Back at the Olympics, Team Russia got eliminated from medal contention by Finland. It was sad. Even the mascot, the Sochi Bear, which literally had a smile fixed on its face, couldn’t keep it together.
Russia got revenge on Sunday, though some of the names and faces were changed. Buoyed by an Alex Ovechkin power-play goal (his second of the tournament), Russia beat Finland 4-2, ending a year-long losing streak to the Finns. It was Ovechkin’s second goal and his third point of the tournament.
Russia is now 2-0 in the World Championship and has outscored its opponents 9-2. Without Teemu Selanne, who is busy or something, Finland is 0-2 and may miss out on even qualifying for the playoffs.
Team Russia walloped Switzerland in the opening game of the 2014 World Championships in Minsk today. The fabled Russian offense, mostly inert in Sochi, delivered five goals while goalie Sergei Bobrovsky turned away all 27 shots he faced from the Swiss.
Newly named captain, Alex Ovechkin, also scored a goal and tallied an assist in the beatdown.
Adam Oates is a smart man. After going undrafted out of college, he turned into a Hall of Fame player. It wasn’t his skill that made him an NHL success, but his elite ability to notice things other people didn’t. Oates had a coaching mind in a player’s body.
“If Adam notices something in a game, he adjusts right away,” Ron Wilson, then the Caps coach, told SI in 2001. “Even if it’s only how somebody is holding his stick. He takes the information, processes it, and puts it to use. The thing about Adam is that he assimilates a lot of stuff at once. Most guys might see one or two things, and the rest is a blur.”
However, years later, when Oates became head coach of the Capitals, that obsession with improving individual players would undermine the team as a whole.
On Thursday, Washington Capitals forwards Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov all played in a hockey game for the first time since the Caps’ dreadful season ended two weeks ago.
The three Russian Caps suited up for Russia’s national team in what was basically a glorified exhibition against Germany to warm up for the World Championships. Team Russia won 4-2 and scored three of their four goals in 1:38. None of the Caps players scored or tallied a point.
One interesting fact we can take from the game is that Ovechkin was captain of Team Russia. It’s the first time he’s led the national team since 2005, when he was the 19-year-old captain of Russia during the World Junior Championships. Though his captain patch totally looks velcroed on.
On Monday, the Washington Capitals held Breakdown Day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex after missing the playoffs for the first time in six years. Alex Ovechkinspoke about his disappointment, Evgeny Kuznetsov talked about sneezing, and Dmitry Orlovlearned what corsi is.
Four days later, all three Caps Russians jumped on a plane to go back home.
But what of the Caps’ Swedes? After winning a silver medal in Sochi, Marcus Johansson will likely not represent his home country due to a broken arm. On Thursday, Pär Mårts, Sweden’s national team coach, told Svenska Dagbladet that Nicklas Backstrom has turned down an invitation to play in the tournament this year.
When asked why, Mårts said Backstrom won’t be playing “for family reasons.”
The 22-year-old Russian is joining the Sbornaya training camp in a few days, and hopes to put his country’s uniform on for the first time since he was a prominent member of the 2011 WJC gold-winning Russian team. A consolation prize, at best, as the dream of winning the Stanley Cup – or even playing for it – will remain just that at least for another year. But it made for a good conversation starter.
On Monday, the Washington Capitals held Breakdown Day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. For two hours, Caps players filed out of the locker room and conducted exit interviews with the media. Because of the whole no playoffs thing, there were a lot of long faces.
There’s about three hours of interview video to surf though on Monumental Network. Because I hate myself and care only about you, dear reader, I’ve transcribed all the key quotes. And because this is RMNB, I also pointed out the fashion choices. Sadly, there was no crazy hair this year.