Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Entries with the tag: alex ovechkin

Afternoon Line

“Responsibility on us, is always on us. Coaches, trainers, the head guy [team owner Ted Leonsis] give us a wake-up call, say, listen, you have to do something, you guys have to win or you guys going to be next. I’m pretty sure this organization and the fans is tired to losing and not show exactly what we can do. That’s why we made the changes.”

-Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.  More from Ovechkin by Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider.

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Morning Line

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a tough training camp, because everybody going to be excited. New team, new coaching staff, new players. It’s going to be totally different.”

“We’ll have to have a good start and snowballl. Just have to get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, so we’ll be ready for the big one.”

-Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.  More from Ovechkin by Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider.

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NHL Names post-season All-Star team

From the NHL:

NHL ANNOUNCES 2013-14 ALL-STAR TEAMS

LAS VEGAS (June 24, 2014) -- Center Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, who each earned his third career berth on the First All-Star Team, head the list of players voted to the 2013-14 National Hockey League postseason All-Star Teams. Crosby received First Team honors for the second consecutive season, while Chara earned a spot on the First Team for the first time since 2008-09.

Joining Crosby and Chara are two second-time selections to the First Team, right wing Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and defenseman Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks. The squad also features two first-time recipients, left wing Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars and goaltender Tuukka Rask of the Bruins.

Continue Reading »

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Video- Alex Ovechkin On Barry Trotz

Ovechkin in my opinion was a bit low-keyed when talking about Trotz.

Not sure what to make of it.

 

added 5:36pm, from the CP at TSN,

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Matheson weighs in on Babcock, Ovechkin, PK’s payday, Caps GM talk and top prospects

I kind of "stole" the prime quotes from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column for my Malik Report overnight entry, but I smiled broadly and nearly laughed out loud form the Blog Cave while reading Holland tell Matheson the same dang thing--almost word for word--that Babcock's been repeating to journalists and radio talk show hosts who can't or won't believe that Babcock will remain with Detroit when he can coach anywhere he wants after his contract's up a summer from now:

“I don’t believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence … I believe he’s happy in Detroit, but there are options,” said Holland, whose contract is also up next July, but will certainly get a new one from owner Mike Ilitch.

Holland has got the Red Wings into the playoffs in each of his 17 seasons. There were three Stanley Cup championships in 1998, 2002 and 2008, plus a Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.

Late-season rallies were required to keep a 23-year playoff streak alive while the Red Wings integrated lots of young players — Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurko, Danny DeKeyser — into the lineup each of the last two years.

“Two years ago, we won our last four games to get into the playoffs. This year, we got in again (despite a terrible run of injuries),” said Holland. “Mike’s a tremendous coach, if not the best coach in the league, then one of the best.”

Matheson's main column focuses on Babcock and Holland, but he also included this nugget of wisdom from Ottawa Senators assistant coach Perry Pern (regarding Barry Trotz's attempts to get Alex Ovechkin to "buy in" to playing defense, as Matheson addressed in a Sunday afternoon column):

Continue Reading »

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Will Alex Ovechkin Play The Trotz Way?

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Former Nashville coach Barry Trotz might want to call Scotty Bowman and ask how the greatest coach of them all, can change the spots on a scoring leopard.

In the early 90s, Bowman went about convincing his Detroit captain Steve Yzerman to park his run of 100-point seasons to become what we used to call a “two-way player” and now we refer to as playing “a 200-foot game.” Stevie Y had been around for about 10 years, had one 155-point season, but for all his points, he hadn’t won any team prize...

Trotz has the same task with Alex Ovechkin in Washington. Everybody knows he’s the elephant in the room there. Two Hart trophies, four 50-goal seasons, one of 65. No Cups, nary a playoff game past the second round since he was drafted first in 2004. Ovie isn’t selfish. He’s stubborn. He longs to carry the Cup around the ice just like his Russian countrymen Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh and Pavel Datsyuk in Detroit.

But he’ll need a coach to tell him how, without neutering him.

Trotz, who agreed that Ovechkin gets too much credit when the Caps win and too much blame when they lose.

“Like a coach,” joked Trotz, speaking on his cell while riding in a cab to the airport in Washington Friday.

It’s finding the balance with Ovechkin. He knows the talented ones often “want to do it my way.”

read on

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, barry+trotz

If Alex Ovechkin Moved To The KHL

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

Of course, should Ovechkin decide to change leagues, he’d need to be extremely careful lest he come off looking like an even bigger villain than Ilya Kovalchuk did when he abruptly abandoned the New Jersey Devils last summer. There would be a sizeable contingent of mortified Washington fans no matter what Ovechkin said to explain himself, but life is all about framing and this situation would be no different.

