Cooper’s got a bad case of teh sadz. (Photo credit: Geoff Burke)

It has be frustrating as an NHL head coach to watch your team self-destruct as an opponent, one of the best players in the world, scores goals seemingly at will.

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was in that position on Tuesday– on the other side of one of Alex Ovechkin‘s very best games.

With a calm demeanor, Cooper stood in the bowels of Verizon Center afterwards and explained to the media what his players did wrong.

Let’s face it, you can’t leave number eight in an area… (trails off) [Ovechkin] didn’t even have to work for his goals. Didn’t work. He didn’t move on his first [goal]. He didn’t move on the last two. At all.

If you’re going to let that guy take shots. Welp, sometimes that’s gonna happen. That’s the disappointing part. We know where he is. We know what he can do. We just didn’t have a stick on him. We weren’t in a lane. That’s the troubling part.

Other than that, I thought we played really well.

When asked who or what was to blame, Cooper was still at a loss.

I don’t know. There’s young guys, old guys, everybody’s on the ice when he was scoring his goals. I wouldn’t say it’s a young thing; I would say it’s a dumb thing. That’s pretty much what it was.

Ovechkin’s performance tonight reminded me of a game I watched live 17 years ago. It’s referred to know as The Flu Game.

The story goes like this: NBA hall of famer Michael Jordan was sick before game five of the 1997 NBA Finals. The series between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz was tied at two. Despite being hooked up to an IV before the game, Jordan played. He dominated. He scored 38 points. He could not be stopped. Everything the Jazz did failed. Perhaps fueled by the impossibleness of the situation, Jordan dug deep. He just wanted to win that much more.

Ovechkin was the same way on Tuesday. Confronted with a 3-0 deficit and seemingly impossible odds, Ovi turned in a rare four-goal performance.

During the last minute of play, I had this sense of certainty that the Caps would tie it. When Ovechkin’s fourth goal happened, the rules of physics didn’t seem to apply. I’m still not sure how it went into the net.

Jon Cooper thinks his players could have covered Ovechkin better or caused more havoc in his lanes, but I really don’t think that would have made a difference.

Ovechkin was going to score a bunch of goals, and the Capitals were going to win. Ovi simply decided it would be.

Great players can do things like that.

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  • Benjamin Esham

    It was almost 3am (maryland boy living in Germany) when Ovi scored the last one and I can’t even explain the feeling of seeing him scoar the fourth and display that much energy, emotion that made the hair on my body stand up. I was so excited I (almost) didn’t even care if the Caps lost because I knew I just witnessed something magnificent, but they scored in the S/O to win over Bishop. I was Perry/Alzy cellying in my room. Love you RMNB.

  • GetchaGrubbOn

    You don’t think you need to go back to the drawing board when you let one man score four goals from the spot on the ice that you know he scores goals from? Sounds to me like your plan for him failed. The drawing board seems like exactly what you need to go back to right now.

  • Hockeyprep

    By any chance do you live in Berlin? Grew up in Bethesda?

  • Shaun Phillips

    Thing was, they HAD guys in the shooting lane on two of them (1&4). Not sure how you better defend a face off (the release on the 1st has to be one of the fastest I’ve ever seen). Ovi just had net-seeking pucks tonight. 2nd one is Salo and Crombeen’s fault for not blocking Mojo’s passing lane. 3rd one TB was a bit unlucky with the defender on Ovi’s losing his stick; no hope to break the pass/alter shot.

  • Judy516

    How many times has Ovi scored 4 goals in a game?

  • GetchaGrubbOn


  • Love you Benjamin Esham

  • Brackaphobia

    Jon Cooper is probably way more sad over the height of his forehead than anything else.

  • Sean Allen Clement

    What about the rest of us Caps fans out here in Deutchland?! Ian, come out and watch Ben and I play for the Ansbach Choppers sometime. It’s like watching a Caps game…kinda

  • wood

    The funny line was when he said #8 didnt work for those goals…..really like everyone has a shot like Ovi and anyone could have done what he did…..I guess Stamkos doesn’t for his either since he plays the same Left defense spot on Tampa’s PP and also the 1st two goals his team scored tonight as well required no work. He must have been watching something else when Ovi was a blur that went by on that 2nd goal. I love how coaches on other teams try to down play Ovi’s Talent ability. Its a Joke !!

  • Benjamin Esham

    I’m from Ocean City actually!

  • Benjamin Esham

    HAHA Sean you’re the man

  • Josh Willison

    nobody is to blame…? So we’ll just forget about the 5min major that got us 2 like we’ll forget 18PIMs from Green in the first that netted TB 3. That makes sense. Esp when the player in question now has 11 PP goals

  • Graham Dumas

    If only RMNB would put out an article on the other times OVI’s scoared foar… 🙂

  • Hockeyprep

    That’s awesome. I ask since it’s such a small world. In college I did a study abroad in Berlin, Germany and after flying hours to London then to Berlin, the VERY FIRST person I actually got to talk to and meet was from Bethesda, MD, went to Wootton High School and grew up 15 mins from where I grew up. And was a CAPS fan. SMALL FREAKIN WORLD!

  • Michael Reschly

    > 17 years ago

    Thanks for making me feel old.

  • pixiestix

    Scoar Moar Foar Goals?

  • Graham Dumas

    Yeah, just being a troll and mocking the double post by Peter and Ian.

  • dylan wheatley

    well, i have now seen “welp” transcribed, so i can die now.

  • JenniferH

    I watched the flu game, Jordan was awesome. Ovi was awesome last night. The greats are awesome. 😀

  • Rhino40

    Don’t be hard on Cooper, folks…because as Caps fans we’ve been there too. Other teams that try–and fail–to stop Ovi are experiencing the same type of soul-crushing futility that we did when the Pens used to torture us every game with that goddamned Lemieux-to-Jagr Axis of Evil.

    We won…and now it’s time to prepare for the next game. I’m not certain that the Caps collectively deserved to win that game. But I am oh-so-glad that they did.

    As for Ovi, my vast vocabulary of words is deficit to the task of expressing how very happy I am that he is OURS!

  • brian!

    Call it the flu game all you want, I still believe he was hungover.

  • Matt Root

    really thought you would start that off with a “welp” instead of well

  • Okay deal. If you guys hook me up with airplane tickets, I’ll go out there and cover the game, do GIFs, everything!

  • hahaha

  • Benjamin Esham

    This could be a possibility actually. Space A travel with the Airforce. Military members on leave can get travel for friends/family at cheap or free. For instance I’m coming home from Germany to BWI for just about a $100! Maybe some international fun, eh?

  • Benjamin Esham

    That’s perfect. I’m just about alone on the Caps island out here. At local (DEL) games here I always see horrible people wearing Flyers, Bruins, Penguins, and Blackhawk jerseys and it is seriously the worst. I just counter it by wearing my 2011 Ovechkin IIHF Russia Jersey. Germans don’t like machine.