Team Russia Knocked Out: Reactions and Sad Photos

losers

Photo: AP

It started off so well. Ilya Kovalchuk scored early in the first period of Russia’s quarterfinals game against Finland, but Finland fought back (as good teams do), scoring twice later in the period, including a goal from septuagenarian Teemu Selanne. Finland added another goal in the second period. Russia couldn’t come back. They lost 3-1.

This is no ordinary loss. After getting blown out by Canada in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, this was supposed to be different. Russia was supposed to medal. They were supposed to win gold in front of their home fans.

Instead: sadness, disappointment, blame. Again.

We’ll be updating this post with images and quotes from the players as they come in.

Ovechkin Speaks to the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman

Video via guyism

What happened against Finland?

Alex Ovechkin: We have a good start. We score power play goal. Feel pretty good. Two mistakes give them the lead. I have nothing to say. We try. We fight. We play until the end. We lost.

All the skill, all the talent on this team. Why did you guys have trouble scoring?

AO: That’s a big question. It’s tough. It’s second Olympic game we lost. It’s bad. The team fight. The team fight til the end. We didm’t score a second goal. It was pretty hard.

Is this the toughest loss [you’ve ever endured]?

AO: I haven’t realized it yet. I know we have lots of pressure, with coaching staff, the team. Um. I don’t know what to say.


Coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov Talks To Press

You said that the analysis will come later. But what mistakes can you talk about now?

Zinetula Bilyaletdinov: There were individual mistakes. That’s why we couldn’t affect the result even though we had twice as many chances as the opponents. We just couldn’t score.

What future, if any, do you see for your own work and for your coaching staff? Because, you know, your predecessor was eaten alive after the Olympics—

ZB: Well then, eat me alive right now—

No, I mean—

ZB: Eat me, and I won’t be here anymore.

But we have the world championship coming up!

ZB: Well then, there will be a different coach because I won’t exist any more, since you will have eaten me.

But you’re staying, aren’t you?

ZB: Yes, I will remain living.

Read the entire transcript via the Wall Street Journal.


Sergei Bobrovsky Talks About The Loss

Sergei Bobrovsky: I am feeling empty and disappointed, and it’s just too soon to talk about our defeat. I thank all our fans for the atmosphere they created.

Via Sports.ru. Translation by Igor Kleyner.


Photos and Tweets

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Photos: Andre Ringuette


Sad GIFs

Malkin sad (GIF by crosbye)

  • Jack Conness

    Devastated. I feel for Ovi. I mean, this Russian team wasn’t that good to begin with but they hurt themselves even more by starting Varly and by not putting Ovi at his spot on the PP. They didn’t seem to utilize the NHL talent they had and it seemed like a jumbled mess most of the time. I hope he comes back to the Caps fired up.

  • William

    Repost

  • disolitude

    Does the Russian coach pay attention during games at all? Maybe catch a replay or two? How he could start Varlamov is beyond me. He was shakey since day 1 while Bobrovsky played like a champ.

    In terms of Ovi not scoring, again, coach needs to watch how Ovi is utilized in NHL. If he does that, Ovi will score. Ask Dale Hunter what happens when Ovi os asked to play differently.

    Pretty hilarious to think that Radulov and Kovalchuk played well and they are in KHL now where Malkin, Semin and Ovi couldn’t find their scoring touch. Tells me coaching and system they play is as much to blame as players themselves.

  • Caps Fan

    The Russian coach singling Ovechkin is what really makes me mad. I think this loss had more to do with poor coaching and lack of chemistry. We still love you back in Washington, Ovi”

  • Ash

    Ovi has it right: it just sucks. My heart hurts for him :(

  • scrubversive

    I am sad. Now we will continue hear the pundits criticize Ovi for any number of reasons. Glad to know that the RUS coach is kicking it off too. Pundits on both sides of the globe are gonna get their kicks and giggles by burning Ovi in effigy.

  • Shawn Murphy

    Man this is rough. I have a lot of empathy for the Russian fans and people, this is just such a bummer

  • OVECHKING
  • Hockey mom

    The thing about the Olympics is that one person’s dream becomes reality while someone else’s gets crushed…in a moment, a second, a goal, etc. while many citizens of the world watch. It takes a lot of courage and strength to work toward your goal and put yourself out there knowing that your success or failure will be witnessed by so many.

    Luckily, for most of us our failures are seldom know outside our immediate circles.

    I especially wish all our Caps well, but have to give every athlete out there credit for making it as far as they did!

  • Jonathan Garcia

    I tweeted this (but I’m sure most of you don’t follow me): I honestly feel that even if Russia had won gold, plenty of people would have still found excuses for why Ovechkin wasn’t good enough. “Oh, he didn’t score in the gold medal game, so he really didn’t help them.”

    Maybe that’s my homerism, just being really sad for Ovi, or being angry at all the trolls that are trying my patience. Either way, I just want to give the guy a hug.

  • Igor Kleyner

    The knives are out for the head coach, and rightfully so (I can’t help but refer to him as Sven-Goran Bilyaletdinov from now on) – thus, him throwing his players under the bus should not surprise anybody. Bill is as rigid in his tactics as they come, he may have succumbed to the public pressure with team selection (Semin, etc.) but he only knows one way to play the game. The problem was – he did not have the players to play his brand of hockey. And I think he has neither ability nor desire to tailor his system to fit the players he had.

  • Clifford Snarlington

    Anyone with any sort of hockey IQ knows what Russia’s problem is, and it’s not the players. The coaching has been questionable, especially if you take one look at the PP in which players were too busy distributing the puck around instead of creating scoring chances in front of the opponent’s goal. Ovi is a great offensive weapon, but any tool in the hands of a moron is never going to reach full effectiveness. I also agree with others that Bobrovsky should have started.

    What a mess, and hopefully Ovi will bounce back once he gets back to DC.

  • Matt Lauer

    I so wanted Ovi to catch a break with this one. His whole career has been plagued by inadequate teammates and/or chemistry. I’m preparing voodoo dolls for Milbury et. al. as we speak.

  • Hockey mom

    It says a lot about Ovi, him being the only one who stopped to talk to the press. I feel so bad for him.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Do you think he was an improvement over Bykov?

  • Hockeynovice

    Poor Ovi!! I feel so bad for him. Caps fans need to come out en masse when he returns and give him a big warm Russian bear hug welcome!!! Plus we need him to get the Caps to the playoffs ;-)

  • yv

    Very disappointing loss. It was HC Bill and team loss, but Ovi would be the one who will get all negativity. The cautious, defensive tactics that Bill instilled completely underutilized the offensive skills of his players, especially Ovis, and divided them instead of uniting. What can you say, when in PP he used in the first shift Medvedev, Voinov or Markov, even Popov, instead of Ovi. Now the only hope would be that Ovi will come back more determined and we will see his goals in every game, that probably would be still not enough to push Caps into meaningful winning position.

  • Igor Kleyner

    A walkman may be an improvement over 8 track, but if everybody else has an iPod…

  • pixiestix

    I’m sad for Ovi. ((((( that is a lovely photo of Teemu and Ovi tho.

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    I just don’t get the infusion of eight (not including Kovy) KHL players, it’s like they wanted to not medal. Also Semin on the top line? Lets be real. How is a player who didn’t make your initial roster going to be on the top line. The coaches and Manager need to be dismissed here, and someone needs to have a good think about the future of Russian hockey going forward.

  • scrubversive

    Don Cherry is putting on his anti-Caps fan voodoo talisman as you speak.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland
  • Igor Kleyner

    Anton Belov after the game: “We were asked to play the system and not invent anything.” That’s awesome – if you are Switzerland, not Russia!