Here’s how he should frame it: by pointing to other teams that have parted ways with their franchise player and discovered the devil they knew wasn’t always better than the one they didn’t. Take the Blue Jackets, for example. There was no shortage of angst-ridden Columbus fans when management traded their franchise cornerstone, Rick Nash, to the Rangers in the summer of 2012. That transaction benefitted the Jackets as much as it did Nash (who no longer had the full weight of an organization sitting on his shoulders). It was a classic short-term-pain-for-long-term-gain scenario.

Ovechkin leaving for the KHL would free up some $9.5 million in salary cap space for the seven years remaining on his contract. As we should know by now, that space would allow Caps management to acquire two or three high-quality talents and add balance to a roster that desperately needs it. Ovechkin could paint himself as making a sacrifice for the long-term good of the franchise.

There is some question whether the NHL would provide cap relief to the Capitals if Ovechkin returned to Russia, but the league would have an extremely tough time justifying a rejection of cap relief for one team after providing it to the Devils. As well, KHL president Alexander Medvedev recently gave an interview with Russian publication championat.com in which he said, “there is a legal way for any player if he decides to play in another league (to do so) without breaking the mutual (KHL/NHL) agreement to respect each other’s contracts.” Clearly, it’s technically possible.

more

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, khl

It’s No Longer The Sid And Ovie Show

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

You certainly get the sense that this may be the point at which the Penguins and Capitals aren’t really linked any more, or at least not as much. They’re as different as they are alike.

Players like Steven Stamkos, Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf and Anze Kopitar have caught up to Nos. 87 and 8 when it comes to the best and brightest of NHL stars.

Beyond that, nobody sees Pittsburgh and Washington as teams with limitless futures any more.

The golden talents of Crosby and Ovechkin allowed these two clubs to exist above the muck for years. Now they’re in it with most everybody else.

more

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, sidney+crosby

All Alex Ovechkin

from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,

On missing the playoffs being a wakeup call:

Of course it’s wakeup call for everybody, for us and for the bosses. I’m pretty sure everybody upset. It’s good wakeup call and I’m hopeful for next year we’re going to be better. [Whoever] is going to be on the team, these guys have to be better....

On whether he is tired of shouldering the blame for the Capitals’ shortcomings:

I’m not a judge. It’s wakeup call for everybody. I’m pissed because somebody says it’s bad system. I’m pissed about it’s bad situation when we didn’t play well. I’m a player, everybody players. Why were we in the playoffs last year? Because nobody point fingers on somebody. Everybody was in same position and everybody played for each other.

On the Capitals’ 5-on-5 play, where they were outscored 155-139.

It’s a situation when right now, 5-on-5 is very difficult to play. If you score on power play and you get the lead guys who play 5-on-5 will get more open and get more chances. If it’s a tie game or situation is 1-1 or 2-2, it’s so hard to score because everybody plays five guys in the [defensive] zone and everybody plays around the goalie. 

read on

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Video- Alex Ovechkin With Another 50 Goal Season

This is the 5th season of 50 or more goals for Ovechkin.

 

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Matheson ponders an ‘Ovechkin divorce,’ reveals Teemu Selanne’s toughest opponents

The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson penned a particularly prolific set of Hockey World columns and blog entries (so much so that I'm stealing one for my Malik Report blog), and we're going to start sifting through four separate columns/entries' worth of observations and nuggets of wisdom with a question that many have pondered but few have tried to analyze:

Is there any logical way in which the Washington Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin can engage in a civilized "divorce" (and/or removal of that heavy captain's "C"), or is the team, "Married to Alex Ovechkin for life?"--to the detriment of an increasingly rotating cast of coaches, goaltenders and complementary players?

Since the Gretzky trade/sell to the LA Kings in 1988, we all know anybody can get dealt, although that’s Leonsis’s call, and the question is how many people would give up their tickets to games if Ovie wasn’t there. There’s 100s of people in Caps’ No. 8 jerseys at games in Washington. But, winning often trumps player loyalty and in the time Ovechkin has been with the Caps, they have won three playoff rounds in, this, his 10th year.
 

Continue Reading »

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Afternoon Line

If you missed the play, watch it below with Adam Ward of TSN breaking it down...

added 1:34pm, from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,

“To be honest with you I didn’t see him, I kind of lost the position. It is what it is,” Ovechkin said. “We make lots of mistakes, it’s not about one mistake. You can’t blame one mistake in the whole game.”

