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Entries with the tag: alex ovechkin

NHL announces 1st and 2nd All-Star Teams

From the NHL:

NHL ANNOUNCES 2014-15 ALL-STAR TEAMS

LAS VEGAS (June 24, 2015) -- Left wing Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who earned his seventh career berth on the First All-Star Team, heads the list of players voted to the 2014-15 National Hockey League postseason All-Star Teams. Also a three-time honoree on the Second Team, Ovechkin’s 10 career postseason All-Star Team selections are the most among active players.

Six of Ovechkin’s seven career First Team berths have come at left wing (he was voted to the First Team at right wing in 2012-13). The only left wings in NHL history with more First Team selections are Bobby Hull (10) and Ted Lindsay (eight).

Joining Ovechkin on the First Team are three first-time selections: goaltender Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, center John Tavares of the New York Islanders and right wing Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers. The squad also features a pair of defensemen who have been selected to the First Team for the second time, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens.

Among those named to the Second Team is Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, voted to his fifth career postseason All-Star berth (3 First Team, 2 Second Team). Defensemen Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators both have landed a spot on the Second Team for the second time, while Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn, Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk and St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko are making their first career appearance on the Second Team.

Voting for the All-Star Team is conducted among representatives of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.

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Video- Wow Alex Ovechkin

The Rangers did win 3-2 today to even the series at one, but what a goal from Alex Ovechkin to make the game close.

 

 

added 3:30pm, NBC version is below...

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Benn (Art Ross), Ovechkin (Richard), Crawford and Price (Jennings) win regular-season trophies

BENN, OVECHKIN, CRAWFORD AND PRICE CAPTURE 2014-15 REGULAR-SEASON TROPHIES

NEW YORK (April 12, 2015) – The 2014-15 National Hockey League regular season concluded on Saturday with Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn capturing his first career Art Ross Trophy as the League’s scoring champion, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin claiming his fifth career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader and Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens winning the William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltender(s) who play at least 25 games for the club allowing the fewest goals. Two races – for the Art Ross Trophy and William M. Jennings Trophy – came down to the final moments of the regular season.

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Is Alex Ovechkin The Greatest NHL Player Since Wayne Gretzky?

from Neil Greenberg of The Washington Post,

Alex Ovechkin is at it again. He scored his 52nd and 53rd goal of the season Thursday night, passing Peter Bondra to become the franchise’s all-time leader with 474 goals. He joins the Sharks’ Patrick Marleau and the Devils’ Patrik Elias as the only active career goal-scoring leaders for their current team.

It has been a record-setting season for the Russian superstar. Ovechkin became the sixth player in NHL history to reach the 50-goal plateau six times or more, joining Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux, Guy Lafleur and Marcel Dionne. He is the fifth player to score at least 30 goals in each of his first 10 seasons. The others: Gretzky, Bossy, Mike Gartner and Jari Kurri. However, his goal-scoring peers played in a time when goal scoring was plentiful.

Teams are scoring 2.74 goals per game this season. When Gretzky scored 87 goals during the 1983-84 campaign, teams averaged 3.94 goals per game.

continued

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The Numbers On Alex Ovechkin

from lJay Palansky of the Toronto Star,

To be fair, Ovechkin has had a good season and there really aren’t any forwards that have stepped up and separated themselves from the pack. Still, giving Ovechkin the MVP would be a travesty.

Mainstream analysts see that Ovechkin’s 47 goals leads the league by 7, he has a +/- of +11 — which looks positively stellar compared to the disastrous -35 he put up last year — and that the Capitals are going to make the playoffs. That’s all they need to know.

To them I say it’s time to look beyond goals. Ovechkin’s offensive numbers actually aren’t particularly impressive. In 5-on-5 play, he’s 90th in the league in points per 60 minutes. Plus, Ovechkin has only 26 assists, a microscopic 14 of which are 5-on-5. Since 1970, the fewest assists by a forward to win MVP in a full season was 45 — and that was by Brett Hull in 1990-91, when he potted 86 goals. Even adjusting for the overall decrease in scoring in the league since 1991, Ovechkin’s season isn’t in the same universe,

The love from some in the analytics community is more unexpected. Their argument focuses primarily on Ovechkin’s solid shot attempt differential of 54.5 per cent. They then apply some magic analytics pixie dust by disregarding Ovechkin’s actual goal differential to calculate what the Capitals’ “expected” goals for and against when Ovechkin is on the ice would be if Ovechkin’s linemates and goalies had a “league-average shooting and goaltending,” rather than the considerably below-average shooting and save percentages they actually have.