  • OVECHKING

    Damien Cox ‏@DamoSpin 7m
    We do know the following for sure; Ovechkin will never take ownership of what happened today.

  • Hockey mom

    I really like that one, too. You can see the compassion in Teemu’s eyes and the defeat in Ovi’s. But I feel like he is trying to tell him that “this too, shall pass, so keep your head up and don’t give up.”

  • Jeff Yoders

    Look at the ice time. If Radulov and Kovalchuk are double-shifted there’s no way Ovi and Malkin can get into any kind of groove out there. And Varlamov? After Bobrovsky’s heroics? Why?

  • Igor Kleyner

    There may be one or two NHLers who could have made this team, but nowhere near enough to make significant difference.

  • OVECHKING

    We do know the following for sure; Ovechkin will never take ownership of what happened today. – Damian C0x
    —————————–
    Facepalm

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    From a time more optimistic.

  • scrubversive

    That speaks absolute volumes to me. He’s going to get so much hate, yet he’s the only one who will open up after a heartbreaking loss.

  • OVECHKING

    Probably one of the biggest xenophobic media types out there.

  • yv

    I suspect that the reason why Varly started instead of Bob was that Bill played him a lot before for the national team, and that he expected, not without reasons, that the game would end in SOs, in which Varly is stellar and much better than Bob.

  • OVECHKING

    @peter/Ian, not sure if you guys saw the Damian C__ tweets… tried to post them here but they are moderated (maybe because of his name). Perhaps update them into your article?

  • http://twitter.com/1bscarbro Benjamin Scarbro
  • http://kaugesaar.se/ Victor Kaugesaar
  • OVECHKING

    Damian C0x just retweeted this tweet to his followers.
    @DamoSpin Ovechkin doesn’t play well in games where a pay cheque is not involved. #moneytalks

  • Scott

    Perhaps it has always been thus, but sports punditry seems ridiculously narrative-oriented these days. It’s so irritating. But there is no story here: Ovechkin doesn’t need to “learn the game,” Russian hockey isn’t in disarray, and this game isn’t a vindication of any player or system or country. Finland fought hard, played as a team, and, as they always seem to in international play, rose to the challenge when playing a team that on paper should have crushed them.
    The tactical and strategic points made here are all excellent and on point. The Russians made a bunch of errors that, in retrospect, seem to make their demise inevitable, but the truth is that Varly could have played a great game (but didn’t) and that given a few more games the KHL and NHL guys could have established some chemistry (but never had the chance). I certainly agree that the coaching was suspect and echo the sentiment that there’s a reason many of the best coaches in the KHL are North American.

  • disolitude

    I disagree. Kovalchuk, Medvedev and Radulov all had very good tournaments and are from KHL. This last game specifically was lost by bad plays by Voynov, Varlamov, Tarashenko all of which are NHLers.

    You can argue that the Russian style of play may not have suited their NHL superstars but KHL players didn’t embarrass themselves by any means.

    BTW the first Finish goal was scored by a guy from the Finish league and assisted by a KHL player.

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    Kovalchuk is hardly a KHL level talent.

    The Finns played their style of hockey, and the Russians wandered aimlessly. Poor coaching.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Haha, thanks– they’re in here a few times now– I think DISQUS was just being screwy.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    if you paste the URL of the tweet in, it’ll look real nice.

  • Shawn Murphy

    It’s a pretty obscure game, even by old-school NES standards. I distinctly remember playing it when I was 9 with some friends, even though it’s only a 1-player game that’s just what you did back then.

    #xenophobic comment
    #smartass

  • OVECHKING
  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    I’m not putting his trash into our article because it provides no insight and is troll-ish.

  • OVECHKING

    Thanks, helps with the moderation. Disquis is right in trying to block Damian’s tweets.. They are ridiculous.

  • OVECHKING

    Fair enough/

  • disolitude

    Kovy isn’t KHL level talent but that is where he is now. We can’t cherry pick good players out of KHL and pretend they don’t count.

    Radulov was great too. Without him they’d still be playing Norway in overtime. Medvedev was solid on defence as well. Like I said, KHL didn’t lose this game for Russia.

  • OVECHKING

    I’ll stop posting these because as Ian points out below, no reason to feed a troll like Damain.

  • scrubversive

    After reading a few comments like this. I want to go Zen on this issue. Being angry at the Milburys or sad for Ovi (at least by declaring it on the ‘net) is just gonna feed the trolls and eat away at my sanity.

  • dylan wheatley

    ding ding

  • bskillet

    Biased??? Maybe but seems Ovie’s the classiest Russian of them all.

  • scrubversive

    He talks to media following Russia loss and doesn’t afraid of anything -.-;

  • H70

    Poor Ovi. He is such an open book…so endearing. :(

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    The KHL players didn’t single handily lose this game, but perhaps their inclusion did. Team Russia didn’t pick the best available players they could have, instead they tried to make a statement. It didn’t work.

  • Andrew Walker

    Get your facts straight, it started out as a multiplayer arcade game.

  • jai151

    Why are they calling Teemu Selanne in his 70s?

  • Josh Carey

    I’m going to put this a lot on the coach and maybe even more on Malkin. The coach set up lines that didn’t allow arguably his best player to succeed, and Malkin showed no effort to get Ovi the puck in a place where he could make a play. I found myself seeing the same thing over and over with that line. Malkin trying to drive play, missing an open Ovechkin and turning it over. Disappointing, and no one in the media will recognize it.

    This wasn’t Ovechkin’s fault. Was he supposed to just take the puck off Malkin’s stick? All the heat is going to go to Ovi which is a tragedy.

  • OVECHKING

    IMO, Malkin was driving play and Ovechkin more often, was not. They really should have been on different lines. They didn’t compliment each other very well in vancouver and didn’t do much this tournament. If I was malkin I’d be extremely p!ssed that I didn’t get on the first PP at all. That was a huge mistake.

  • OVECHKING

    GO LATVIA!!!!!

  • Diller M

    If Canada gets eliminated today, will Towes or Crosby get any heat, neither has been lighting it up so far in the tournament

  • JH

    I think the loss to the US killed Russia’s mojo. They were never the same. I know correlation does not equal causation, but after that game they struggled vs. Slovakia, and struggled vs. Finland.

    Practically speaking, agree with others about too many KHLers, Semin playing on the top line, not starting Bob vs. FIN, not utilizing weapons appropriately (esp Ovi from the OviSpot). The coaching was lacking. The Russians also took some stupid penalties at critical times (looking at you, Radu, vs. USA) and that didn’t help them too much, either.

    Sad for Ovi. And sad this might be Ovi’s last Olympics.

  • Darla Doxstater

    That top photo of my two favorite Eights just brought tears to my eyes.

  • Owen Johnson

    Yup, that’s a troll tweet if I ever saw one.

  • Owen Johnson

    Yeah, and here’s PROOF of that
    http://footagenotfound.net/fnf.png

  • zoltoner

    Can we now officially say “F you, Geno”?

  • criegel

    no because they are good ol Canadian boys who can do no wrong

  • Roman Z.

    Ok RMNB, I need your support now more than ever …

  • Isis

    I’m with most of the comments here, I feel bad for Ovi and the Russian players. I felt at the start of this Olympics and in past Olympics that failure lies with the coaching staff and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. The players are always responsible for execution on the ice but if the system is wrong, if the game plan is wrong, if the lines are incorrect there’s only so much the players on a team can do. Malkin having to tell the coach to pull the goaltender is proof positive. And unfortunately it will be Ovechkin that receives most of the criticism. Maybe not so much in Russia but in North America for sure, like it’s been through most of his career and I think he knows that and accepts that. From the start of his NHL career it always has been the golden boy Crosby vs. the “lazy” Russian. Labeled as that simply because he is Russian. Ovechkin certainly has his faults in his game like every player, including Crosby. One guy can make a difference in a game but one guy isn’t a team and certainly isn’t the coach. It’s just a shame, no matter what he does Ovechkin will always be the scapegoat.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Bill’s presser transcript is ridiculously bizarre in translation. In Russian however, it is just plain pathetic.

