Michal Neuvirth and Karl Alzner, Key catalysts in tonight's game, celebrate a job well done. (Photos by Kyle M.)
It had been 12 days since the Hershey Bears last played. And tonight it only took 16 seconds for them to shake off the rust.
Sean Collins wicked shot from the point opened the scoring in Game 1 of Hershey’s Eastern Conference Finals Series against the Manchester Monarchs, and Andrew Gordon’s rebound tally on the powerplay 10 minutes later in the first period gave Hershey a 2 goal lead they’d never relinquish. Steve Pinizzotto (GWG) and Karl Alzner also chipped in with goals for the Bears on a night where they improved to 9-1 in this year’s postseason and won their 6th consecutive playoff game.
Tonight if you were like us, you sat in front of your TV, ate smoked salmon with a fork and laughed at Pittsburgh’s unlikely demise to the Habs. Sure, it totally sucked when the Capitals lost in the first round to this rag-tag group of “team players” from North of the Border. But after seeing Sid the Kid fail the ultimate test tonight (boarding penalty 10 seconds in which led to Habs first goal of the game, 0 points, -2), maybe – just maybe – this talk that Sidney Crosby is by far and away the best player in the game can die down a bit.
By the way, for those of you not watching (which is pretty much everyone except for Fedor), Semin has a 3-point game so far (1G, 2A), and Ovechkin already has one goal.
PL: What do you know about the Kazakhstan team? AO: I don’t know anything about this team. The only thing I know is that Vitaly Eremeyev is the goalie there. Good, reliable goalie.
PL: Soviet Sport talked to him, and he remembers that he last played against you at the Torino Olympics [Ed. note - Final score was 1-0 Russia]. And if Kazakhstan will play as firmly as there, they’ll be able to take some points. AO: The’ll have a chance for sure. I’m not going to argue with this.
PL: Especially if Russia won’t play better in the powerplay… AO: I wouldn’t make such an precise decision. It was our first game. The big one is ahead. We have to organize our interactions. We have some time for this. First step is to organize our game.
PL: Finns were going to organize, too, but Denmark smashed them. AO: A lot of teams show a high level of play at the Champs. I can’t say who’s the main contender. There are five [or] six teams who fight for the medals every time. But others are coming; they may surprise and win.
PL: Anyway, were there more positives or negatives in the game against Slovakia? AO: Positives, for sure. We won. How? No one cares.
PL: But those last minutes were pretty disturbing. AO: We wanted to create some intrigue. Make our fans upset. It’s hockey.
PL: General Manager of the Capitals, George McPhee, said Ovechkin shouldn’t come to Germany… AO: If you have an opportunity to play at the Champs, why shouldn’t I play for my country? Yes, the season was tiring. But I always have force– even after the playoffs. We exerted ourselves with the Caps, but five days is enough to restore myself completely. Our break will be in the summer.
Bam. Ovie’s not tired! Ovie’s not afraid of Kazakhstan! Ovie’s not afraid of Bykov’s chaotic un-coaching!
For the three people in the audience watching the game legally, let us know how it’s going in the comments below.
Posting fan art is one of our favorite features on RMNB. It’s eminently rewarding to share the contributions of the fan community, particularly on those rare occasions when said art does not contain an illustrated Sidney Crosby getting disemboweled by Vancouver Island Marmot. Happy we are that Rachel Cohen shared these gorgeous images of Nicklas Backstrom, Semyon Varlamov, and — the Russian Machine himself– Alexander Ovechkin.
Follow us past the jump, where we get to know Rachel and her lovely artwork.
Dear God, the Russian Machine does bleed red blood like the rest of us.
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.
As of a few weeks ago, the prospects for the Russian National Team at the World Championships did not look very rosy. Injuries to Zaripov, Morozov, coupled with not very good play of the goalies in the Gagarin Cup gave Russian fans legitimate concerns. And the failure of Vancouver is far from forgotten, which will cast a negative shadow on everything regarding the Russian team.
However, the results from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were like balm to the soul of our fans. New Jersey Devil Ilya Kovalchuk, Los Angeles Kings Alexander Frolov, and Nashville Predator Denis Grebeshkov were eliminated. And the Washington Capitals struggled against the Montreal Canadiens and ended their season, thus releasing Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Semyon Varlamov to the national team.
As it turns out, throughout the season we can root for our hockey players in the NHL, but when it’s playoffs time, we are all together in wishing them defeat.
But the real question is, what’s the mood of the NHL players who are coming to the team? Especially of those who were looking for a better result in their NHL seasons.
Well, if Ovechkin doing the robot wasn’t funny enough, YouTube user ElevateYourLevel did us the favor of creating the greatest Music Video of all time from the footage. He brilliantly combined Ovechkin’s greatest goals with an autotuned Rachel Nichols and an electronica beat made out of the Ovechkin phrase “don’t celebration when you score goal.” Which leads me to believe, bad grammar + house beat = win everytime. ElevateYourLevel, consider my level elevated. Everyone else, please enjoy.
Tonight during Montreal’s huuuge 3-2 victory over the Penguins, Versus blessed us with this shot of the crowd after Montreal netted the go ahead goal.
Ouch. En Francais, I think this means Crosby needs a shower.
With the Habs tying up the series 2-2 tonight, could a second upset be in the works? I don’t know. But one thing’s for sure: Though I hate the Canadiens, they are clearly the better of two evils here. Let’s go Nads!
If you need a close-up of the sign, click below! Also, special thanks to James W. for the photos.