Pavel Datsyuk seemed tired, but satisfied, following Russia’s dominant 6-2 win over the Finnish national team. He did not score in the game, but with the victory, Russia will now have the opportunity to win its first World Championship gold medal since 2009.
His good mood did not mean, however, that he wanted microphones in his grill. “Don’t too close,” he said, watching the microphones. “It’s not ice cream, guys.”
Ovi celebrates his goal. (Photo credit: Championat.com/Getty Images)
Despite allowing the first goal, the Russians dominated the Finns for almost the whole game, winning 6-2. Evgeny Malkin scored a hat trick, while Alex Ovechkin, Denis Kokarev and Sergei Shirokov each added a goal of their own.
Top-seeded Team Russia defeated Team Norway today with a score of 5-2 to advance to the semifinals of the World Championship being held in Stockholm. Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin joined their national team on the ice for the first time and had an immediate impact, with Ovechkin scoring the first goal of the night and Semin providing two assists.
Ovechkin broke a World Championships pointless streak stretching back through all five games of last year’s tournament, scoring nearly eight minutes into the game. His tally began with teammate Alex Semin going strong to the net with the puck, allowing the Russian superstar to collect a rebound behind Norwegian goalie Lars Haugen. Ovechkin then knocked the puck in when he attempted to center the puck.
We try to read lips, but it’s not easy to know what our Capitals are saying. Not unless a HBO crew is following them, or they’re within earshot of Pierre McGuire.
Luckily, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, Mike Knuble, and Matt Hendricks got mic’d up for the second round of the playoffs. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Rangers vs. Caps. Tears and swear words not included.
After the Capitals packed-up their gear and met with management one final time on breakdown day, the 2011-12 NHL season officially ended. But for a few Caps stars, there is still more hockey to play.
The 2012 World Championships — which are being held in Stockholm and Helsinki this year — began on May 4th while the Capitals started their second round series against the Rangers. The Swedish and Russian national teams, both aware that several of their countries’ best players were still playing in the NHL playoffs, held roster spots open just in case those players’ teams were eliminated.
When the Capitals lost in Game Seven to New York on Saturday, it freed up Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, and Alex Semin to play for their national teams for a select number of games to end the tournament.
On Tuesday, all three players arrived in Stockholm after a long flight and had an eventful day.
The final day of media availability is often referred to by reporters as the longest day of the year — and probably the least enjoyable. The news about Dale Hunter deciding to go back to his digs in London created a lot of buzz, and stories were told– like about how Jay Beagle tried to put his skates on over his swollen, broken foot before Game Six. But the general mood was one of somber –- not surprising, given how close the team came to Eastern Conference Finals.
The Capitals have a handful of free agents to deal with during this offseason, but none of them are as high-profile or as controversial as Alexander Semin. Will he bolt for the riches of the KHL, sign with another NHL team –- or return to the Capitals? I didn’t expect a straight answer to the question, so we just talked about… well, whatever he wanted. That includes Hunter hockey vs. Boudreau’s open style, the success of Braden Holtby, and his ice time.
There were a few common themes to the Capitals’ last postseason interviews, before they went their separate ways for summer. The first question posed was always about Dale Hunter, who has made the decision to return to the London Knights franchise in Ontario rather than stay on to coach the Caps. The team expressed universal admiration and gratitude for what he brought to the Capitals in his short tenure, often focusing less on his system than on the character and sense of accountability he was able to instill.
There was clear disappointment at the early ending to the season, but a different tone to the team’s assessment of their year than the year before — many of the Caps mentioned that they thought they were able to go out in a way that they feel better about this year, though of course they’d all still rather be playing hockey.
Read on for the details of Jay Beagle‘s injury, Brooks Laich standing outside Hunter’s window holding a boombox, and Hunter’s odd career model for Alexander Ovechkin.
Hunter is being praised for bringing accountability and commitment to the Capitals. Shot blocking totals are evidence of that. But regardless of the invaluable cultural changes Hunter enacted in D.C., I think his leaving is for the best. Let me tell you why.
Dale Hunter played 872 games as a Washington Capitals player. He lasted just 74 behind the team’s bench.
“When I retired as a hockey player I had to retire because I was not that good anymore,” Hunter said with a laugh at his final press conference at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “But this was a tough decision.”
Hunter’s choice was not easy to make. But the reasons that ultimately lead him to make the determination seem clear. The 51-year-old former Caps captain is heading back to London, Ontario to rejoin his family and his empire. There, he co-owns the OHL’s London Knights with his brother Mark. The siblings run everything. Before taking over as Washington’s bench boss, he served as the junior club’s general manager and head coach, positions that his brother assumed in November. The team finished this season with a 49-18-1 record, winning the OHL championship. They now have a chance to take home the biggest prize in juniors, the Memorial Cup.
“I’m going home,” Hunter said Monday. “I’ve got a good thing going at home there and I’ll stay there.”