  • Chris Cerullo

    These pictures look eerily similar to our recent playoff losess

  • johnnymorte

    Starting Varlamov wasn’t a bad decision. He played well against Slovakia and he is the more experienced of the two, especially since Bob looked very nervous during the shootout against USA. What happened there was unforeseeable. But Bilyaletdinov throwing Ovechkin under the bus is just ludicrous. He had terrible line combinations and his refusal to change them up in the early rounds was a cardinal error. C’mon dude, it doesn’t take a genius or a hockey expert to see that Malkin and Ovechkin do not work together. Isn’t it worth it to try a line that won you the world championship in 2012 just once in the preliminary rounds? He also had the number one PP goal scorer in the world and didn’t play him on the half-wall. Stubbornness is a trait that seems to run very deep in these Soviet era hockey coaches. Maybe they should take a cue from Latvia and outsource the coaching next time.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    If there was one thing I was glad to see, it was Varly looking like a chump. I hope that ex-girlfriend of his throws a party in his honor.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    absolutely INSUFFERABLE is what we can expect from the NBC crew.

  • RT23

    I posted this on the previous RMNB article but it’s more appropriate here…
    Not sure I’ll add anything that hasn’t already been said but here goes.
    1. First I think I need to formally accuse Evgeny Malkin of Treason. (and I don’t care if I misspelled his name) The only explanation for his play is that he is more loyal to Crosby than to his country. His play was inexplicably bad and he seemed to go out of his way to avoid creating any opportunities for Ovi. He’s a Mole.

    2. Apparently Ovi isn’t better going back to left wing. Maybe Oates does get a few things right.

    3. Not sure that moving Semin was a bad move. Nothing was clicking with those three. Popov didn’t help but the broadcasters sure loved his work ethic. Semin at least created some opportunities for the third line.

    4. Other than a few goals I thought Kovalchuck looked horrible also. I know that sounds stupid because they needed the goals so badly but he did look terrible.

    5. Would have loved to see them try Datsyuk between 8 and 28 for at least a few shifts.

    6. WTF were they thinking with the powerplay? I only watched a few minutes of Sweden but they are killing it using Oates’ 1-3-1. Maybe they let Malkin the Traitor design the Russian PP. Again maybe we have to admit that Oates knows a little bit about hockey or at least the PP.

    7. I love Varly but starting him today was idiotic. Overall the coaching was inexplicable. No chemistry on any of the lines. Everyone standing around or cycling on the boards. With this talent they should have been flying up and down the ice. Boudreau style not Hunter Style.

    8. I’m convinced that before he fell hopelessly in love with Maria that Ovi must have slept with the wife, girlfriend, sister, mother and Great Aunt Louise of every single commentator on NBC. And I don’t mean “or” I mean “and” – every single woman in their lives. That is the only possible explanation for their hatred of him. He is the only player they singled out in any negative way at the end. Examle – Blaming him for shooting instead of trying a low percentage pass to Malkin on a give and go in which Malkin wasn’t open? What do you think they would have said if he had tried the pass and it failed? They would have ripped him for not shooting. I’m serious, I think he nailed every woman they cared about. It at least makes me feel better to think that he did so every time they criticize him he can just smile and remember….

    And now I’m watching USA and the Czechs fly up an down the ice the way that the Russians should have.

  • Bugs Fire

    Absolutely main reason this happens (and will keep happening) is the barely hidden animosity of Russian hockey officials towards NHL players. In the country of deeply wounded ego Ovechkin, Malkin, Semin and Datsyuk are seen as traitors who sold their country out for few bucks. I think ordinary Russians don’t care much for this politics, but the narrative of us-against-them (them here being Russian NHL players) is forever present in coaching. I do not think that Bilylatetdinov does not know where Ovie must be on the PP. Neither he is unaware that pairing him with Malkin who is too big to pass minimizes Ovie’s potential. What Team Russia needs is an NHL coach. They have done it for soccer team, and things got much better.

    Other than Scandinavian teams (which is entirely different group culturally), no other group is split so bad between NHL and non-NHL players. That internal rift is what destroys and will continue to destroy their chances every single time.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    So many reasons to be pissed. Poor coaching decisions followed up with lame fingerpointing. Bullshit KHL/NHL politics. But most of all, that they robbed us of being able to see Ovi/Nicky in the semifinal. What a travesty for the fans.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Ovi could make a great Russian national team coach someday. He knows first hand how certain things can make them lose.

  • sara

    Crosby will. Crosby is the scapegoat for Canada and Ovechkin is the scapegoat for Russia. I mean, Canada hasn’t even lost yet and Sid’s already being blamed for everything that’s going wrong (and nothing IS going wrong, players are stepping up). Meanwhile, Toews has been just as invincible but no one has mentioned him.

  • Yo8

    Poor creepy Russian bear bahahaha!
    Oh, well.

  • RT23

    There’s got to be some way we can blame this on George McPhee, right?

  • kmostergard

    #SochiBear haz a sad.

  • Lawrence

    I wanna talk a little bit about my feelings on Ovechkin. I have defended him against all the criticism I have ever heard about him, hes my favorite player by far and the reason I love hockey so much. Hell I even rooted for russia over the U.S.! But I have to be honest to myself. I have noticed something about him over the last few years that is very concerning. Ovechkin is missing one of his biggest strengths that carried his play in his earlier years.

    Where did his energy go? Where is the reckless ovechkin that can single handedly win a game by himself? Where is the unpredictability? Where is the shifts where he drives 3 people into the boards? I feel like hes completely lost that identity he once had. And yes, while his game has improved in many areas, the eye test (which has watched 99 percent of his games over his career) tells me hes not as good as he once was. I thought for sure that he has just been holding back on the caps. That’s what I told myself. Hes gotten a little more mature and wants to be safer with his body and save himself for when it counts. I thought for sure we would see that young, rejuvenated, hyper, excited to play the game ovechkin in sochi. But that’s not what I saw. I saw the same player he is on the capitals. And while that’s still a god damn good player (top 1 – 3 in the nhl) it still feels like hes lost a great aspect of his game. Ovi looks slow out there to me. He is still very young and should be so much better of a player than he has morphed into.

    Does anyone else feel like this? I wish I didn’t feel this way, but I just feel like ovechkin has lost his stick handling, skating, passion, but at the same time he has gained a better shot, passing, overall a much better person off and on the ice. Was it coaching? Was it conditioning? Is this just how he wants to play? I’m very confused as to how he has lost some of those abilities I mentioned. Regardless, I love ovechkin and the caps and will always back him up 100 percent of the time. I really don’t want this to see as though I am calling him out for his performance in sochi, because this is based on the last few years.

    Thoughts?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    He got older. Happens to everyone.

  • Yo8

    I’m not sure about conditioning because you can still see him do some fast runs and leaving other players behind. I don’t know but I got say that he looked faster with Dynamo during the lockup and the world championship in 2012.

    Could it be the team mates? I wasn’t a fan of Malkin and Ovechkin being together. I wanted Pavel with both Sashas because they really had a good dynamic and their overall game looked faster.

  • Bugs Fire

    With all due respect, Colorado prosecutors dropped the charges saying they couldn’t prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Don’t get me wrong – it’s entirely possible that he did some of the things he was accused of, but it might be a good idea to stick with presumption of innocence, at least for the time being.

