Photo credit: Greg Fiume
In Sunday’s matinee against their most hated rival, the Washington Capitals had their second straight dominant performance, beating Pittsburgh at home 3-0. Since they lost to the Pens in game seven of the 2008-09 playoffs, the Capitals have won six out of their last seven meetings and have outscored the Pens 29-17 during that same span.
Unfortunately, there were two key incidents that overshadowed talk of the game itself. First, Tim Wallace tried to exact revenge on “Danger” Dave Steckel for his incidental contact with Sidney Crosby in the Winter Classic. And second, perrenial agitator Matt Cooke tried to take out the Great 8 with a knee-on-knee collision late in the third period.
After the game, SovSport’s Pavel Lysenkov spoke with Alex Ovechkin and asked him what he thought about Cooke’s hit, the physical nature of hockey, and Evgeni Malkin’s season-ending injury. Below the jump, RMNB’s Igor Kleyner has the translation.
Pavel Lysenkov – What do you think about the incident at the end of the game, where Matt Cooke hit you knee-on-knee?
Alex Ovechkin – It was just a collision, and part of the game. There’s nothing to worry about.
PL – Was it payback by Pittsburgh for Crosby’s injury?
AO – Oh, come on. Payback to whom? For what? ::in a dismissing tone::
PL – Did you see Malkin’s injury?
AO – I did not see the replay. It’s very disappointing that the season is lost for him. I don’t know when he can recover. It’s a very serious injury.
PL – Will he be able to return to the level where he was scoring 100 points in a season?
AO – I have no doubt about it. Zhenya knows how to recuperate after injuries, how to return to form. What? Has he become a lesser player now?
PL – But Bure’s career ended because of similar injuries.
AO – I don’t think it’s that serious.
PL – Do you want to say anything through the newspaper to your Sbornaya (national team) comrade?
AO – What can I say? “Hang on, Malych. Such is life. Get better.”
PL – Should the NHL switch to the bigger ice surface to avoid such an avalanche of injuries?
AO – I disagree. That would lead to a less spectacular game. Yes, there are a lot of injuries, but that’s because it’s a man’s game. Everybody is fighting to make the playoffs. What’s the alternative, skate around empty ice, like ballerinas?
PL – So, injuries are the price for entertainment?
AO – I do not want the NHL game to become less physical. Then we may as well go play in China. Have a normal tournament there, everybody will stay healthy. Or you can make a career playing in a beer league.
Everybody takes risks here in every game. If Cooke was more precise, he would have shattered my knee. In hockey, you are not guaranteed anything.
PL – Did you see the KHL All Star game?
AO – No, I didn’t see it.
PL – Avangard’s defenseman Denis Kulyash had a harder slapshot than Zdeno Chara. What do you think?
AO – Boston should immediately sign Kulyash to a contract. And let Chara go to Omsk.
AO – Awesome! Soon there will be two showmen playing for the Capitals!
Additional reporting by Ian Oland.