TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Possible Alex Ovechkin Suspension

Photo credit: Ryan Remiorz

11:46 PM Update: NHL.com reports that both Ovechkin and Michalek will meet with the Department of Player Safety on Monday.

Bob McKenzie of The Sports Network is hockey’s version of a public intellectual; his thoughts matter concretely to the game. On Sunday night he took to Twitter to address Alex Ovechkin’s hit on Zbynek Michalek and possible discipline that may follow from it. We won’t call it “supplemental” discipline, because there was no primary discipline– although there certainly should have been.

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Everything is Happening! Pens beat Caps 4-3 (OT)

Photo credit: Justin K. Aller

Yawn. These Washington Capitals / Pittsburgh Penguins games are always such tedious affairs. Nothing interesting ever happens.

Okay, but for real. This game was a monster. The Capitals looked wounded in the first period, surrendering easy goals early and firing just four shots on net. They came back in the second transformed and reinvigorated. After Mike Knuble crashed the net and just barely missed a goal, the offense turned on. The Capitals regained the shot lead and kept their foot on the gas until the very end.

No one challenged Kris Letang on the power play, so he had a great lane and great screen on the game’s first goal. James Neal flicked one past Neuvirth right after a face off to make it 2-0. The game was six minutes old.

In the second, Dennis Wideman set up Brooks Laich for a crucial goal during 4-on-4. Alex Semin cleaned up Mathieu Perreault’s rebound to tie the game and blow our freaking minds.

In the third, Alex Ovechkin caught a wide pass from Alex Semin and beat Marc-Andre Fleury to open up a lead. James Neal finished off a brilliant zone entry by Evgeni Malkin to knot the score again. That tie took us all the way into overtime, where Malkin casually tipped in the game-winner. Pens beat Caps 4-3 (OT).

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At the end of the second period between the Capitals and Penguins, Paul Martin seems to say words to Jason Chimera that are supposed to verboten in the new NHL.

Around 2.5 seconds into the video above, Paul Martin appears to call Chimera a derogatory name for a gay man. (Sorry to be so stilted about it, but it’s hard to discuss these things for a wide audience. Plus, there’s no audio, so we can’t be certain.)

Martin started the third period in the penalty box for a slashing penalty that we could not locate.

So if Paul Martin is seen calling another player a [expletive] on national television and the league does nothing about it, then they’re just feckless and craven worms, right?

Reminder: our comment policy is strictly enforced. Be mindful of the difference between “what they did” and “what they are”.

Thank you to @tonytenor1 for pointing this out, and thanks to Peter Robbio for the video.

Video: Alex Ovechkin Hits Zbynek Michalek

During the second period of the Capitals-Penguins game on Sunday, Alex Ovechkin leveled a bad hit on Zbynek Michalek.

Michalek was stuck in the corner, Ovi charged in, left his skates, and hit Michalek in the head.

Michalek was okay, but Ovechkin should have been whistled for charging. Shanahan might take a look, but Michalek’s falling before the hit is probably exculpatory.

Capitals During Wartime: Centerless

[Editors note: over the next month, we’ll be looking at the challenges the Capitals face, the trade deadline, and the playoff chase. It’s not gonna be fun, but we gotta do this.]

When Nick Backstrom took a blow to the head from Rene Bourque on January 3rd, the Capitals lost the service of their number-one center. Backstrom was on track for a better than 80-point season, which would have been a strong recovery from the slump of ’10-’11. Instead, the team lost the anchor for its top line and its most productive forward.

Without Backstrom, the Capitals have only three strong options for centers: Marcus Johansson, Brooks Laich, Jeff Halpern. Additionally, Mathieu Perreault, Cody Eakin, and Matt Hendricks have done center duty in a pinch. Meanwhile, the Capitals offense has  been shut out twice in the last three games and have averaged only 23 shots on goal since mid-December. That’s just not good enough.

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Editor’s note: Neil Greenberg is not currently affiliated with RMNB and was not consulted for this article.