  • Lawrence

    How many athletes slow down at 25 – 28 the way he has though? I find that very hard to believe, he would either have very unlucky genes or his conditioning would have had to been poor. You really don’t think we see that energy from ovechkin again?

  • Lawrence

    A lot of the reason he didn’t do well in sochi was because of chemistry. Especially the way ovechkin plays right now, he really relies on chemistry with his teammates. Malkin is the type of player where it really doesn’t matter who he plays with. That said, Malkin played pretty bad individually and didn’t seem to develop much chemistry with ovechkin. Malkin was pretty selfish too, early in the tournament on the power play imo. Maybe changing the lines up would have changed some things I agree. The coach obviously didn’t do a great job, but I would like to think that the players are mostly in control of winning/losing.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Presumption of innocence is a legal concept, not an epistemic one.

  • johnnymorte

    The fact that he’s slower has to do with age. That Ovechkin is gone and will never return. That being said, his speed over short distances will never go away, just not to the extent that we might have been used to. What Oates has managed to do is put him in the right position to utilize his greatest asset, which is his shot. While before he was able to use his speed and recklessly throw his body to defend, now he is actually going to have to learn to play defense and play smarter along the boards to win one-on-one battles. This is where the Caps coaching staff has fallen short. This by the way, has nothing to do with why Russia lost the game. Even with his defensive lapses, he was extremely underutilized by the coach and was not given the opportunity to use his skills. The better center for him by far is Datsyuk, The sad part is, Russia had a decent chance of winning the tournament but again was succumbed to a coaches stubbornness and unwillingness to make appropriate changes at the right time.

  • Chris Best

    I’m probably going to get the flaming of a lifetime here, but I must be honest. I’ve been a hockey fan and Caps fan since 1987, seen a lot come and go. And for the most part I’ve really enjoyed the Ovechkin era, but I think we have enough data now to say that Ovie…as much as we love him and root for him and want so badly for him to win…is not the player we think he is. He is a complimentary player…but not -the- player that you would need to win a championship.

    It’s disheartening, but at what point do we stop making excuses for Ovie? (And again, I loves Ovie…54 types of awesome) But the fact is he doesn’t win…not when it matters. Scoring 40, 50 or even 60 goals is nice. Winning in the playoffs is nicer. Winning in elimination games in the Olympics is nicer. But Ovie has a track record now that goes back many years now. He’s great in the regular season, great early in these tournaments. But when the pressure is on, he fades away. I don’t like saying that and I wish it wasn’t true….but it is. He becomes non-existent.

    I’ve seen many people say the Russians are to blame for not using Ovie properly. There is certainly some truth in that. But at what point do we also say, “Hey, great players adapt to the moment. Great players find ways to win, find ways to make things happen. Great players don’t need the moment tailor suited to them”….and that’s what we’re saying here, in effect.

    Do you realize I haven’t gotten excited for a Caps season the past three or four years now? Why? Because I’ve read this book before, I know how it ends. I know the Caps will be gone in the first round and Ovie will have maybe one or two goals and we’ll all come back to this same conversation. I cross my fingers and pray to the hockey gods that I’m wrong and we’ll see Ovie break through…but it never happens. Not in the NHL, not in the Olympics. The same result in two different constant environments is more than coincidence. And it’s disheartening because we love Ovie so much and want him to succeed so badly.

    But at this point, the Caps need to find another player who is a leader. Ovie is a brilliant foot soldier, I think it’s been established. They need a leader, someone to take the pressure off Ovie and let him do his thing. Maybe Kuzya is the answer to that, we can only hope. I want good things for Ovie and for the Caps…and I wanted good things for Russia in these Olympics. But I think we need to stop making excuses for Ovie and giving him a pass. He deserves the lable of “Good player, but not a big game player” that he has right now. And until he does something to break through that, I don’t see that label going away before his career is over.

  • RT23

    I figured it out. If McPhee hadn’t let Varly go to Colorado he would have spent this season in a 4 goalie rotation on the Caps and never would have been selected to the Russian Olympic team. Bobkowski shuts out Finland 1-0 today (or even better maybe Ovi adds 3 empty net goals to reignite his scoring touch).

    See it’s all GMGM’s fault :)

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    Although the Ruskies played like poop, Ovi will still be in the heart of all caps fans world wide. Well hell losing at the olympics is not all bad, i mean now that they have free time head on over to watch the women’s curling finals :)

  • RT23

    I agree with Lawrence’s reasons above why Ovi was in an almost impossible position in these Olympics, but I do think some of this overall stagnation is on Ovi. I want to disagree with everything the NBC guys said but there is a little truth to the comment about continuing to improve/expand his game. His scoring ability has been ungodly (or maybe godly) this year and his passing is excellent and has always been underrated but I agree with Lawrence’s original post… He just doesn’t stickhandle and break down defenders the way he used to. And most truly great players find ways to use new moves of veteran savvy to substitute for declining speed. I thin he is too reliant on his shot. I do hope he will use this summer to try to add a few new wrinkles to his game.

    I’m also concerned that he is too affected by bad coaching. Another thing that would help him cement a position among the all-time greats would be to demonstrate that he can overcome bad coaching and poor usage. But that is a lot to ask of anyone. As great as he is he just may not have that ability. Few do.

  • cherrypicker

    I agree with you about the age being a big factor… the speed and power will diminish (faster than you think) unless a lot of work is put in off ice.

    He is heading into the back half of his playing career. If he wants to be a competitive 35 y/o in the NHL he needs to develop other areas of his game. Some of that work ethic needs to come from Ovi himself and a willingness to recognize that.

    How many times can we blame the system and coaching staff?

  • HP

    Did people really think Russia was going to win this game or even get gold? Russian can’t beat trap hockey cause they can’t grind. Russia is just a group of individual not a team. Russia will never come close to USA, Canada, and Sweden in Olympic hockey.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I’m not following ya.

    Even if he puts in a lot of work off ice (which we should think he does), he is still going to diminish with age. There are no exceptions to that.

    Even at 35, Ovi will be a great to very great NHL player. He won’t lead the league in scoring, but he’ll definitely be competitive. He could be come a very strong sniper for example, or a finisher who goes to the net— but that would be mutually exclusive to what he does now, which again, is WORKING BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE LEAGUE.

  • Bugs Fire

    True. But somehow I do not think that one can justify condemnation of Varlamov based on what we *know*. Because we know exactly nothing about what happened other than he was accused and the charges were subsequently dropped. Condemning him (or her) in this situation is just substituting personal bias for knowledge (admittedly, my personal bias is not entirely in his favor, but who cares).

  • Graham Dumas

    YUP!

  • cherrypicker

    Well put. 100% agree.

  • Bugs Fire

    Your analysis is correct in what happened – they did not play as a team but rather as a bunch of individuals. But I believe you are incorrect that lack of team chemistry automatically results in a loss and/or that this was inevitable.

    Firstly, individual talent can overcome insufficient chemistry. It should be a rather large talent gap for this to happen, of course. For example, I do not think that Team Russia was any different when they played Norway, but the talent gap is just too big for them to lose that game. Many of us (myself included) knew that chemistry will be an issue, but hoped that talent will prevail.

    Secondly, inability to “grind” is not some kind of genetic trait of Russian people. I am pretty sure that with the right coach they could have gone far. With that said, the rift between NHL and non-NHL players on Russian team is something systemic.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Well put

  • MuzzMuzzington

    If we traded Ovi for Shea Weber, I wouldn’t be mad because a defensive superstar will take us further than a superstar winger. Though, I would be incredibly sad because he has done so much for this franchise since being drafted.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Woah woah woah, the Russian staff favored KHL players again?

    I’m sad for the players that waited four years to redeem themselves on home ice, only to have their chances taken out into the woods and placed in a shallow grave so they could make a point that the KHL is a ice hockey super league and only true patriotic Russians play there.