That’s not an encouraging message from the face of the franchise, especially when the franchise in question might miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. But little about the last two weeks has been encouraging for the Capitals, who have lost four straight since returning from their California trip and are close to being eliminated from playoff contention.

more

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The Bigger Question Should Be Will Ovechkin Adjust?

from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,

Meeting with reporters on Thursday, Oates did not backtrack on Wednesday’s description of Alex Ovechkin quitting on a play that led to a goal by Dustin Jeffrey in Tuesday night’s 5-0 loss to the Stars.

The bigger issue, Oates said, is that his 28-year-old captain recognizes his shortcomings and addresses them.

“I didn’t talk to him yet about that particular play,” Oates said. “We will. The message is the same message I tell him all the time.

“It’s a shame because he actually pushed hard up the ice [into the offensive zone] and I’m sure when he turned around he saw we had three guys back and figured they’d get the job done and they didn’t.”

read on

FYI, Ovechkin did not meet with the media today.

added 3:42pm, Aaron Ward of TSN breaks down the latest Ovechkin mistake, watch it below too...

added 3:33pm, from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: adam+oates, alex+ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin Called Out For Quitting On A Play

from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,

Alex Ovechkin has received criticism for his absentee defensive play throughout his nine-year NHL career and in the third period of a blowout loss against the Dallas Stars Tuesday night he offered more fuel for his detractors.

At the midway point of the period, Stars veteran Ray Whitney chipped the puck through the neutral zone up to Alex Chiasson, who raced into the Washington end. As the play moved toward the Washington net, though, Ovechkin glided near the offensive blueline, slowly moving up toward the red line and then completely missed Whitney as he cut in front of him to drive down the slot.

It wasn’t until Whitney passed him that Ovechkin took a full stride, even then it was only two steps before he coasted again.

continued with quotes from Oates and video of the goal or watch the video, with evidence, below...

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Alex Ovechkin, Jack Hillen collide in spectacular and scary fashion

Yahoo Sports' Harrison Mooney reports that nobody got hurt in this collision between Alex Ovechkin and Washington Capitals teammate Jack Hillen, but it sure looked like what happens when semitrucks collide:

 

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Afternoon Line

I am sure that everybody in Finland will be ready for tomorrow's game, as well as our team. Now the most important thing - a team. Personal statistics, leadership scorers unimportant. We're here to win the gold, but not any personal title or something like that.

Confident that when we play with the attacking team, it will change their tactics. Now we know how these teams will play. The four of them stand on the blue line, will try to keep the puck in our zone and not let us into his. Finland? In the evening, watch the video, look at how they play.

-Alex Ovechkin via Sport-Express (translated)

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, sochi+olympics

Still Time For Ovechkin To Flourish

from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,

Much was expected of Ovechkin here, of course, as the host nation looks to end the gold-medal drought that dates back to Albertville in 1992.

And much like Canada and Crosby rallied from a slow start in Vancouver, there is still time, starting with Tuesday's qualification round game against Norway.

"He has to understand he could be a national hero and it could also be a national shame," legendary Russian defenceman Slava Fetisov said prior to the opening ceremony. "That is the pressure of home ice in the hockey tournament.

"It is the price every superstar has to pay and that is what separates the winners from the losers. If you can handle the pressure and put your priorities in the right direction, you can be a winner."

more

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, sochi+olympics, team+russia

The Ovechkin Olympics

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

He is a ubiquitous presence here, his smiling, gap-toothed grin plastered all over everything, from Coca-Cola cans to luggage tags to billboards all over town.

These may turn out to be Alexander Ovechkin’s Olympics, if the masses and/or the corporate sponsors have a say. Ovechkin was greeted as a conquering hero Monday, when the full Russian team – NHLers joining their KHL brethren – arrived for practice at the Bolshoi Ice Palace in preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games men’s hockey tournament.

Ovechkin was greeted by fans at the airport, mobbed by volunteers in the athletes village and surrounded by reporters in the mixed zone. Other Russian players may be more integral to the final outcome – Pavel Datsyuk is the glue up front, either Sergei Bobrovsky or Semyon Varlamov will have to provide a better brand of goaltending than what the team got four years ago – but Ovechkin is the player who captivates the audiences. He is a brand unto himself, his personality larger than life.

One could convincingly argue no single individual had a greater impact on NHL participation in these Olympics than Ovechkin.

continued

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, sochi+olympics, team+russia

Afternoon Line

If Alex Ovechkin had as much star support as Sidney Crosby the Big 8 would leave The Kid in the dust.

