On February 13, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Cam Jannsen destroys Matt Bradley. Quintin Laing regulates. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Top: Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Caps desperately wanted to break their two-game slide that has followed their epic winning streak. They played a disciplined, almost subdued games tonight, but that restraint did not bring them a win. Tied from the end of the 2nd period, tonight’s game in St. Louis went all the way to the shootout, where David Perron deflected a puck off of Jose’s back for the winning shot. Blues beat Caps 4-3.
A few months ago, while Capitals fans and myself eagerly awaited the announcement of the Canadian Olympic Team, we only wanted General Manager Steve Yzerman to say one name. We heard Crosby. We groaned. We heard Brodeur. We nodded. We saw baby pictures. We vomited.
We heard Dan Boyle and Drew Doughty. Then Duncan Keith and Scott Niedermayer. Next was Chris Pronger and Brent Seabrook. And then… the 7th and final defenseman… Shea Weber?
After all the days that have passed since, we here at RMNB have still struggled to understand how Canada’s Best Defenseman, Mike Green, was left off the roster. Even as recently as Friday Night during the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, I professed to Daniel that Mike Green’s Defensive Acumen was at worst an 8 out of 10 – but more realistically a 9. And I said “EASILY” too. This prompted Daniel to investigate my claims as he was quite suspicious. Below are Daniel’s findings. How has Mike Green stacked up against his fellow countrymen and the rest of the NHL this year? See for yourself below the jump. You might be surprised.
Fedor, our dear Russian who never sleeps, noticed this mammoth interview between Sport Express journalist Slava Malamud and Alex Ovechkin two nights ago, which was done right before the Washington/Montreal game. This is Part II of their interview translated. You can check out Part I that we published yesterday here.
Alex Ovechkin “Lundqvist is the coolest”
Slava Malamud- What about Canada? Alex Ovechkin – Why do I have to think about Canada? Why not the Czech Republic?
SM – Russia – Canada is the trademark of hockey. Hockey as a sport would be absolutely different without that rivalry. AO – I don’t disagree that everyone’s dreaming about these two teams in the final. But we have a situation where to dream is to damage. We can’t dream, we must play “at this moment”. Moment by moment.
SM – Pretty Canadian ideology. By the way, Don Cherry says again and again that you have a Canadian spirit and that all his countrymates should try to become like you. AO – I’m Russian. I’m not a Canadian.
SM – You were told that you’re a “hit-n-run” player. AO – It was just figuratively speaking, it was a joke. I’m “shoot-n-run”…? Seriously, I don’t like this perception. Was Wayne Gretzky “hit-n-run”. Or Mario Lemieux? Or Jarome Iginla? Or Crosby? Why are all Canadians called “hit-n-run”? Let’s not make this thing simpler than it is.
SM – By the way, about Crosby. You have much more assists than him even though he’s a centerman [Ed. Note - Really he's centerBABY]. You’re one of the League Leaders in assists. But in Torino you didn’t have one. What happened? AO – I just shoot and teammates score on the rebounds.
SM – Let’s continue about Crosby. Vancouver may be your last chance to prove that you’re better than him outright. AO – I’ll try to do it, if God will allow us to play in the finals. But really, I want to win more than to prove something.
SM – Short tournaments often are won by the goalies. Whom are you afraid of? AO – First of all – Brodeur. And the other Canadian – Luongo. When he played in the West i had problems with him.
SM – But others? If someone needs to depend on a goalie, they are not the favorites. Like Hasek and Czechs in 98. AO – But why, for example, Swedes are not favorites? OK, I’ll name their goalie – Lundqvist. I know him better than others and i think he’s the coolest.
Keep reading: Ovechkin makes an Olympics Guarantee!
On February 11, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Sasha's Compete Level = Meh. Nets Hat Trick & Assist in Loss anyways. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
The Washington Capitals officially have a defensive crisis. Despite an offensive onslaught, the Capitals allowed (at least) one too many goals in tonight’s match-up with the Senators. With Tom Poti and Shaone Morrisonn out, Karl Alzner and Tyler Sloan did their best to fill in. They failed. The defense seemed incapable of winning battles in the corners or clearing the puck, and the offense seemed too concerned with goal-scoring to be bothered with work in their own zone. These are not new problems for the Caps, but they have worsened in the last five or six games. Led by Alexei Kovalev and Jason Spezza, Ottawa seized on the Capitals’ weakness to win the night. Sens Beat Caps 6-5.
Fedor saw this mammoth interview between Sport Express journalist Slava Malamud and Alex Ovechkin, which was done right before the Canadiens game last night. This is Part I of their interview translated. Part II will come tomorrow!
“My best goal was against Brodeur”
Slava Malamud – You’re still playing games in the NHL but Olympics are getting closer and closer. And very soon your friends and teammates will become rivals, rivals will become friends… Alex Ovechkin – Yeah, pretty funny feelings. I look at the guys in the locker room and unintentionally think that we’ll play against each other soon. And we’ll play hard. And we’ll struggle against each other. Pretty strange, yes.
SM- How do you get yourself focused before the important games or tournaments? AO – Nothing special. I go there and play. Goalies have some weird traditions, but goalies are not like the other people. But I like to listen to good music before the game. I put some good hip-hop and think about the game. But usually if you like some music, it will tune you in right. For example, it’s more fun to warm up with music than without it. That’s all.