  • Harjot Singh

    dude come on kids visit this website like me its awkward when your parents walk bye,because then you have to explain the internet to them.

  • cherrypicker

    What I am getting at is with the diminishing physical aspects of his game he will need to adapt his game to the players around him, both teammates and opponents.

    I am not saying that he isn’t a great NHL player nor will he be useless at 35, but his game needs to evolve with his changing strengths and weaknesses. That is not just an Ovi thing, that is an everybody thing.

    I am not predicting what his longevity in the league is, but rather making a statement of what I have observed from watching older players nearing the twilight of their playing career. They need to make adjustments their game to be effective.

  • CapsKel

    Coach needs to go. Terrible goaltending decision, stagnant lines. Ovi will be there in 4 years. I doubt this coach will.

  • CapsKel

    I don’t know about you, but “he might have beat up his girlfriend” isn’t good enough for me — especially when there a hundred reasons cases like this don’t go to trial that aren’t due to a lack of evidence. Just because he didn’t go to jail doesn’t mean I have to like him. You can call me judgmental all you like, but I would hesitate to be friends with someone who “might have stomped on his ex-girlfriend.”

  • CapsKel

    It’s not necessarily personal bias, though. I had nothing against him before this. If it was Ovi, I would step back from him too. I’m sorry, but I’ve seen too many cases dropped for reasons other than cause – too many women who didn’t go through with it for societal reasons. I’m not okay with someone who “might have beaten up his girlfriend.” There are plenty of hockey players who’ve never had that allegation for me to root for.

  • CapsKel

    Can I ask why you think he went (and stuck) with the Ovi-Malkin line? I feel like it was clear that it wasn’t really producing after the third group game. Hasn’t Ovi-Datsyuk been a better pairing in between-Olympic internationals?

  • CapsKel

    They were both terrible, let’s be honest.

  • Cooper

    I’m American but Ill still be more upset about Russia’s lost then happy if USA wins the gold. The Russians deserved better than this, Ovechkin deserved better then this.

  • Dark Stranger

    They certainly didn’t utilize the talent on their team correctly. Essentially banishing Semin and Tarasenko to lower lines. And how did Popov earn first line duty anyway. It’s not like he was an improvement over Semin since he wasn’t. I also had problems with how they picked the KHL players. They even left off one very good KHL player — none other than the person who’s leading the KHL in points and goals — Sergei Mozyakin. He led in both departments AND was leading in those departments last year at the time NHLers were playing in that league. And there’s a person who had proven chemistry with Malkin since they were teammates during the lockout and both he and Malkin were cleaning up in points. He would have been a better choice to be with Malkin than Popov.

  • ATPinDC

    hy·per·bo·le [hahy-pur-buh-lee] Show IPA
    noun Rhetoric .
    1.
    obvious and intentional exaggeration.
    2.
    an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to betaken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

  • MuzzMuzzington

    He “earned” it by being a “great Russian” and playing in the motherland’s “superleague” the KHL.

  • Matt Root

    Seems like a knee-jerk reaction to a disappointing loss. The story, as you call it, on Ovechkin proves to me he has the makings of a winner but not the environment. Sure, that statement kind of proves your point but you have yet to mention how Ovechkins playoff play is usually the top of the team. So, if Ovechkin is this awful, born-loser who can never win anything unless led by -insert other superstar-, then what does that make his teammates who more consistently disappear come playoff time? Does that not validate many of the “homers” who don’t 100% blame Ovechkin? 08-09 was the year of the Caps, and that was the only time of the Ovi Era that there was actual scoring depth and balance clicking together. Every year since, the consistent player is Ovi. In fact, the only year you can look at Ovi’s playoff numbers and say “where was this guy” was last year vs the rags when Ovi was playing with a broken foot, if I recall correctly.

    Another point you make is scoring bookoos of goals is nice, but playoff wins are nicer. If only it were that easy to swap the two. Tell me, if Ovi takes whatever role you’d prefer him to have with this team he has right now, who fills in the scoring? There is a 23 goal gap between Ovi and his next closest teammate, Joel Ward. Don’t get too excited, we all witnessed Brouwers “scoring” year and it’s likely to be the same for Joel (even though I hope not.. love Ward-o). In other words, Ovechkin is not doing enough, in your estimate, but in reality he’s the one player WILLING the team to the playoffs. Last year we had no business being there, Southeast + Ovi’s scoring is what put the caps there.

    You also bring up “great players adapt.” Valid point, but I’d argue numerous coaching styles and a new position on ice validates Ovi’s ability to adapt. But it CAN come back to the team in this sense. If the Rags want to cloak Ovi all game long with McDonagh, thats when the teammates create plays punishing the team for committing to stopping Ovi. *Spoiler Alert* It doesn’t happen. Look at previous Cup winners and honestly evaluate that depth and balance to what the Caps have had, even at their peak of 08-09:
    -‘Hawks had 4 lines of speed and scoring depth mixed with solid PK and amazing D.
    -Kings had big bodies that crashed the net and scoring touch from the blue line, mixed with trap hockey and a record-setting run by Quick.
    -Bruins, much like the Kings with big bodies who play tight defensively and crash the net to create scoring chances who also had stellar defensive play and, again, an out-of-his-mind goalie run by Thomas.
    -That 2009 Penguins team was just disgusting. I don’t even want to comment on that but I’ll say this much.. surely wasn’t just Crosby willing the team to a Cup.
    -And lastly I’ll mention the wings before them. Total team balance and played their system to perfection. Ozzy was doing insane 1.55 GA, Zetty and Pav putting up tons of points, as was Lidstrom who also anchored the defense.

    All of that extremely simplistic, in-a-nutshell gibberish is to say this: We’ve been fortunate to have such a winner leading this Caps team that it’s made us over-look the non-top echelon cast he has around him. The fans of hockey and all the glorified pundits also compare this same guy to those who have established superstars on multiple lines, pairings, and in net. It’s a team sport, maybe us “homers” are looking at the team and not blaming solely one guy?

    Sorry you haven’t been excited for a Caps season in a few years. Also sorry that your blame is on the top player playing out of his mind, and not on the stagnant cast around him or awful contracts that handcuff any possible move.

  • Dark Stranger

    Semin on top line — that usually is his sport for International tournaments for Russia. He should not have been omitted, initially, to begin with.

    I’ve got plenty of other problems with Russia’s team selection, not just the initial omission of Semin. They didn’t even pick their best KHL players. Left off Sergei Mozyakin who’s led their league. And this is a guy who actually has chemistry with Malkin since they were KHL teammates last year.

  • ATPinDC

    Well. This was devastating.

    I feel so bad for Ovi. All I want for him is the success he deserves, and because he wanted this so very badly, I wanted him to win the gold far more than I cared about my own country winning it.

    Screw the Roenicks, Milburys, and Coxes of the world. I will never listen to them again.

    My primary hope is that the newfound maturity Ovi has shown this season will allow him to take responsibility for the things he could have done better, recognize the things he had no control over, and put it behind him as he comes back to DC.

    The thing that helped me believe we could see that happen was watching Adam Oates’ press conference today after Caps’ practice. I genuinely believe that Adam is going to help Ovi put this in its proper perspective–painful and disappointing, but not the end of the world, by any means. He’s already compiled video to show Ovi things. He’s going to break this bitch down back to front and inside out and give Ovi specific, actionable things that will make him feel better and help keep him from the kind of abyss that he fell into last time.

