Tag Archives: Alex Ovechkin

Russians Dismissed

Kolyma_road00

Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeny Malkin and other Russian players are seen here in northern Siberia after losing to the Finns 3-1 in Olympic quarterfinals action today in Sochi.

What a disappointment this must be to the Russian nation and Prez Putin.

In fact, Putin is probably more than mildly upset and I’d advise Pussy Riot to stay out of his way for a day or two.

Mercury Rising

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It was the Edmonton Mercurys representing Canada in the 1952 Olympics in Oslo, Norway, and they got it done.

Billy Dawe and the boys won their first seven contests and sealed a gold medal for Canada with a 3-3 tie against the U.S., and why they could only tie the Americans I’ve no idea.

And incredibly, the 1952 gold medal would be Canada’s last for the next 50 years as the Soviets in particular got better and better, winning eight of the next twelve Olympic golds until Canada finally reclaimed it in 2002 at Salt Lake City.

The. U.S. and Sweden would win two golds along the way, with the Czech Republic capturing one. But none for good old Canada, left in the dust.

The Russians especially were a powerhouse and that had to change. It was our game. They were good at soccer, ballet, and circuses, but we were great at hockey, even though we couldn’t beat them..

And thus begat the 1972 Summit Series. Bring in the big boys.

Now it’s 2014 and the Sochi Olympics and we’re bringing in the big boys again, although everyone else has their own big boys too.

Especially the Russians, and they’re going to be as tough now as they’ve always been.

Only instead of Bobrov and Kharlamov and Makarov and all the others over the years, now it’s Malkin and Ovechkin and Kovalchuk and the gang.

But regardless, I’m predicting Canada to bring home gold. Both men and women. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t.

Go Canada!

 

Ready For Tonight

All set to go with no lingering beer effects, the TV will be nicely warmed-up, and I’m ready to say all kinds of nice things about the Canadiens after they wallop the Florida Panthers tonight at the Bell Centre.

It might prove tough for the gang though, considering they flew back from New York in a snowstorm in the wee hours of Sunday, with the Panthers not having played in a few days and winning their last two games in shootouts against good teams – the Caps on Friday and Wings last Tuesday.

With the Canadiens, all we’re asking for is a win and more scoring from different guys. Two goals in three games isn’t exactly fire-wagon hockey.

But they’ll turn it around because that’s what they do.

The question on everyone’s lips – Will Scott Gomez be in the Florida lineup? It’s a concern. The sniper, who has scored one goal this year and was on track for possibly a two-goal season, hasn’t dressed since Nov. 30 when he was a minus-2.

Fans pay big money for tickets and when Pittsburgh comes to town, they want to see Sidney Crosby. Same with Washington and Ovechkin.

Same with Florida and Gomez.

 

 

Streak Stopped

The Canadiens fall to the Washingon Capitals 3-2 in a shootout at the Verizon corral, and thus, visions of five straight are down the proverbial toilet because the Habs couldn’t bury the home team when they were leading 2-1 going into the third period.

Damn.

But it’s a road point, we put it behind us, and focus on the rotten bastard Buds Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

Some of you know about my complicated Habs scientific tracking system whereas yellow means a win and no yellow means a loss.

But I’ve added another dimension, although it’s not on the actual scientific tracking system piece of paper.

I gave each player a tick whenever they made a nice play. I know, there’s flaws. Are small nice plays worthy of a tick or only big nice plays? And then there’s those times I was at the fridge and missed a few seconds.

Regardless, the scientific ticking system shows Markov with five ticks, PK, Eller, Desharnais and Plekanec with four, Gionta with three, Gallagher, Briere, Emelin and Prust with two, and everyone else with one except Bouillon and Moen, who managed none.

The Canadiens outshot the Caps 13-4 in the first period, killed off four minutes of penalties, and led 1-0 after Daniel Briere snuck one in.

In the second period, Washington tied it after Peter Budaj decided to be way too slow and loosey-goosey with the puck behind the net, the puck was stripped and ended up in the net, and maybe that was the game-changer. Even though Tomas Plekanec put the gang in front later on after a nice exchange with Brian Gionta.

But they couldn’t bury them, the Caps hung in, tied it in the third, and won it in the shootout.

I guess we can’t expect two points every night. Okay, we can expect it. Nothing wrong with that.

Random notes:

Eller and DD scored in the shootout but Galchenyuk and Plekanec didn’t.

Next up – the Laffs on Samedi soir. Should be a beauty.

Luci, who’s Russian, informed me that Ovechkin means “from the lamb family” in Russian.