SM – Are your feelings getting worked up? Even now, a few days before the Olympics? AO – Sure I’m feeling that I will come to Vancouver very soon. I’ll represent my country and, obviously, I’ve been thinking about it.
SM – But what’s your thoughts? You have something to remember – Torino, Quebec… AO – No, the last Olympiad is over. I never think about it. And not only because we didn’t have success there. We had some good games there. But why do we have to remember the past?
SM – To learn from it. For example, Pavel Datsyuk said that team was going limp psychologically after the win over Canada. AO – I have another point of view, but it’s ok. Everyone can to have his own. I don’t want to remember it.
SM – But there were not only bad things, for example, you scored against Brodeur… AO – Yeah, it was the best goal in my career. Number one!
SM – You put it higher than unbelievable goal against the Coyotes? Higher than pirouette goal against the Canadiens? Higher than all your hat-tricks? AO – Sure. That was very important and then I played for my country.
SM – But do you have an ideal goal? Goal of your dreams? AO – I don’t want to dream about an ideal goal. I will remember it better once I have scored it. But an ideal goal… how about an empty netter at the last second. It’s the easiest, and the win is guaranteed.
Keep reading: Alexander talks smack about Canada after the jump!
On February 11, 2010, In Exclusive, By Peter Hassett
On January 12th, 2010, the Washington Capitals got smacked down by the Tampa Bay Lightning. That game was marked by a lack of focus, weak goalie performance, and an insufficient will to win. It was only Alex Ovechkin’s fourth game as Captain, so the loss might have hit him hard (see Bradley stealing his fight). Something about that 7-4 scrubbing might have woken the team up. Maybe that loss was the impetus for the 14-game winning streak that followed.
In honor of The Streak (R.I.P.), the Russian Machine takes a fond look back at how it all came together.
On February 11, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Bruce Boudreau in the same pose as our WTF Shirt
The Montreal Canadiens have done what a dozen teams could not do: end the Washington Capitals record-shattering win streak. The game felt like a trap from the opening minute when Scott Gomez triangulated a goal on Michal Neuvirth. It was the second period, however, when everything went pear-shaped. In that period the Caps had only one goal (by Nick Backstrom) to answer a whopping four from Montreal.
Entering the final frame, the Capitals faced a 3-goal deficit. Mike Green erased one of those marks in the first minutes, followed by Brooks Laich nine minutes later. After relying on back-up goalie Jose Theodore to defuse the surging Montreal offense, the Caps waited until the final minute of play to even it up. Employing a gentle deflection, Brooks Laich evened the game up, earned his first hat trick, and secured a guarantee of at least one point.
But then Tomas Plekanec proved to be one man too many for the overwhelmed Caps defense. Before we even had a moment to process it, the streak had ended. Habs beat Caps 6-5. Wah wah wah.
This week we look at Alex Ovechkin’s chances of going down as the greatest goal-scorer in NHL history, a break-down of last week’s big Kovalchuk trade, a look at the change in average shift length for today’s players versus those from 10 years ago (with a certain Capital being a rare exception), and busting a few common myths using the Vancouver Canucks as an example.
I had to wrangle these links up quickly, since I forgot what day it was. That’s when happens when you’re snowed in for almost a week without seeing the outside world. At least I had my spreadsheets to keep me busy.
Q: What was the reason of Capitals’ slow start [at Sunday's game]?
Alex Ovechkin: Weather meddled in it for sure. We’re used to seeing fans wind us up during warm-ups. But some fans were late to the start of the game due to snowfall. It was unusually silent. Perhaps it unsettled us. But when the fans stepped up for the third period, we just couldn’t stop.
Q: In the first period, when you were boarded, Knuble fought for you.
A: It’s one of the moments; when you see your teammates ready to fight for you if something happens. It was a turning point for us. Everyone started to fight. Mike received 17 penalty minutes. That was what we needed. I so like hard games.
Q: Your productivity before the Olympics is perfect.
A: I’m going to be the optimal fit for Vancouver. What am I to do? I must do it.
I, for one, choose to interpret that last answer as a declaration of infallibility. When taken in combination with AO’s hubristic interview with Lindsay Czarniak, The Great Eight seems to promise to return from Vancouver with stratospheric goal production, a gold medal, and the head of (Canadian superstar) Bill Shatner. Others, however, might consider this a radical interpretation of the text.
[Ed Note: Last year during the Capitals Playoff run, Slava Malamud wrote an 800-word post about how to pronounce Russian Players names correctly for Capitals Insider. Problem was - after talking to RMNB groupmember Fedor Fedin (who resides in Moscow, Russia) - Slava wasn't really doing the pronunciations justice. So today, with Fedor's help, the Russian Machine is going to teach you how to say your favorite Russian Superstars names correctly. And yes, with wonderful, wonderful audio. Enjoy!]
One of the most frustrating things about being a fan of the Washington Capitals in Moscow is how much Americans mispronounce Russian Players’ names. Everybody does it! And a lot of the time, nobody has a clue they’re even doing it.
Do you know how many times I’ve heard «S-I-M-I-N» or «S-E-M-Y-O-N», and cringed? Let’s say more than a handful. But now it’s time for you to learn with my help.