-Stan Fischler of the Fischler Report where you can read more short topics...

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, sidney+crosby

Alex Ovechkin In The Spotlight At Sochi

from Lucas Aykroyd of IIHF.com,

The world is waiting to see how Ovechkin will carry himself starting on February 13, when Russia opens its quest for Olympic gold against Slovenia. It’s a prize Russia hasn’t claimed since 1992.

Ovechkin is the greatest NHL goal-scorer of the new millennium, and among modern-era NHLers, only Mike Bossy and Mario Lemieux boast better goals-per-game averages at 76.2 and 75.4 respectively.

Likely bound for his fourth Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top marksman, he is also a three-time winner of both MVP trophies, the media-voted Hart and the player-voted Ted Lindsay (formerly Lester Pearson). If Ovechkin retired today, he would still be a surefire inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

But right now, the focus is on the Olympics.

And Ovechkin, despite faithfully and admirably suiting up for Russia in IIHF competition at least once every year since 2002 (with the exception of 2009), has never played quite as well at either the Olympics or World Championships as he has at his NHL best. Neither his laser shot nor his offensive-zone physicality has been quite as effective.

more

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, sochi+olympics, team+russia

Video- Alex Ovechkin Shows-Off His Eye, Stick Coordination

Bounce, bounce, settle, score.

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Video- Ovechkin Not Happy With High Hit From Neil

from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,

“Four guys out there didn’t do their job, maybe they decide to celebrate New Year’s too early right before the game and they didn’t see headshots [from] Neil against me,” Ovechkin said. “He fell on the ice, it was kind of embarrassing to see.”

“I saw him, I felt like he going to hit me shoulder to shoulder I was ready for it but he hit right in my head, right in chin,” Ovechkin said. “I ask referee, ‘Why you didn’t see it?’ He was two feet from me he said ‘I didn’t see it’. The league try to fight through [headshots] but I think the referee didn’t see it at all.

“I step in there, come up from the corner and he just hit me straight up in the chin,” Ovechkin said. “It was, I think, bad hit and I think league have to look at it.”

more and watch the hit below...

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, chris+neil

Alex Ovechkin Reaches The 400 Goal Plateau

from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,

It wasn’t a jaw-dropping tally or a clutch come-from-behind goal, but by scoring here Friday night, Ovechkin became sixth fastest to do reach the 400-goal mark. Eighty-eight players had reached the mark before him.

“Empty netter or whatever I take it. I kind of play little bit longer shift at the end and of course you think about it. You talk to the guys, your friends, teammates,” Ovechkin said.

Ovechkin accomplished the feat in 634 games, passing Pavel Bure (635) to be the sixth-fastest to the achievement. Only Wayne Gretzky (436), Mike Bossy (506), Mario Lemieux (508), Brett Hull (520) and Jari Kurri (608) did so in fewer games.

“It’s big number and being in this kind of company it’s a tremendous honor for me. I never felt like I’m going to be in this position when I start playing in NHL, of course I wanted to be but thanks to everybody my coaches, my partners. Without them I can’t reach these numbers.”

more and watch the empty net goal below...

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Video- Ovechkin With Four Goals Last Night

Ovechkin now has 26 goals in 31 games.

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Video- #87 vs. #8

There are 4 NHL games tonight including the Pittsburgh Penguins visiting the Washington Capitals at 8:00pm ET on NBCSN and TSN2.

The battle between Crosby and Ovechkin continues tonight...

 

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, sidney+crosby

Ovechkin Not Happy With No-Calls

from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,

Ovechkin remained on the ice for a concerning length of time but after being tended to by head athletic trainer Greg Smith made his way to the bench and didn’t miss a shift. Once he joined his teammates, though, Ovechkin began barking at the officials for what he believed was a missed penalty call on the play. He was so angry he kicked the boards once he sat down on the bench.

“I think it was a trip. I hit head into boards,” Ovechkin said, gesturing to his right cheek. “I don’t know what the referee doing out there but it was clear two minutes and they just play.”

Coach Adam Oates seemed to absolve the officials for not calling a penalty.

“On video, you have the advantage of video, [Hejda’s] not trying to do anything but his stick-hit Ovi’s skate, so he went in hard.”

Hejda said there was no harm intended on the play and that he didn’t trip Ovechkin, but rather that the winger stepped on the stick blade.

more with Ovechkin saying he was speared too...

Maybe it was just a bad night for Ovechkin, watch below...

