Monday morning, Barry Trotz put on a figurative tinfoil hat and said one of the most wacky things he’s ever said as Caps coach. Frustrated by the length of Brooks Orpik’s three-game suspension, Trotz suggested the NHL favors the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised based on who we’re playing and all that,” Trotz said.
Later when asked to clarify, Trotz replied, “Take it for whatever you want.”
I, a rational human being, do not believe the NHL favors one team over another. But the problem is the optics. And the main provider of said optics is NBC, the NHL’s American TV partner.
Over the years, NBC’s analysis during intermission can basically be summed up like this: yell first, think later. Whether it’s Jeremy Roenick calling Alex Ovechkin a bad defensive player due to plus-minus or Keith Jones pushing tired narratives, NBC’s hockey analysis can seem more about settling scores than communicating constructive information. (It’s basically the opposite of CSN Mid-Atlantic’s coverage of Caps games.)
Mike Milbury, whose personality wavers from patient to cranky night to night, is the kingpin. During the first intermission of Game Two, Grumpy Milbury launched into an angry screed about Brooks Orpik’s headshot on Olli Maatta. The Orpik hit was bad, don’t get me wrong, but Milbury’s analysis still somehow managed to be over-the-top.
Sunday afternoon, the NHL suspended Brooks Orpik three games for his head shot of Olli Maatta. Monday after the Capitals morning skate, Tom Wilson defended his teammate and also criticized NBC’s Mike Milbury.
During the first intermission of Game Two, Milbury, who has always been a lightning rod for controversy, called Orpik a “predator,” implying that the Caps defenseman was looking to injure Maatta. Orpik and Maatta are friends off the ice.
Hi, my name is Ian Oland. I’m driving this here Capitals bandwagon. This week, we’ve travelled all over North America. We’ve had great success picking up many new friends, but I must admit my patience is wearing thin. Trebek keeps drinking liquor and challenging everyone to a shirtless bare-knuckle brawl. One of the oxen has died and several of our hockey oddsmakers have typhoid fever.
But no matter. As we press forward on Lord Stanley’s trail, we are scheduled to pick up four fine gentlemen on this here Capitals game day. First are the notorious rabble rousers from the NBCSN channel: Mr. Mike Milbury and Mr. Keith Jones.
On Tuesday night, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had a normal Ovi night: he scored two goals and dangled the puck through a dude’s legs. In a new twist, he also dropped down to his knees in his first period and blocked a shot off his skate.
Ovi skated off the ice gingerly. Two seasons ago, he broke his foot on a similar play.
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
Mike Milbury doesn’t think highly of Alex Ovechkin. That was clear when the failed Islanders GM delivered his frothing rant about Ovi during last week’s Caps-Flyers game. He said Ovechkin acted “like a baby,” and should instead “act like a man for god’s sake.” He said it was “an awful display of hockey” by Ovechkin. He said Ovechkin “should be ashamed of himself.”
Now it seems Ovi has a few thoughts of his own.
“I can talk about his work as an Islanders general manager,” the Caps captain told Slava Malamud of Sport Express. “I could care less about his opinion.”
Ovi made his comments after Washington’s thrilling overtime win over Boston, in which he crashed into Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask approximately 83 times. That game ended with a highlight-reel goal by Eric Fehr in overtime, a comeback that could have been spurred on by Ovechkin’s intermission comments to the team with the Caps down 3-0 after one period.
Below, check out Fedor Fedin’s translation of Ovechkin’s interview with Sport Express.
GIF by welshhockeyfan
Ten minutes into tonight’s game, I lost all hope of the Capitals winning. It wasn’t the two goals the Caps gave up in the first 4:04 (unlucky goals on broken plays). No, what made me despair was this one terrible pass by Alex Ovechkin that revealed how crummy everyone else was playing. As Ovi curled around the Flyers net, he sent a lackadaisical, no-look backhand pass to …no one. The pass went 185 feet down the ice until Braden Holtby came out of his net to play it. Basically the opposite of how it’s supposed to go.
The Capitals played nearly flawless hockey in Tuesday’s 3-0 shutout of Carolina, but that doesn’t mean that they can come out against the Flyers a night later and play like decapitated poultry. They lacked effort and focus in Philadelphia. As Neil stated earlier, last night’s victory only improved the Caps chances of making the playoffs to 19%. They have a lot of work to do.
In the below video, in which a certain NBC professional blowhard lays into Ovechkin for the zillionth time, please ignore him and focus on the replays.
Everyone hates Mike Milbury. Fans, bloggers, and apparently former Washington Capitals co-captain Brendan Witt, who said Milbury “sucks ass” when he opined on the GM-cum-NBC broadcaster via Twitter. Milbury is, of course, infamous with Caps fans. He’s criticized the team many times, once referring to them as the “Crapitals.”
Milbury, general manger of the New York Islanders from 1995-2006, traded away Zdeno Chara, Roberto Luongo, and Olli Jokinen. He drafted chronically-injured Rick DiPietro over Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik. One time, he attacked someone with a shoe.
Witt signed with the Islanders just weeks after Milbury was fired, and it seems he’s not a fan — at least not after Milbury’s intermission thoughts during Sunday’s Pens-Sabres game.
When Zach Parise and Ryan Suter agreed to terms with the Minnesota Wild for $98 million each on Independence Day, former Capital Alan May was more impressed by their signing bonuses.
Parise and Suter were given $25 million each just for signing their names on the line which is dotted, a number made even more staggering by May after he tweeted what things were like back in his day.
Photo via: couchwarmers.blogspot.com
We already know how lucky we are to have such a talented broadcast team — so talented that they have their own hockey cards. Never is this more apparent, though, than when we’re briefly stranded on an NHL on NBC broadcast instead – as we will be on Saturday for Game 2. With only sixteen teams still playing hockey, Caps games will be broadcast even more frequently on NBC, because nothing soothes frayed postseason nerves like a rambling OHL story from Pierre McGuire.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.