The wounds from the Caps’ round-one playoff loss are still raw, but we are on the mend. The downtrodden leader of the Caps’, Alex Ovechkin, has linked up with his countrymen to mend some of those wounds. The world championships began this weekend in Cologne, Germany, reuniting Ovechkin, Semyon Varlamov, and Alex Semin with their former teammates, Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov. Today’s match found the Capitals Russians facing off against the Slovakians, coached by former Caps benchmaster, Glen Hanlon.
The Russian goalie, massive Vasili Kosechkin, did not face a flurry of pucks until late in the second period. When the Slovaks finally mounted their offensive attacks, a sneaky wrister from former Capitals farmhand Ivan Majesky threatened to start a scoring spree. The Russians managed to hold off the Slovaks’ recovery, earning them a first round win– Alex Ovechkin’s first in four games.
Ovechkin played a ton of minutes, including the entirety of a mid-game power play. Somewhere George McPhee is double-dosing his antihypertensives. Despite the workout, Alex seemed to be enjoying himself out there. He and Alex “lil Sasha” Semin exchanged some flashy passes in the offensive zone and scored off of a great faceoff win by senior statesman Sergei Fedorov (Awwwww, look how happy he is up there!). We’re not sure when, but Ovie opened a cut above his mouth, so he looked like he was drinking fruit punch all day.
The Slovaks took a good 30 minutes before they were able to marshall their forces, but they were surprisingly aggressive once they did. A physical presence on both sides of the ice, they never allowed the Russians to strut.
That Slava’s (Vyacheslav Bykov) coaching career continues will baffle me for years. I’m not sure what he brings to the bench besides looking like a second-string James Bond villain.
Sergei Federov foolishly sent the puck out of play from his own zone, causing the 6-on-4 power play that ended the game. The Russians were on their heels for a moment, but master PK operative Victor Kozlov found the empty net, effectively nailing shut the Slovaks’ coffin.
In summary, Russia wins their first game in the World Championships 3-1. Alex Ovechkin scores the game-winning goal and is named the player of the game. He wins a sweet, new Rolex. I’m thinking I love hockey again!