Continue Reading »

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Always A ‘But” With Ovechkin

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,

... And yet, there is always something with The Great 8, some little piece of total reverence that is withheld when a coach or a teammate or an opponent speaks of him, as if unconditional praise would be not entirely honest because ... why?

Because he scores a lot on the power play, and 5-on-5 he's not as dominant? Or because of that career nadir he hit in 2010-11 and 2011-12, when his merely mortal numbers (32 and 38 goals, respectively) -- with a Russian train wreck at the Vancouver Olympics thrown -- had the whole world on his case about bacchanalian excesses and lifestyle and lack of team success, and general ... well, Russian-ness?

Or because Ovechkin beat out the North American darling, Sidney Crosby, for the Hart Trophy (his third) last spring, when he seemed to single-handedly lift Washington into the playoffs with a ridiculous 22 goals in the team's last 21 games -- leading some to wonder where he'd been hiding for the first half of the season when the Caps could have used him?

Whatever it is, the tenor of the conversation Monday was ever-so slightly restrained, even as Ovechkin entered the game on an other-worldly 32-goals-in-32-games regular season streak (10-in-11 this term) -- the sort of numbers no other NHL player had reached since Pavel Bure did it (also spanning parts of two seasons) in Florida, 12 years ago.

more

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Ovechkin Just A Different Type Of Hockey Player

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

There are no Terrell Owenses in the National Hockey League. Chad Ochocinco would have had the self-aggrandizement wrung out of him at his first training camp, and likely, the name bar would never have changed in hockey, as it did in the NFL. The closest thing hockey does have, however, is Alex Ovechkin, whose celebrations when he scores—or displays of public anguish when he doesn’t—are as natural as it comes.

Ovechkin wasn’t exactly self-promoting after sniping the opening goal of a 4–1 win Thursday in Edmonton when he quipped, “We score first, and it gives us a little bit freedom.” In fact, what we would have preferred to hear is this: “You just can’t get a puck more top-corner than that goal. I mean, wow! I’m not sure if it glanced off the crossbar, the post—or both!”

But if Ovechkin is not as eloquent in the postgame dressing room while conversing in his second language, it is on the ice where he speaks in his primary tongue—the language of hockey. There, he breathes life into a sport and a league mired in rules that forbid the tucking in of a jersey.

“Inside, everybody is excited. Everybody gets emotional. But some players are really good at blocking out the highs and lows,” said Oilers captain Andrew Ference, who saw a lot of Ovechkin during his time as a Bruin. “I’ve played with a lot of great players who keep their emotions in check. Externally, they’re not bubbly personalities. But once the game is over, they’re fully appreciative of what they’ve done.

“[Ovechkin’s] just different in the fact he’s very raw. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, which a lot of us don’t do. Simply because we don’t want that roller coaster.”

more

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Ovechkin Can Handle The Pressure

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

... As for being aware of the criticism that has nipped at his heels in recent times, Ovechkin is nothing if not self-aware.

"Of course I read the newspapers. I watch the TV when the people say something, what they say it's good things or bad things. I say 'OK, they're going to say bad things about me right now, I'm ready for it. Then, they're going to say good things about me, I'm ready for it,'" Ovechkin explained. "I'm not 21 years old. Mentally ... this guy tells bad things about me, I've got to do something different. I'm a grown man. I have experience. I've been in all situations before. So I'm OK with it."

And there's the paradox of being Alexander Ovechkin, no? He is not like other Russians. He does not hide in the shadows like Alexander Semin did for years in Washington. He does not flee from reporters like Evgeni Malkin does even now in Pittsburgh, where he has made an art of hiding in Sidney Crosby's shadow. He is not painfully shy like Pavel Datsyuk is in Detroit.

Ovechkin is the captain of an NHL team. He is the face of the Washington Capitals. And given his long-standing rivalry with Crosby, he shared some of the burden of dragging the NHL out of the wilderness following the 2005-06 lockout. He gets it. But in getting it, Ovechkin isn't necessarily a warm, fuzzy figure, at least not all the time.

A week before our chat with him at the Caps' practice facility, Ovechkin had flown from Russia for an annual league-organized series of interviews and photo shoots at the Prudential Center in Newark. While the day started well, by the end of it Ovechkin was a bear, providing terse one-word answers and grumbling at the demands being placed on him.