    I have been baffled and infuriated by Oates for many things this season, but his handling of and relationship with Ovi has never been one of them. Right now, I’m so relileved Ovi has him.

    http://www.monumentalnetwork.com/videos/adam-oates-2-19-14

  • Chris Best

    I agree that the Capitals have not done nearly enough to fill in the gaps around Ovie to get a winning team…will never argue that. The only guy that fits that bill is Nicklas Backstrom, maybe John Carlson. Laich, Brouwer, MoJo, Ward, Erat, etc…all expendable, all could be traded for something better. So yes, the Capitals have not done a good job creating They need a winger to play with him and Backstrom that is a real threat and they need #2 scorer. A Malkin to his Crosby, a Jagr to his Lemieux, a Messier to his Gretzky, a Zetterberg to his Datsyuk, a Kane to his Towes, etc, etc, etc. Until then, it’s just spinning our wheels over and over again.

    Does Ovie try really hard? Sure. But he also does the same thing over and over and over again…people figured it out. They adapted. He doesn’t, or at least not very well. For years he roared down the left and shoot between the d-man’s legs for a screen. It stopped working after a few seasons, but he kept insisting on trying it anyway…he still does it, even if the success rate has gone down to less than 10%. There was a graphic showing that he can’t score on the powerplay if the puck isn’t gift wrapped on the left faceoff dot. How many times this season have you seen other teams camp someone on Ovi? He doesn’t move, he doesn’t try to get open. He just sits there and waves his hands like, “Hey, I did all I could do, I was in my spot.”

    Just because you try really hard to do something that has a minimal chance of success as soon as someone adapts doesn’t mean you get a pass. It means you need to do something different and Ovie rarely does that. He’s not playing out of his mind, he’s just trying really hard to force the same things over and over to work. That stops being praise worthy after several seasons.

    And please remember, this is from someone who would LOVE for Ovie to prove me wrong and would scream like a little girl if the Caps won the Cup…but I’m realistic too, it’s not happening anytime soon they way things are going. And the Russian Olympic team the past few go arounds has been the same story. So either Ovie is just the most cursed hockey player on earth who just gets stuck with bad teams and bad coaches all the time…or maybe he needs to do some changing of his own.

  • Jocelyn St-Pierre

    Smart comment. Couldn’t agree more.

  • Jocelyn St-Pierre

    That sums it up very well

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    Explain this to your parents :)

  • Marky Narc

    Dr. Kwack FTW

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Bannable offense

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    OJ was acquitted entirely, but I’m gonna go on record as saying he’s probably a bad guy and it wouldn’t bum me out to see him lose a big game either. Nicole wouldn’t be able to throw a party for him losing though.

  • jai151

    Great snark, but he’s not even that old to be hyperbolized, thus the missed joke.

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    I am shocked to find that Peter has no love for JB

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    I completely agree with you. I fully admit that I am personally biased and I have zero personal knowledge. But, alas, I am not without my faults, and this one is one fault i don’t mind living with, since my instincts have served me pretty well over the years. Proven or not, my spidey sense tells me that this guy’s a scumbag so I’m gonna go with that feeling. Otherwise, I would just be totally sad about this loss. Fact is that I’m not, and that’s the reason why, so why shouldn’t I say so? I am not at all sad that this guy performed badly. I would be lying if I said i was. I wish they had played Bob. Though frankly, if they had, they probably still would have lost, and then I’d have nothing to be happy about.

  • Lawrence

    Wow, those that haven’t listened to the adam oates interview today should go listen to that. He gives his insight on ovi and team russia. Oates may be under heavy criticism for his coaching results (and I tend to agree to an extent), but wow that’s someone that cares about ovechkin, ovechkin the person, not just the player that plays for his team. It brought a smile to my face to hear Oates outlook on ovi and his relationship with ovi.

    Say you want about Oates strategy as a coach, but he is the first person in this organization to stand up for ovechkin when he needs it (something past coaches and GMGM have not done).

  • CapsKel

    I thought Bob was pretty damned stellar in the USA shootout. It took a long time.

  • CapsKel

    “Never” is a pretty dumb statement.

  • CapsKel

    It was pretty foreseeable to me. I said “WHY?” when I saw the lineup. They claimed “rotation,” like Bob couldn’t handle back-to-backs. Bob performed fantastically in the two toughest games. I would have started him any day of the week.

  • CapsKel

    Semin on the top line wasn’t the issue, though. Ovechkin-Malkin was the issue. Semin was great the moment they took him off that disaster of a line (and assisted Ovi’s only goal).

  • CapsKel

    Disagree completely, and I think you’re operating on bias here. I love Ovi, but Malkin worked incredibly hard. He was all over the ice, every zone, forechecking, backchecking. Malkin made many passes that Ovi bobbled. They both share responsibility, but Malkin was NOT worse than Ovi. He never stopped fighting. There were times when Ovi gave up.

    Different players, different lines.

  • Bugs Fire

    So basically what you are saying is that only in minority of cases of this kind charges are dropped because the alleged male abuser is actually innocent? Hence he is more likely to be guilty than not. That might well be true (and my however limited knowledge of male nature and Russian culture biases me towards supporting this hypothesis), but we don’t know that for sure. Do you want to be judged by others based on mere allegations leveled against you? Probably not.

  • Bugs Fire

    That case did go to trial so we clearly have more actual knowledge. BTW, OJ was also found guilty in civil court.

  • CapsKel

    I’m saying that these cases are dropped more often than not for reasons other than “she lied,” yes, and I do have a social work background to support that. I’m not actively wishing that Varlamov runs into traffic and dies, but the possibility that he actually terrorized his girlfriend makes me want to distance myself from him. Maybe that’s not “logical” or “fair,” but that’s a pretty normal emotional reaction. I feel uncomfortable when I look at him, because it feels wrong that he might have gotten away with a serious crime because he had the money and the respect and the societal norms on his side. You can chastize me for being unfair, but you can’t expect me to will away the sick feeling in my stomach. From what I know of Varlamov over the years, I can absolutely hear him saying “you’re lucky we’re not in Russia” to her. That just clicks for me. I would never advocate locking him up if there wasn’t evidence beyond the legal burden of proof. I would never lock someone up on a “hunch.” But I would sure as hell stay away from them. And that’s a biological imperative – avoiding people that you think may be violent and dangerous.

  • CapsKel

    Sure, but civil court is 51%. That’s a much lower burden than “beyond reasonable doubt.” It’s “more likely than not.”

  • Yo8

    Seriously are we still talking about this? The girl said “the hospital report is going to prove it!” Where is the freaking report to prove it?! You don’t claim getting the living shit beat out of you and then look like nothing! I mean, according to her description of what he did she should have been at least a week in the hospital and not talking to the press the next or second day (she didn’t give the dates right.) Not only that but she gave three version of the incidents with different dates. One of her friends got her on a recorded phone call where she said some compromising things. Her “witnesses failed to keep their stories straight. She ran away from an interview when she was questioned about getting a lawyer immediately after getting in Colorado. Her “witnesses” also happen to be friends or family members of her lawyer.

    What else? Oh, she said she will go for the civil suit but so far no move from her camp after her lawyer dump her.

    I would really love if Varly sues her ass. His lawyer said he could do it and win and I think so too.

  • CapsKel

    Please do some more research on domestic violence, and the effect that emotional and physical trauma has on victims. You’re expecting a possible domestic violence victim to act in the logical manner that you would. Domestic violence victims are routinely persuaded, intimidated, and scared into rescinding claims. There is extensive evidence to support how common this is, and the social and psychological reasons that more allegations are made than followed through with. People who are terrorized do not act in a logical, rational, coherent manner. They come from a place of fear.