Markov means “belonging to the stamp family”.

 

Game Day, With The Caps In Town

It’s game number 45 tonight for the Canadiens, with the Washington Capitals paying a visit to the Bell Centre, and of course the team needs to continue to build off their decent if unspectacular last-minute win over the Lightning on Thursday.

A lousy game for the Habs will mean the slump isn’t ended, and it’s imperative that it has.

The last time these two teams met, on April 9th in Montreal, the Capitals squeezed out a 3-2 win, and it was the line of Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brandon Prust who stood tall, with Eller scoring both Habs goals, Galchenyuk adding two assists and Prust one. It was also Rene Bourque’s first game back after his concussion situation, and he surprised all of us with his six solid hits.

It might also have been the beginning of Carey Price’s recent shakiness, as I mentioned in my game post from that night:

Maybe Carey Price wasn’t sensational. A couple of long shots with seeing eyes found their way past him. A puck in close bounced up and probably hit Andrei Markov’s stick before going in. But aside from the first period when he was getting it done in fine fashion, he wasn’t tremendously sharp, even though the goals might not have been his fault.

A netminder on top of his game will come up with the impossible in situations like these. Leave fans gasping and the other team pulling their hair out. Price fell slightly short of this on this night.

Random Notes:

Looks like Raphael Diaz is finally back, which is such great news. Now, if some slimy Caps player goes after Diaz’s head, the guy should be suspended for the entire playoffs.

The game plan is this – frustrate Alex Ovechkin, and wipe that annoying grin off Mike Ribeiro’s face.

 

A Much-Needed Win By Canadiens

It wasn’t perfect, not by any stretch, but the Canadiens right the ship slightly by edging the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2, and for now at least, thing’s are back to where we want them. In the win column. Is there any other place?

It’s a nice combination – winning with Carey Price being one of the three stars – and both of course are polar opposites of what’s gone down in the past week. So even though some luck was involved, and it was against a team 21 points behind Montreal, it was one small step for man, one giant leap for the Habs situation.

Brian Gionta broke the 2-2 deadlock with his second goal of the game with just 46 seconds remaining, and it came compliments of  former Canadien Benoit Pouliot wrestling Subban with a fine headlock when it truly wasn’t necessary. It was a serious lack of judgement on Pouliot’s part, and it seemed the type of thing he would pull on occasion when he was a Hab.

I’m just happy Pouliot came to this decision, and although the Canadiens power play was ineffective throughout, Gionta made no mistake when the final chance presented itself.

Although the first stars were Gionta, Price, and Alex Galchenyuk, I’d also like to give Pouliot honourable mention for his Subban mugging. Maybe at the end of the season, we can say the true turning point of a crucial turnaround came when Pouliot decided to give his best Hulk Hogan impression.

Carey Price was another story on this night. He was often lucky, with a couple of goalposts and a crossbar entering into things, but at times he was also excellent, much better than he has been lately, and we’ll take that thank you very much. It gives us hope.

Random Notes:

Two goals from Gionta, and Alex Galchenyuk once again bulged the twine, his fourth in five games, and has racked up nine points in the last nine games.

As a bit of an understatement, I’d say we need Andrei Markov to pick it up several notches. Hopefully he still has it in him. Markov has 27 points in 44 games, which is the team’s fourth best, but he’s also a minus-11, often unreliable, and has slowed down somewhat. But he’s still a key guy and we need him to get it together.

The Canadiens once again jump ahead of the Bruins with this win, and find themselves a comfortable six points up on the Leafs after Toronto fell 5-3 to the Islanders. It was a fine night in many ways.

Alex Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals are at the Bell on Saturday, and how great it would be if the Canadiens kicked some supreme derriere at this time. And how great would it be if Carey Price once again stood tall and continued his climb back.

It was nice to see Michel Therrien stay out and congratulate each and every player as they came off the ice. That sort of thing can go a long way.

 

 

 

One Writer’s Trophy Candidates

Because there’s been talk of certain Canadiens possibly grabbing hardware at season’s end, I’ve wondered who else around the league might be in the thick of things in different categories, and how professional writers might view some of the Habs who have a shot.

So it was interesting to see how Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province rates players he says are in the running, with him, and maybe some cohorts at the Province, coming up with some personal picks.

The Hart Trophy (MVP)

Jamieson’s three finalists are Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Alex Ovechkin (Washington), and Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim), and he decides on Crosby, although he mentions that Ovechkin is pushing hard.