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Video- Ovechkin Carries The Olympic Torch

via the Guardian,

The Olympic torch for Sochi 2014 is lit on Sunday during a ceremony in ancient Olympia in Greece. The president of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Organising Committee says the event is 'very symbolic for Russia'. The flame is ignited by actress Ino Menegaki and is passed on to Alpine skier Ioannis Antoniou, and then Russian NHL star Alex Ovechkin. The ceremony marks the beginning of the longest torch relay for any Winter Games, including a trip into space.

Below, watch a video from the ceremony, Ovechkin appears in the last 20 seconds or so...

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Pressure Still On Ovechkin

from Dave Sheinin of The Washington Post,

His 10-month-old engagement to Russian tennis star Maria Kirilenko has grounded him and brought purpose to his home life. On the ice, his strong relationship with second-year Capitals Coach Adam Oates , his growing comfort with last year’s switch from left to right wing and the late-spring resurgence that brought him his third Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player have silenced those who only 18 months ago were questioning whether he was still an elite player.

At the same time, however, his career is still at least partly defined by the two glaring omissions on his résumé: an Olympic gold medal and a Stanley Cup title. The quest for both will dominate the next nine months for Ovechkin, bringing with it a perhaps unprecedented level of pressure and scrutiny — both in Russia, the host country for an Olympics for only the second time in its history, and in Washington, where each maddening flame-out in the playoffs, such as the first-round loss to the New York Rangers in May, both draws further attention to Ovechkin’s lack of a Cup title and lowers the Capitals’ window by another year.

“It’s not something I can relate to, because I don’t think I’ve ever had that much burden or responsibility on my shoulders. But you can definitely see it,” said Capitals goaltender coach Olaf Kolzig, who was the face of the franchise before Ovechkin’s arrival in 2005. “He seems really at peace now. But having said that, there are still expectations to win the Stanley Cup here, and with each year that passes, there’s more and more pressure. And then, you add the Olympics in his home country, and — wow. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.”

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Ovechkin Will Carry The Olympic Torch In Greece

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will be the first Russian Torchbearer for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee announced today. Ovechkin will be the first Russian to carry the Olympic Torch once it’s ignited in a ceremony at Olympia, Greece, on Sunday, Sept. 29.

“I’m extremely humbled and honored to be the first Russian to carry the Olympic Torch,” said Ovechkin. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something I will never forget. I would like to thank the Washington Capitals organization and all of my teammates for their support in enabling me to travel to Greece prior to the regular season.”

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Ovechkin Not A Fan Of The ‘No-Tuck’ Rule

from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,

The NHL released information late last week about several new rule changes for the 2013-14 season, including several stipulations about how uniforms must be worn.

One mandate is that players’ protective equipment and padding – excluding gloves, helmets and goaltenders’ leg guards – must be worn under the uniform. If a referee notices a player in violation of the rule, they’ll be asked to correct the problem and a second violation would result in a minor penalty....

As anyone who has ever watched him play in a game or skate in practice knows, Alex Ovechkin has always tucked his jersey into his pants. While the Capitals winger is prepared to follow the rule, he’s not pleased with it.

“I’m the guy who love that kind of stuff. I’m kind of upset about it, but most important thing, nobody talk to us, the players. They think it can be dangerous for somebody. I think it’s kind of stupid,” Ovechkin said Sunday. “My gear is not stay [near] my body so jersey always goes in. If I’m going to put jersey normally, I’m going to skate and it goes back.”

read on

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Video- A Sit Down With Alex Ovechkin

Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada talks with Ovechkin...

 

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Ovi And Oates Together In Moscow

from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,

In the middle of August, as his offseason was winding down, Alex Ovechkin received a phone call. Told he needed to pick up a first-time visitor to Russia, he promptly drove to Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow and came upon a one-time Ontario hayseed whose only concept of that part of eastern Europe was “Rocky IV.”

“Ovi!” Adam Oates called.

“What’s up, Coach?”

Over the next 24 hours or so, the three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner and coach of the Washington Capitals spent time on the ice, in front of Oates’s computer watching an Ovechkin highlight video of last season and finally at a chic Moscow restaurant watching a World Cup qualifier with Ovi’s boys.

“He came to me,” Ovechkin said on the first day of training camp, sounding genuinely moved that Oates crossed two continents to visit him at home. “He work out with me. He show me some things. He showed me highlights and talk to me.”

Asked what Oates communicated that day, Ovechkin replied, “He told me I had good season, but I could be better.”

That’s about right, Oates confirmed.

continued

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Will Ovechkin Be In Greece 48 Hours Before The Capitals’ Season Starts?

from Igor Kleyner of Russian Machine Never Breaks,

With the opening ceremonies just five months out, the next big promotional push is the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic torch. Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko says he will have Alex Ovechkin there. In Greece. At the end of September.