During Saturday’s game between the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes, play-by-play announcer Howie Rose criticized Neil Greenberg’s list of the top 25 players under 25 for ESPN.com (paywall, but it’s worth it). That list does not include NYI’s John Tavares, who has a team-best 46 points in his third year in the NHL.

During the discussion, Rose calls Neil a “housebound agraphobe.” We can assume he means agoraphobe, since agraphobe is a made-up word that would mean “fear of farmland” or something. Rose runs standard operating procedure for character assassination of a blogger. Four-time Stanley Cup winner Butch Goring joins the routine and accuses Neil of being a provocateur. It’s a comprehensive ad hominem screed, except that they do not mention Neil by name at any point during the two-minute, telecast-padding exercise:

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Pittsburgh Penguins Pregame: #renamePittsburgh

It’s time for your Puck Buddys pregame! Follow @PuckBuddys and adopt a dog.

The Pregame: Cartoonist Bill Griffith, who just this week turned 68, sees the overlooked and forgotten corners of America with blinding precision. We were reminded of this recently as we took a drive through portions of Pennsyltucky – clearly where the phrase “fat of the land” has great meaning – and its meth-addled capital, Pittsburgh. Or, borrowing from Zippy’s creator, Dingburg.

Previously we anointed Pittsburgh as the Epicenter of Suck. Following our travels, we can confidently proclaim that it has become, in fact, the Pinhead Center of the Universe. The gangrenous, foul-smelling trash pile of contemporary civilization. The trucker-stop, Thunderbird-guzzling, used baby diaper of cities. Imagine if Paul Verhoeven remade “Showgirls” today with the same cast and you’ve got Pittsburgh, only with less sexy and more elastic waistbands. It’s exactly that awful.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov is introduced to the crowd. (Photo credit: KHL All-Star Game site)

Our all-Evgeny Kuznetsov/all-the-time policy continues with this contractually obligated recap of the 2012 KHL All-Star Game and SuperSkills competition held in Riga, Latvia, on Saturday.

Kuznetsov nearly won in both the Fastest Skater and Breakaway Challenge. He also tallied a goal and an assist for Team Fedorov in their 15-11 win over Team Ozolins during the All-Star Game.

Below the jump, we’ve recapped our favorite moments from the the KHL’s signature event.

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All photos via the KHL’s Facebook Fan Page.

On Saturday, the KHL will host their 3rd annual All-Star Game in Riga, Latvia. Former Washington Capital Sergei Fedorov will be captaining one team at the game — a team that includes Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has 16G and 15A as of the All-Star break, leading Traktor Chelyabinsk in scoring. Kuznetsov was nominated as a starter for the game by a landslide fan vote, finishing second overall in all voting.

Ahead of the KHL’s All-Star Game, Fedorov spoke to Sport Express’ Dmitry Kuznetsov about Kuznetsov. Below the jump, Igor Kleyner offers a translation of the interview, where former Cap Fedorov talks Kuznetsov’s scoring, overwhelming fan popularity, and offers some perspective on the choice that’s coming up for Kuznetsov — whether to continue to play in the KHL, or make the jump to the NHL.

The 42-year-old future Hall of Famer also participated in a highly silly photoshoot to promote the All-Star Game, along with the other team captain and former NHLer Sandis Ozolins, which we’ve preserved here in a post for historical purposes. Please enjoy.

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Falling down in the same general area as someone is almost the same as hitting. (Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck)

The Caps have not scored a single goal yet in a game that I have recapped. I am placing a phone call to the Capitals organization tomorrow to ask why they hate me personally.

I’m sorry you had to watch that game. I’m sorry I had to watch that game. Here’s how it happened.

Eric Staal stripped a puck from Carlson and sent it to Jussi Jokinen for an easy shorthanded goal. In the second period, Jokinen made it 2-0 on a rebound and officially became our least favorite Cane of the night. Jiri Tlusty scored an absolutely ridiculous falling-down goal that we are all so excited to see on every highlight reel for the next week. Caps lose, 3-0.

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