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Video- The Slash From Alex Ovechkin

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

... early in the third period, he found another way to add to the rivalry between the two Metropolitan Division teams: by taking a two-handed swing – either at Pens star defenseman Kris Letang’s ankle, or at the puck, depending on your perspective – that has led to strong feelings among both fan bases.

Letang had to leave the game for a brief stretch, when, during a chase for a loose puck, Ovechkin’s slash crumpled him and sent him smashing into the end boards.

From the perspective of many Capitals fans, Ovechkin was merely swinging his stick in desperation at the puck, and there was no penalty called on the play. From the point of view of irate Pens fans, the slash made direct contact with Letang’s ankle, and that’s all that counts.

more

Watch the play below...

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, kris+letang

Afternoon Line- Alex Ovechkin

 “Maybe he’s just jealous. I have hair, he don’t have hair. We can start talking about it all day long. I think it was comment because he was disappointed they lost. Again, it is what it is.

“I don’t think somebody can call me diver in this league, but how I said, maybe he’s disappointed in all the kind of moments that happen.”

-Alex Ovechkin responding to Ryan Getzlaf calling him a diver.  More from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider.

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Why Ovechkin wanted a Honda

In case you were wondering, per the Washington Post's Alex Prewitt:

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Alex Ovechkin Is Winning

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Alex Ovechkin has 25 goals, in case you haven’t paid attention–nine in his last 10 games.

The stat that jumps out at you, though, is plus 12. That’s a better plus/minus than Sidney Crosby (plus 8) or Ryan Getzlaf (plus 9). Last year the Washington Capitals’ captain scored 51 but was a frosty -35 (third worst in the NHL) which used to be a normal weather day in Edmonton before global warming. Only Steve Ott (minus 38 and Alex Edler minus 39 were worse.

Ovie’s changed defensive posture this season has a lot to do with new coach Barry Trotz who believes in people, even supernovas, back-checking. So did his predecessor Adam Oates, but in team video sessions, the head knock Oates, so the story goes, didn’t always point it out when Ovechkin wasn’t as industrious as he should have been. That undoubtedly was noticed by other players on the team even if they knew it wasn’t a total meritocracy.

Ovechkin likes scoring, but now 29, he likes winning more.

continued

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Videos- Good And Bad Goal Of The Night

First the good goal by Alex Ovechkin...

 

 

The bad goal goes to the Calgary Flames, watch it below...

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, dennis+wideman

An Improved Alex Ovechkin?

Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington answered a few questions...

Q: [Because] Ovi has bought in on Trotz system & his [numbers] have gone down, is it more acceptable to NHL media?

That’s actually a great question. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone on Canadian radio and have been baited to criticize Ovechkin for one thing or another....

Alex Ovechkin will never win a Selke Trophy, but through 28 games Ovi has 14 goals and nine assists for 23 points and is EVEN on the plus-minus ledger. That projects to 41 goals and 26 assists for 67 points, the second-lowest total of his career.

Brian MacLellan said this last month and I agree with him. I’d rather see Ovechkin score 40 goals and get the Caps into the playoffs than see him score 51 and see him playing for Team Russia in the World Championships.

The problem with SOME members of the NHL media is that they will ignore Ovechkin’s improvements as a player and highlight any mistakes he makes that lead to goals. There is a reason for that, in my opinion, but I’ll save that for another rant.

more questions and answers on the Capitals...

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Videos- Ovechkin Hit On Komarov Plus Holzer Punch Hits Linesman

from the CP at TSN,

Leo Komarov took an elbow to the head from Alex Ovechkin early in the first minute of the third period and did not return.

Carlyle was asked if Komarov went through concussion protocol following the hit.

"Well he didn't feel good so that's what we did," said Carlyle. "We held him out and he's going to be having further evaluation. He seems fine now, but they all seem to be fine."

As for the hit, Carlyle said, "I thought it was kind of 'oops I hit you on purpose'."

 

 

In the same game, this happened too...

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, korbinian+holzer, leo+komarov

Summarizing Cox and Friedman’s comments from Saturday’s ‘mini Hotstove’

Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman had about 70 seconds' worth of time to issue their version of the Satellite Hotstove on Saturday's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, but they sped-talked their way through the following topics:

1. Cox says questions were surrounding Kaberle-Rangers participation in Kaberle's skate in Toronto today as the New Jersey Devils have had Scott Gomez around for over a month, but he can't travel with them on the road as he's not under contract/can't be paid;

Kaberle is allowed to travel with the team, per an NHL memo, for about 10 days before the team has to sign him or let him go, so the Rangers have to make their decision in another 7 days.