James Norris Memorial Trophy (top defenceman)

Shea Weber (Nashville), Ryan Suter Minnesota, and P.K. Subban and Jamieson chooses Suter. About Subban, he says P.K. has finally decided to let his play do the talking, and the results confirm he’ll win this trophy soon enough. (just not this year). I disagree. Subban has been brilliant and deserves to win.

Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)

Tuukka Rask (Boston), Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus), and Cory Schneider (Vancouver), and Jamieson apologizes to Canucks fans because he chooses Rask.

Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie)

Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida), and Jonas Brodin (Minnesota) are the three finalists, and although Huberdeau leads rookies in scoring, the writer picks Gallagher, which of course I agree with.

Frank J. Selke (best defensive forward)

Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), David Backes (St. Louis).  The choice is Toews, with his league leading plus-33.

Lady Byng – (sportsmanship/high standard of play)

Datsyuk, Jordan Eberle (Edmonton), and Loui Eriksson (Dallas).  Who wins? Flip a coin, says Jamieson. He then chooses Eberle.

Jack Adams Award (coach of the year)

Joel Quenneville (Chicago), Bruce Boudreau (Anaheim), and Michel Therrien, and Jamieson picks Therrien. He says Anaheim and Montreal have been the season’s surprise teams, and he gives the nod to Therrien for a better storyline – about a guy who’s been frozen out by the NHL since his firing from Pittsburgh in 2009.

Game Day

It’s game day, the Washington Capitals are in town, and this is a team that must be feeling good about themselves right now. The Caps are 6-0-1 in their last seven contests, and are being led by the guy many, including myself, thought had seen better days – Alex Ovechkin.

According to the Capitals’ website at NHL.com, Ovechkin has scored 20 goals in his last 23 games. It seems he’s found new life. The last time I paid any attention, he looked slow and uninterested.

Didn’t he get married not that long ago? Is this another classic example of the old adage that behind every good man is a good woman? Or is it uncool to say this nowadays?

Whatever the reason, he needs to be neutralized. Get him off his game somehow. Maybe we could slip him a note saying his wife was just seen with Sean Avery!

Nicklas Backstrom is hot too, with 28 points in 23 games, and he could also pose a problem. I’m thinking that one of those open-ice wallops from Mr. Subban might do the trick.

There’s absolutely no reason why Montreal shouldn’t close the deal. They’re 13 points ahead of this team in the standings, and as hot as the Caps are, the Habs are right there too, sizzling like a steak on a barbeque. The Capitals may be 6-0-1 in their last seven, but the Canadiens are five wins and just one loss in their last six. So as the famous scholar Alfred E. Newman once said, “What, me worry?”

In their one previous meeting this season, in Washington on January 24th, Montreal won 4-1, and did so with Andrei Markov scoring two power play goals and P.K. Subban sitting at home without a new contract. Subban would sign four days later.

What’s slightly disturbing about the NHL/Capitals write-up is that it mentions that the Capitals have shutout the Canadiens in their last three visits to the Bell Centre, dating back to March of 2011. Three different Caps goaltenders registered these zeros, including Braden Holtby, who is expected to start tonight.

I expect we’ve seen the end of that nonsense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crosby-Talk

Crosby

It’s been a few days now since Sidney Crosby took a puck in the face in which he lost some teeth and had his jaw broken, and I’ve been thinking about it a fair amount since it happened.

For one thing, with a couple of chicklets nestled on his jersey and the painful look on his face, it’s living proof that pucks are hard. It certainly must have hurt like hell, especially after the freezing wore off.

And I thought, this is a fellow with some truly bad luck, who had missed much of last season due to concussion, and he comes back fully recovered and in fine form, and then this happens. Is this payback from an evil clothes dryer he used to shoot at?

It also occurred to me that the Penguins signed Iginla and the other guys just in time, and I figured they’ve almost come out smelling like roses aside from the fact they’ve just lost probably the best player on the planet.

It then went through my head how this could be good for the Habs, as Crosby may not be 100% if and when the Canadiens meet the Penguins at some point in the post-season. How long does it take to recover from eating liquids for a month? I just hope concussion issues don’t arise from this. This is a fellow human being we’re talking about.

The best player in the world needs to play, and if Montreal is going to win it, I want them to win it with Crosby healthy. The Canadiens rolled through both him and Ovechkin in the 2010 playoffs, and this year the possibilities are endless, no matter who it is they go up against. And I don’t wish serious harm on anyone, although I guess seeing Matt Cooke run over by a souped-up zamboni might be kind of fun.

Hopefully, Sid’s healing goes well and he’s back in shipshape form sooner than later. The league needs him, he’s a class act, and that’s enough bad luck for a guy who grew up a Habs fan.