Right as the NHL season begins.

Chernyshenko spoke to the Russian sports news agency R-Sport about the upcoming event:

On September 29th we will light up the torch in Olympia, and for the next week it will travel through Greece; on October 6th we will deliver it to Moscow – and then promptly to the Red Square. There will be many interesting events. Who will be the first Russian [to carry the torch] in Greece, and who will be the first on Red Square? That is a secret, intrigue, and we will try to keep it until the end. But they will be people who are recognized and loved by everybody.

Will Ovechkin be among them? Nothing can be hidden from you! It is true; Ovechkin will participate in the Greek part of the torch relay, but will he be the first carrier or not – I will not tell you right now.

more including what the Capitals have to say about this...

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Come Back Home Ovechkin

from Russian Machine Never Breaks,

Friday, during a fan forum, Dynamo Moscow general director Andrey Safronov said that he’d talk to Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin about coming back to Russia. Ovechkin, a Dynamo alum who played for the club until 2005 as well as during the 2012 lockout, is under contract with the Capitals until 2021. The reigning Hart trophy winner is slated to receive $79 million over the next eight seasons.

Here is Safronov, as quoted by the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency:

Ovechkin has a current contract with the Capitals. Can we try to pull him out? We’ll talk, we’ll look at each other and will have some result. Right now all Russian national team players want to come back to their homeland. KHL shows its force and credibility. And finances are important too. Taking taxes in account, playing in Russia has become way more attractive for players.

continued

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Defining The Hart Trophy

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Has the time come for the NHL to change the way it defines the Hart Trophy? Currently, the award – voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association – goes to the player adjudged “to be the most valuable to his team.”

This, annually, trips up voters, and it did again this year, when Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals won his second MVP award over Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Presumably, Crosby lost out to Ovechkin for two reasons. First, he missed the final month of the season because of a broken jaw and thus played just 36 games; and two, his team didn’t collapse under the weight of his absence and still managed to finish first overall in the Eastern Conference.

How else to explain why the vote went the way it did? Ovechkin had the same number of points as Crosby – 56 – but had 12 extra games to get to that number. In fact, despite his lengthy absence, Crosby held the scoring lead until five days remained in the regular season when the eventual scoring champion, Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, passed him. Crosby finished in a tie for third with Ovechkin, one point behind Tampa’s Steve Stamkos. Neither Stamkos nor St. Louis were factors in the Hart balloting because their team wasn’t a playoff contender and both were roughly equal in terms of their contributions to the team’s success, what little there was of it.

continued

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Video- Where’s Ovechkin?

Tired, floating, not his man?

 

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The Captain Of The Capitals

from Mike Wise of The Washington Post,

He heard every knock, every stereotype, including the most disturbing: that a flamboyant, Russian player who speaks broken English did not have the qualities to galvanize all those gritty North Americans into becoming a special team, even though the Swedish-born Nicklas Lidstrom became the first European NHL captain to hoist the Stanley Cup in 2008.

“I know some people thought this,” he says. “People look at my countryside. Because of this and because I was young, it was pretty hard for me to accept captaincy.”

The NHL’s leading goal scorer recently thought for a second, scratched his head and tugged on his tight-fitting black designer T-shirt, the one that read, “Kobe Bryant — The Black Mamba.” The Russian Machine emoted a half-smile.

“But I know 100 percent now team is on my side,” Ovechkin says. “You know, if I want to say something I’m going to say something. They’re going to understand me, which is most important thing.”

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Evening Line

Best thing about Ovechkin scoring: we’re talking about him again, for all the right reasons. Hockey needs that. It’s no secret, he’s fallen behind Pavel Datsyuk and Kovalchuk as even the best Russian player over the last couple of years.

-Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal where you can read more on Alex Ovechkin.

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‘King’ Ovechkin

from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,

“Right now I’m scoring goals and I’m the king of the world,” Ovechkin said Monday. “And a couple weeks ago I was almost in the toilet. So maybe you just forget to flush me. It’s kind of situation when I don’t care right now what happens.”

Before this outburst of offense, Ovechkin was coming under considerable fire from various NHL pundits and talking heads as he recorded just one goal in eight games from Feb. 26 – March 12. But all season, Oates has maintained that he wants more from Ovechkin than offensive statistics, and he’s trying to teach the 27-year-old to value other aspects of his game as much as he does scoring.

