Semyon Varlamov stops Brooks Laich on a shot attempt. Russia vs Canada World Championships.

Alex Ovechkin is separated by an official from going after Brooks Laich while Steve Downie whisphers sweet nothings into his ear.

Alex Ovechkin is separated by an official from going after Brooks Laich while Steve Downie whisphers sweet nothings in his ear.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a rematch of the Olympics, but Canada’s defeat at the hands of the Russians might salve some of the wounds from February.  In a 5-2 thrashing, some of the Russian Olympic team beat some of the Canadian Olympic team, and it only took 78 penalty minutes to happen!

Today’s game was noteworthy in that Brooks “Lugnut” Laich opposed a ton of his current and former Capitals teammates (Ovechkin, Semin, Fedorov, Kozlov, Varlamov, Rasputin, Zhivago) and didn’t evaporate any friendships in the process.  Aside from one tense scrum and a blocked wrister from Varlamov, the friendly rivalry was not a factor in the game.  What did matter was the steady drip of penalties leaking from the referee’s whistles.  Across twenty seven penalties, the officials dealt out 78 minutes of penalty time (30 for Russia, 48 for Canada).  If this wasn’t the most litigated pro hockey game you’ve seen in a while, I do not want to see your hockey games.

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Pavel Lysenkov of SovSport.ru chatted it up with Alex Ovechkin before today’s match with Kazakhstan (it’s happening right now!).   They discuss the Kazakh team’s goalie, the win over Slovakia, the Russian team’s struggles, and Russian showmanship.

By the way, for those of you not watching (which is pretty much everyone except for Fedor), Semin has a 3-point game so far (1G, 2A), and Ovechkin already has one goal.

PL: What do you know about the Kazakhstan team?
AO: I don’t know anything about this team. The only thing I know is that Vitaly Eremeyev is the goalie there. Good, reliable goalie.

PL: Soviet Sport talked to him, and he remembers that he last played against you at the Torino Olympics [Ed. note - Final score was 1-0 Russia]. And if Kazakhstan will play as firmly as there, they’ll be able to take some points.
AO: The’ll have a chance for sure. I’m not going to argue with this.

PL: Especially if Russia won’t play better in the powerplay…
AO: I wouldn’t make such an precise decision. It was our first game. The big one is ahead. We have to organize our interactions. We have some time for this. First step is to organize our game.

PL: Finns were going to organize, too, but Denmark smashed them.
AO: A lot of teams show a high level of play at the Champs. I can’t say who’s the main contender. There are five [or] six teams who fight for the medals every time. But others are coming; they may surprise and win.

PL: Anyway, were there more positives or negatives in the game against Slovakia?
AO: Positives, for sure. We won. How? No one cares.

PL: But those last minutes were pretty disturbing.
AO: We wanted to create some intrigue. Make our fans upset. It’s hockey.

PL: General Manager of the Capitals, George McPhee, said Ovechkin shouldn’t come to Germany…
AO: If you have an opportunity to play at the Champs, why shouldn’t I play for my country? Yes, the season was tiring. But I always have force– even after the playoffs. We exerted ourselves with the Caps, but five days is enough to restore myself completely. Our break will be in the summer.

Bam.  Ovie’s not tired!  Ovie’s not afraid of Kazakhstan!  Ovie’s not afraid of Bykov’s chaotic un-coaching!

For the three people in the audience watching the game legally, let us know how it’s going in the comments below.

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Dear God, the Russian Machine does bleed red blood like the rest of us.

Dear God, the Russian Machine does bleed red blood like the rest of us.

The wounds from the Caps’ round-one playoff loss are still raw, but we are on the mend.  The downtrodden leader of the Caps’, Alex Ovechkin, has linked up with his countrymen to mend some of those wounds.  The world championships began this weekend in Cologne, Germany, reuniting Ovechkin, Semyon Varlamov, and Alex Semin with their former teammates, Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov.  Today’s match found the Capitals Russians facing off against the Slovakians, coached by former Caps benchmaster, Glen Hanlon.

The Russian goalie,  massive Vasili Kosechkin, did not face a flurry of pucks until late in the second period.  When the Slovaks finally mounted their offensive attacks, a sneaky wrister from former Capitals farmhand Ivan Majesky threatened to start a scoring spree.  The Russians managed to hold off the Slovaks’ recovery, earning them a first round win– Alex Ovechkin’s first in four games.

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Alex Ovechkin of the Russian National Team

Alex Ovechkin arrives in Germany wearing a Capitals Hat. (Photo via Sovetsky Sport. Top Photo via Soviet Sport)

Alex Ovechkin arrives in Germany wearing a Capitals Hat. (Photo via Sovetsky Sport. Top Photo via Soviet Sport)

(Original Story by Soviet Sport’s A. Lipkin, English translation by RMNB’s Fedor Fedin)

As of a few weeks ago, the prospects for the Russian National Team at the World Championships did not look very rosy. Injuries to Zaripov, Morozov, coupled with not very good play of the goalies in the Gagarin Cup gave Russian fans legitimate concerns. And the failure of Vancouver is far from forgotten, which will cast a negative shadow on everything regarding the Russian team.

However, the results from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were like balm to the soul of our fans. New Jersey Devil Ilya Kovalchuk, Los Angeles Kings Alexander Frolov, and Nashville Predator Denis Grebeshkov were eliminated. And the Washington Capitals struggled against the Montreal Canadiens and ended their season, thus releasing Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Semyon Varlamov to the national team.

As it turns out, throughout the season we can root for our hockey players in the NHL, but when it’s playoffs time, we are all together in wishing them defeat.

But the real question is, what’s the mood of the NHL players who are coming to the team? Especially of those who were looking for a better result in their NHL seasons.

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