, you can go back to the more seasoned Theodore for Game 3.
added 9:40am, from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
Boudreau has two days to mull his decision before Game 2 on Saturday.
It’s not one he plans to rush into, but he was certainly down on Theodore’s performance after tonight’s 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Theodore faced only 21 shots, and probably could have stopped any of the Rangers’ four goals.
“He’s right,” Boudreau said when he was told that Theodore accepted the blame for the loss. “You need the save and he didn’t make the save. But I’m sure he’s going to bounce back. He’s a professional. He’s played this game long enough, I’m sure he feels bad enough.”
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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