Still, when Ovechkin can score goals in addition to remaining involved in the entire game as Oates wants, it makes for entertaining and energetic performances from the captain — like his three-point and physical showing in the 4-0 win at Winnipeg last Thursday.

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A-Ove?

from Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times,

It wasn’t long after an onslaught of criticism for Alex Ovechkin by Mike Milbury, Jeremy Roenick, Pierre McGuire and P.J. Stock that Sirius-XM NHL Network analyst Jim “Boomer” Gordon made an astute comparison. When Puck the Media’s Steve Lepore asked if there was any athlete in another sport who gets as abused as Ovechkin, Gordon mentioned Alex Rodriguez.

Gordon called Ovechkin the “A-Rod of the NHL.”

“Once you become a punching bag, you have no shot,” he said.

Ovechkin does seem to take a lot of outside hits, some fair some unwarranted.

“I don’t want to compare me and Rodriguez,” he said. “But if I do something wrong of course I’m going to be [talked about] if I do something bad. If I do something good they still will talk about me. It’s kind of position what I’m in.”

continued

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Afternoon Line

"But Ovechkin to me, there are no 60-goal scorers in the league any more,there are 40-goal scorers. He’s a 35-to-40-goal scorer, which would put him among the best goal scorers in the league, in my opinion, year after year after year. The one thing that I just don’t know about, it keeps coming back to this for me, is we often talk about players with high hockey IQs. I don’t think he’s got one. I do not think he’s got a high hockey IQ. He goes for power, he goes in straight lines, he doesn’t see around him really well, and to me, one of the great traits that Sidney Crosby has is his ability to think the game at the highest speed. And I don’t think Ovechkin’s got that.”

-Ray Ferraro of TSN.  More on Ovechkin and the Capitals from Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog at the Washington Post.

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Afternoon Line

“Of course some refs don’t like some personalities on our team, but anyway, you have to respect us. We’re emotional, we’re in the game.  When we say something bad to linesmen or bad to referees, we can’t give them two minutes when they yell at me or they yell at coaches or yell somebody. It’s kind of position when they have to give us a break.

“If we’re over [the] top of our yelling or screaming, yeah, of course you have to give us two or five or 10, it’s their call.  Not like if we say one word to them like you’re gonna get two minutes right away….I think the league and the [NHLPA] have to look at it and make a changes.”

-Alex Ovechkin on the Washington Capitals. More on the lack of respect issue from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider.

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Right Here Is Part Of The Problem

Someone tell me why Ovechkin would even discuss this outside of the dressing room?

from Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times,

Alex Ovechkin, who has zero goals in his past three games since recording a hat trick, wants to puck and he wants it in the neutral zone. Even more so, he’s asked center Mike Ribeiro for it.

“Of course I want more pucks on my stick, especially in neutral zone,” the Washington Capitals captain said Monday. “I talk to Ribs all the time about it like if I have speed, just give it to me. It doesn’t matter if I’m going to stay with the D because I’m going to beat them.”

Ovechkin has played on a line with Ribeiro for the past 13 games, over a month now. The two have developed chemistry, even if Ovechkin has just eight goals this season.

Asked about Ovechkin wanting the puck to carry into the offensive zone, Ribeiro said it’s dependent on break-outs.

continued

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Video- Milbury Rips Ovechkin

After the 2nd period of the Washington/Philadelphia game, Milbury points out some shortcomings of Ovechkin.

thanks to gwyshynski for getting the video up quickly.

 

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, mike+milbury

Evening Line

...the fun has been leaking out of Oveckin's game for a while. We've waited through two seasons and a quarter of a third to see the old Ovie. After watching him on Sunday, I'm not sure he's ever coming back.

-Stu Hackel of Sports Illustrated. Read more from Hackel in a detailed explanation why he feels the way he does.

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Afternoon Line

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So What’s Wrong With Ovechkin?

from Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy,

Leonsis said Ovechkin was concerned about the transition between the KHL rinks back to the NHL ice after the lockout ended. Ovechkin had 40 points in 31 games for Dynamo.

“They have bigger ice. And when I saw Alex for those six days [of training camp], I mostly talked to him about his engagement, but I asked him what his biggest concern was and he said, ‘The KHL is different; the big ice to the smaller ice, I’m going to have to get adapted to, because you don’t have room to operate,’” said Leonsis.

So what’s wrong with the player that Leonsis has signed through 2021 and is scheduled to make $79 million over the next eight seasons?

“You know, he gets double-teamed all the time. He has to keep moving. That’s the one thing I’ve noticed when he doesn’t have a good game – he seems to be more stationary,” said Leonsis.

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