  • Yo8

    If you get beat and claim the hospital report is going to prove it and it doesn’t then what would you say? Just believe my word and not the evidence or the fact that there is no evidence? Just because “they can’t act in a logical, rational, and coherent manner”? I think she and her lawyer were acting very logical and rational when they asked money for an interview or when she talked on that Russian TV show and then ran away when a very compromising fact was brought up. “Domestic violence victims are routinely persuaded, intimidated, and scared into rescinding claims.” Yeah, she was definitely intimidated when she was showing her “bruises” on that perfectly fine skin of hers and when she gave that long sob story that has many contradictions.

    “They come from a place of fear.”
    Giving photo shots to the media it sure is a sign of fear…

    When you and neither the “witnesses” can keep the story straight what would think of that? What does it say when you run away from a simple question like why she immediately got a lawyer that happens to be family or friends of her “witnesses”?

    To me it says law suit for defamation and I believe he has the right to do go for it! I hope it happens.

  • Bugs Fire

    I completely understand what you mean. Problem I have with this approach is that it refuses to look at the individual and instead assigns guilt based on group membership. You are absolutely within your individual right to distance yourself from Varlamov. But you are doing so not based on what he has done but what you have some statistical knowledge others he has some things in common with have done. Is that not prejudice?

    By the way, which societal norm was on his side? Most people I know do not support spousal abuse.

    Can we go back to hockey now?

  • CapsKel

    And you’re entitled to your opinion. But this is part of what I do for a living, and I can tell you that I’ve seen cases where victims have been inconsistent, contradictory, avoidant, and otherwise “shady” to people who don’t understand what they’re going through. And I’ve seen their alleged abusers either not get charged, or get charged and then acquitted… and then a witness comes forward later, the abusers brags to a friend, or the abuser goes on to beat their next girlfriend up so badly that there’s absolutely no doubt. You can believe and hope whatever you want. But I can tell you that there are women who have acted in exactly the manner that Varlamov’s ex-girlfriend did and were actually abused. I can’t say whether she was telling the truth or not. But if you think you can tell solely from how she behaved, you’re wrong, because I have WORKED cases extremely similar to this and then found out later, after dismissal or acquittal, that the allegations were irrefutably true.

  • Yo8

    But you wrong to believe she is right just because other cases turn out right! Not only that but the behaviors you are giving me (inconsistent and contradictory) can also be found on a pathological liar! Avoidant and restricted? Again, she clearly is the opposite of that. If she would have only done the police report instead of going the to the media and gave away photo shots, I would have believed those traits. Also, what do you have to say about the “witnesses”? They weren’t “affected” and yet after probably a lot of hours of coaching from her lawyer they ended up messing the whole story! What’s their excuse?! Bahahaha!

    Defamation law suit! Defamation law suit! Defamation law suit!

  • CapsKel

    I didn’t say that she was right. If you scroll up, you’ll see that I said “I can’t say whether she was telling the truth or not.” Do I have a hunch that he did it, based on what we know of him and the details of the allegation? Yes. Is that legally admissible? Of course not. That’s just my personal suspicion, which isn’t fact, and isn’t enough for a conviction.

    You seem to have this concept of “what an abuse victim” should do. It’s a very faulty concept that speaks to a lack of knowledge about the psychology behind abusing and being abused. I know what abuse victims actually do – and it’s a huge, huge range of different reactions, depending on their personality, life experiences, the nature of the abuse, their support network, the status of the abuser in the community, and many other factors. There’s no playbook. They handle it in completely different ways. And while I can’t say whether Varlamov was guilty of this, because I wasn’t there, I can say that I’ve seen women act similar to how she did, be criticized in the manner that you’re criticizing her, and eventually turn out to be telling the truth. If you think that a woman who behaved in this manner has to be a liar, I can categorically tell you that you’re wrong, because there was a case a couple years back where the mistress of a local politician made an allegation, was torn apart by the press… And the politician was later caught on tape with his buddies laughing about how he’d gotten away with it.

    It happens, with victims who behave very similarly to this. Whether it happened in this exact case, only two people know for sure.

  • CapsKel

    (For the record, defamation of character requires that the claim be proven false. The burden of proof would be on Varlamov to prove that he couldn’t have done what she claimed. “Her story changed” isn’t sufficient evidence, because real victims have changing stories sometimes. There is virtually no way of proving defamation in this case, because it’s very much his word against hers.)

  • Yo8

    Again, the behaviors you gave me can be found on a pathological liar as well. Those behaviors can not be single out for just domestic victims. And you also failed to answer my question about the “witnesses” failing to keep the story straight.

    “And while I can’t say whether Varlamov was guilty of this, because I wasn’t there, I can say that I’ve seen women act similar to how she did, be criticized in the manner that you’re criticizing her, and eventually turn out to be telling the truth.”

    Once again other cases turning right don’t mean this one is.

  • Yo8

    It is not her word against his anymore. The “witnesses” failed report, the phone call and the failed hospital report make this more than a he said she said case.

  • CapsKel

    It’s prejudice in the same sense that we all make judgements about other people every day without having full knowledge of the facts, yes. But for the record, I don’t assume every woman who makes an allegation is telling the truth… There are details of this allegation that ring true to me based on having followed Varlamov for a long time. Do I know him? Am I his friend? No, but it’s not a blanket assumption. For me, the statement that I cited above really does sound like something that HE – not a random Russian, not anyone ever accused of domestic abuse – would say, and it’s a very peculiar statement for someone making it up to say. I won’t pretend that I’m not using a general frame of reference in terms of my base of knowledge, here, but there is some specificity for me. There have been similar allegations in the media that I was more skeptical of. I think “prejudice” is a little strong, in that my opinion is based on some reason, but it’s true that it’s not based on actual first-hand knowledge of this specific event. But given that most humans operate on judgments that aren’t based on actual first-hand knowledge event – given that most of us extrapolate our experiences to other people’s experiences – I don’t think it’s a weird thing to do. It’s not like I’m trying to get him locked up. I just don’t want to watch him play.

    Societal norm-wise: he’s white, he’s male, but since that applies to many alleged abusers, the kicker is that he’s a celebrity. Celebrities have a much lower charge/conviction rate on domestic incidents (and most crimes overall) than the general population.

  • CapsKel

    You’re mistaken. That doesn’t meet the necessary burden of proof. What “makes sense” to you isn’t evidence sufficient to establish defamation. He would essentially need an admission that she had lied to win a defamation case.

  • CapsKel

    Pathological liars are exceptionally rare. Domestic abuse victims are exceptionally common. If you choose to believe the former, that’s your call.

    On the witnesses: lawyers trump up charges for real victims all the time. Lawyers coerce witnesses to exaggerate. The “kidnapping” charge is a classic lawyer add-on. I’ve seen lawyers on both sides play fast and loose with the truth because their careers hinge on convictions and acquittals, and innocent suspects and real victims are often caught in the crossfire. The inconsistencies you’re pointing to are much more likely to be lawyer-engineered than victim-engineered, because they require much more sophistication.

    No, it doesn’t. Like I said, I don’t know what happened. But you don’t either, and if you think you do based on her behavior, you’re wrong. You can have a hunch that she’s lying, but if you would actually categorically state that she couldn’t possibly be telling the truth, you would be as guilty as people who categorically state that he did it. None of us know. We only have suspicions.

  • Yo8

    Again, you haven’t answered why her witnesses failed to keep their story straight as well. What is their excuse?

  • Yo8

    Doesn’t make sense? The hospital report doesn’t make sense? More like it doesn’t prove it. If she has the ability to send him to jail with a medical report, then how he can not prove his “innocent” with that as well? Shitty law system… Anyways, getting the admission wouldn’t be so difficult since she is not that bright (sorry, but she isn’t and neither her lawyer.) Her friend betray her by getting her to say certain things so I won’t doubt another person would try to do that again.

    Looking forward to it.

    I’m going to sleep for now.