2. Friedman reports that while Taylor Hall remains on the IR with a sprained knee, Hall can at least skate early next week, though his timeline has not changed;

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Alex Ovechkin catches Niklas Hjalmarsson with a hit to the jaw

I don't like going around in the evening to search for ugly hits, but this one made me say, "Oh, boy" right away. As the Hockey News's Jared Clinton notes, Alex Ovechkin went after Niklas Hjalmarsson during the Washington Capitals' 3-2 win over Chicago, and...It ain't pretty:

For the second straight game, Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin threw what can best be described as a questionable hit.

On Tuesday night, during the Capitals game against the Calgary Flames, Ovechkin caught Curtis Glencross with a high hit. A scrum ensued, everything was sorted out, and what came of it was a roughing call to Glencross.

Friday night, in the Capitals first game since the hit on Glencross, Ovechkin caught Chicago Blackhawks’ defenseman Niklas Hjlamarsson with another hit in the upper chest and head region. This time, it was whistled by the referees as an illegal check to the head:

Clinton continues and argues for and against an Ovechkin suspension.

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Kypreos vs. Healy On Ovechkin And A Few More Topics

from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,

Sportsnet has a debate segment on its NHL coverage called “To The Point” in which Nick Kypreos and Glenn Healy argue different perspectives on hockey’s most pressing issues. Or if they run out of them, “Is Alex Ovechkin coachable?”

That was the topic on Wednesday night* during the Washington Capitals’ game at the Edmonton Oilers, one of the few games this season in which Ovechkin went scoreless.

Kypreos took the “I believe in Ovie” side, although he said Ovechkin is “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” and said it’s “his last chance to prove he’s not a coach killer.” Which sounds really ominous, until you consider that it doesn’t really mean anything except that he’ll get another coach or two or 10 before his contract runs out.

Healy attempted to make that point, although it was like giving a filet mignon to a hot dog vendor to cook. Here’s Healy on Ovechkin’s coachability:

continued and/or watch the segment below which also includes more topics...

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The Star Player And Barry Trotz

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

We’re still in the honeymoon of this relationship, with the Capitals unbeaten at 3-0-2 as they open their three-game Western Canadian swing against the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Yet it seemed fitting to ask Trotz, Washington’s fifth head coach since Ovechkin entered the league in 2005, how he plans to get the 51 goals out of his superstar winger, but shore up the minus-35 defensive rating.

“Dominik Hasek used to say, a star player starts each year at minus-10,” began the coach, referring to the desperate situations near the end of games, when a team goes all out to score and so often gives a goal up. Or the fact that the best players face the best competition, and thus, are bound to surrender more goals than someone playing against the other team’s fourth line.

“So star players start out at minus-10. How (Ovechkin) got the other minus-25, I’m not quite sure,” Trotz said with a laugh. “There are some things in his game that he is committed to change. Not all of (his deficiencies) were Alex’s fault. Some of the things he was asked to do, it probably took away from him defensively. The player that I know has been very good in all those areas.”

Normally in a column about Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals, it’s right around now where one points out that nothing this club does in the regular season matters anymore. 

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, barry+trotz

Video- Alex Ovechkin Goes Down Fairly Easy

Would you call this embellishment or a dive by Alex Ovechkin?

 

 

Below a recap of how the NHL will handle the diving/embellishment this year...

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Pressure On Crosby And Ovechkin

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

They came into the league out of the ashes of a soul-sucking lockout that scuttled an entire season and got the kind of fanfare that precedes players maybe once in a generation.

They were asked to do nothing less than restore hope and guide the NHL into a new future, a new golden age of hockey.

So on many levels, it's hard to argue that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin haven't delivered on those demands in spades, time and time again.

"They're still the face of the league. For sure they are," said one longtime NHL player who has worked at a number of positions with a number of teams around the league.

Between them, Crosby and Ovechkin have collected five Hart Trophies and six Ted Lindsay Awards as the players' MVP in the past eight seasons. And then there's Crosby's Stanley Cup ring and two Olympic gold medals.

"That's not going away," the source said of the two players' accomplishments, regardless of whatever issues assail their respective franchises.

continued

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, sidney+crosby

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.

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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):

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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.

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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.
 

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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.

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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,

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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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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."

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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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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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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.

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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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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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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...

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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.

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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.”

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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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