In the interview, Brooks speaks at length about his fan allegiance (split between the Orioles and Expos), how his struggles in the postseason extended to youth baseball, and his totally appropriate adulation of Cal Ripken.
Steffen and Markus Soberg during the Division 1 Group A World Juniors (Photo credit: IIHF).
In Norway, NHLers are few and far between. Unlike neighboring Denmark and Germany (let alone Sweden), Norway hasn’t established itself as a producer of elite hockey talent. As of right now, only 18 Norwegians have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft, only seven have played in an NHL game, and just one is currently a part of a big-league roster: the Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello.
Hockey fans from Norway sure hope some of their fellow countrymen will be selected in the upcoming draft and one of the names they’re waiting to be called in Newark in late June will sound familiar for the Caps fans: Markus Soberg.
FREDERICK, MD – On the eve of a pivotal game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, fans of the eliminated Washington Capitals finally chose their allegiance. ”If Bylsma doesn’t play Marc-Andre Fleury, he’ll be squandering the Pens’ chance at the Cup,” said 24-year-old die-hard Caps fan Steve Neuschwander of Monrovia, MD. “I mean, I know his playoff save percentage has been under 90% for the last few years, but that just means he’s due.”
Neuschwander, wearing a custom-embroidered KOLZILLA Caps jersey and smelling vaguely of stale Keystone, continued, “You put your trust in Flower; he won’t let you down.” Holding one hand to his chest and the other to the sky, Neuschwander proclaimed, “I want the Penguins to win this as much as anyone, and they’re not gonna do it without MAF.”
Washington Capitals goaltending prospect Sergey Kostenko has left the organization and will return to Russia to compete for a spot with his home team, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, the team’s head coach Alexander Kitov told Novokuznetsk Sports Portal. Last year, off-season shoulder surgery, several injuries, and an organizational goalie logjam limited Kostenko to just six games with the ECHL’s Reading Royals. Later in the season, Kostenko was loaned to the Ontario Reign where he made three more starts.
Kitov also commented on the future of two other Novokuznetsk-natives: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov and Winnipeg Jets forward Ivan Telegin.
Alex Ovechkin played 31 games for his hometown KHL team, Dynamo Moscow, before the NHL lockout ended in January. During that time, Ovechkin scored 19 goals and had 40 points. Even without Ovi and Nicklas Backstrom, Dynamo went on to beat Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Traktor Chelyabinsk in the finals and repeat as champions. And because of his teammates’ hard work, his role as an advisor, and early season stint with the team, Ovechkin got some pretty sweet hardware for his trouble.
Ovechkin will receive the team’s championship ring, his name has been written on the Gagarin Cup, and now, Ovi has joined his Dynamo teammates on a parade through Moscow and received a gold medal. It’s not a World Championships gold medal, but hey, this will do.
Caps players seem to love America’s pastime. Some of them prefer a game of catch over the traditional pregame soccer kickaround. Some of them are filthy Blue Jays fans. Brooks Laich is a fan as well, and on Monday he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Laich also got an extensive tour of the O’s clubhouse from All Star closer Jim Johnson, a noted New York Rangers fan.
“He said ‘Just don’t bounce it,’ which is what everybody said,” Laich recalled Dickerson as saying. “I said ‘I’m gonna bring it in there’ and he goes ‘YES! Finally somebody’s gonna throw it! Bring the heat!’”
“It was awesome!” added Laich. “A lot of people asked me ‘Are you gonna be nervous?’ You’re used to preforming in front of people — maybe not in this environment but it was more exciting.”
Then there are some other Caps who jam to country music. That group includes Eric Fehr, who once detailed his love of the genre during his first go around with the Caps.
“When it comes to my music, you can tell I grew up on the farm,” Fehr was quoted by the DC Sports Bog as saying. “I really enjoy listening to country music. The guys on the team don’t let me put it on in the dressing room, but I’m pretty sure they’ll come around. Alex Ovechkin could be one of the biggest country music haters of them all.”
On Saturday night, Karl Alzner and Matt Hendricks showed they are country music aficionados too, going to WMZQ Fest held at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia. The show was headlined by Luke Bryan, who recently won the Academy of Country Music Awards’ Entertainer of the Year award and is best known for his boom boom single Drunk On You.
The day after Christmas, Nicklas Backstrom was skating in a KHL game for Dynamo Moscow. Midway through the second period of a 1-1 game, Nick took a pass in the far corner. He attempted to spin around and take the puck behind the net. Instead, Backstrom was slammed into the boards by Milan Kytnár; his face hitting the dashers. Backstrom got up, clearly shaken. He left the game after one more shift.
Given Backstrom missed 40 games last year after being concussed by Rene Bourque, this was a scary blow. Dynamo, however, insisted that his brain didn’t take the beating. It was, they said, a bruised neck. Backstrom’s agent reiterated that. But then Alex Ovechkin said something funny when asked about his teammate’s injury: “Sometimes it’s not hard hit, you just feel a little dizzy.” Dizziness, of course, does not usually go along with bruises.