  • CapsKel

    It isn’t uncommon for witnesses who’ve been asked to embellish their stories by lawyers to get tripped up. Humans are wired to want to tell the truth. If they feel pressured to lie, they screw up. But, again, I’ve seen both prosecutors and defense attorneys pressure witnesses this way. It’s usually not a directive from the suspect or alleged victim.

  • CapsKel

    It’s a pretty simple doctrine: the absence of evidence of a crime is not inherently proof that a crime did not occur. See: just about every child abuse case not involving visible physical injury ever. Goodnight.

  • Yo8

    So many things in one case… I just don’t buy it. When the story came out I was upset and angry at Varly because I thought he did it like many other people still do, but then a bunch of things came out from her side. It is not like his side convince me or made me think differently.

    Oh, well.

  • CapsKel

    That’s fine. I’ve seen “that many things” in celebrity cases because it’s always a media circus, but at the end of the day, only two people know for sure. Have a good night.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Not to mention the fact that if he were to sue her he would get nothing but a nice bill from his lawyers. I would be all for a defamation suit as well. Same way I would have been glad to see A-Rod continue his suit against MLB.

  • Bugs Fire

    Needs to do some changing of his own? Did you miss the part last year where he switched sides? Did you miss his brilliant passes to Eric Fehr and Marty Erat? Yes, he is the winger which means he will never rack up assists like centers do, but he is not the one-dimensional player that Canadian media insists he is. You did come to wrong place to channel Milbury&Co.

    When a team puts a shadow on Ovie on PK, all he needs to do really is to stand still and let his teammates score 4-on-3. Which should be easy, because guess what? On average this season, it took NHL teams 9:53 to score 5-on-4 PP goal. In 4-on-3 situation, it took them 5:29. So in theory, him just standing there once he feels he is just being shadowed should work wonders. I second Matt’s suggestion that the rest of the team should adapt to all-hands-on-8 strategy, not Ovie. What is that he has to do – waste his energy trying to shake off Ryan McDonagh/Dan Girardi? If there was one viable secondary threat on his line, nobody could stifle Caps like this. Which makes it hard to understand why Alex is still on the same line with two guys who are always only looking to pass to him. To be fair though, Malkin as a center did not work because Gino never passes.

    And this whole argument that he has to do even more to bring the Cup to DC is ludicrous. Guy has more goals this year than anyone else in the best hockey league on the planet. He scored 40 goals in 55 games this season. What do you want him to do? Score 80 goals in 55 games? About 60% more goals were scored per game in Gretzky’s era. It stands to reason that Alex could have had 64 goals this season already if he played then, if not more. You want him to be more than the most prolific scorer of all times?

    Do you mind explaining to me why nobody ever asks whether Steven Stamkos needs to do more than just score goals? That he has not done enough to carry Bolts to postseason glory? Something tells me that were Marc-Andre Fleury not to make that one save and Red Wings have prevailed, we won’t be talking about how Crosby needs to step up and become “student of the game” to bring Cup to Pittsburgh. Everyone agrees (and correctly so) that Bolt’s problem in last few years was defence/goaltending and that Bruins (who played great) just got lucky beyond belief with all the bounces going their way last year. But when it comes to Washington Capitals, of course it’s the Russian dude who needs to change.

    He only ever got stuck on two teams – Washington Capitals and Team Russia (we can talk about Moscow Dynamo some other time). When Caps were good under Boudreau, they truly were few bounces away from maybe winning it all. Trap defence does not always prevail. Right now he is playing for a team that would have Buffalo Sabres-like record without him. Sure, all it takes is for Alex to become a “leader”. That’s all we need, sarcasm intended. Don’t get me started on team Russia and it’s systemic political “KHL>NHL”problems.

    Individual players do not win Stanley Cups. He is not one-dimensional – Caps are.

    Nobody is making excuses for him and neither does he. But it is amazing to see how smart intelligent people suddenly fail to recognize that hockey is a team sport and one player can only take you this far.

    How many Cups did Wayne Gretzky win after leaving Edmonton? Exactly. People often forget that what great players can do is to take a great team and make it unbeatable. Or take a good team and make it great. Or take a bad team and make it good. That is what Ovie is doing now – giving mediocre team a chance to make playoffs. You want him to do more? Well, surround him with Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Esa Tikannen and Paul Coffey. Toss in Grant Fuhr, Andy Moog and Bill Ranford. If they don’t win the Cup, fine, blame Ovie then.

  • Bugs Fire

    You just have discovered that time always goes forward and science has not yet discovered how to reverse normal ageing process. One interpretation of anti-matter is that it is simply matter moving backwards in time. Maybe if we can switch all his particles to anti-particles… Well, that would make a sizable explosion next time he checks someone into the boards.

  • Bugs Fire

    It seemed like a good idea originally to reunite Ovie with Sasha. Except that Malkin is nearly exact opposite of Backstrom and Alex is now playing on the other side. Which makes me wonder whether Russian coaching staff did any research at all. Or maybe they did and just wanted NHLers to fail? Go figure.

  • Bugs Fire

    All good points. Two more comments.

    Firstly, it’s not “societal norm” that celebrities can get away with more. It’s because they are more likely to have a good lawyer. Most of us love a good downfall story.

    Secondly, prejudice itself is not really objectionable – humans and other animals evolved to render judgement based on appearances (if it has black and yellow stripes and walks on four – I have to run). Acting upon prejudice is what most people object to. I would like to make it abundantly clear that I do realize based on what you said that we share this opinion.

  • CapsKel

    Lawyers help, sure, but the societal norm in play is that the public is much more protective of celebrities accused of crimes against women than they are of random people in their town. If they’ve done something for your team/city/country, you make excuses for them that you wouldn’t for Joe Schmoe on the street. I’m continually disgusted by how immediately fans of sports stars jump to “she lied” and “she’s a slut, she wanted it.” Because they feel like they have a connection to them/know them/that the sports star has “done them right” by winning or whatever, they often act completely differently than they would if such a crime was committed in their neighborhood. The societal norm in play is the reverence of celebrities to the point of making allowances.

    I agree. But I don’t think “avoiding his games” (or posting on a forum) constitutes “acting” on prejudice, given that it has no impact on him whatsoever.

  • Eric Schulz

    HA! Most goal scorers slow down at 24! He’s 28 and is back to his old form! Do the research, dude.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I can tie Ovi’s decline to a number of factors:

    Bad luck (10-11’s Sh%), a bad systems change (lower shot volume 09-12), aging in general, fewer power plays across the league, better defense playing against him.

    Counteracting that, and explaining his resurrection:

    Good luck (12-13’s Sh%), improving systems (at least for the top line since 12-13), closer shot distance on power plays, position change.

    But he’s still aging. The decline comes for us all. When Ovi can’t be Ovi anymore, he’ll have to redefine what Ovi means. For now, SCOAR MOAR GOALS.

  • Yo8

    “the absence of evidence of a crime is not inherently proof that a crime did not occur.”

    It can’t prove it happen either. If it does, then I don’t want to live under such a shitty system. Anyone, can accused you and send you to jail without evidence. BS!

    “Not all assaults leave marks.” But she said she had them and yet the hospital report doesn’t say that. How did that happen? And she gave very specific description of where she had them and how visible were to the naked eye! Oh, wait! She wasn’t thinking right and blahblahblah! Even though she hired her lawyer and took that video of the Halloween party before the incident. Yeah, sure she wasn’t thinking right.

    “now that most people have shrugged it off…” Not they haven’t or we wouldn’t be talking about this and people wouldn’t bring the subject each time they see an opportunity. Also, I don’t see how getting her to say she fake it all would hurt him. He would have the proof for the rest of his life. I don’t see anything negative about that.

    Talking about publicists, the poor woman got herself one. She works fast :)