On April 23rd, reigning Norris trophy winner/Matt Cooke assault victim Erik Karlsson joined Twitter. In just 34 days, the Swedish defenseman has revolutionized the Internet with one hashtag: #lalala. In 59 tweets, Karlsson has used the hashtag 11 times. That’s a league-leading 19% hashtag rate.
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
The day after Christmas, Nicklas Backstrom was skating in a KHL game for Dynamo Moscow. Midway through the second period of a 1-1 game, Nick took a pass in the far corner. He attempted to spin around and take the puck behind the net. Instead, Backstrom was slammed into the boards by Milan Kytnár; his face hitting the dashers. Backstrom got up, clearly shaken. He left the game after one more shift.
Given Backstrom missed 40 games last year after being concussed by Rene Bourque, this was a scary blow. Dynamo, however, insisted that his brain didn’t take the beating. It was, they said, a bruised neck. Backstrom’s agent reiterated that. But then Alex Ovechkin said something funny when asked about his teammate’s injury: “Sometimes it’s not hard hit, you just feel a little dizzy.” Dizziness, of course, does not usually go along with bruises.
Earlier in the year, Nicklas Backstrom filmed a bunch of spots for Geico and, as the season progressed, the commercials have been gradually released to the public. In January, Nicky taught us how to score 15 goals in 15 seconds. Then, a month later, he showed off a pretty graphic splinter. Now in April, we’re treated to a lockerroom interaction between Backstrom and the ghost of Lord Stanley.
Ovechkin, Komarov, and some body parts of Backstrom during their stint with Dynamo. (Photo credit: HC Dynamo)
On Wednesday, Dynamo Moscow beat Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Chelyabisnk to win the Gagarin Cup for the second straight year. After the win, some Russian media outlets reported that Alex Ovechkin‘s name will be engraved on the Cup as he played in more than half of the regular season games with Dynamo. Ovi also said he’s going to get a championship ring.
Today those same outlets, Sovetsky Sport particularly, pulled a CNN and denied their own report (and unpublished the original stories), claiming that Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Leo Komarov doesn’t fit the definition of “loaned” players. A loaned player in the KHL is a player who was sent down to a minor professional league like the VHL. Since their contracts were voided when the three went back to the NHL, the number of games played is irrelevant. Technically, Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Komarov are no longer part of Dynamo.
Dynamo forward Denis Kokarev celebrating the victory. (Photo credit: RIA Novosti/Alexey Filippov)
Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom‘s former KHL team, Dynamo Moscow, has beat Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Traktor Chelyabinsk 3-2 in overtime to secure a championship win in game 6 of the Gagarin Cup finals, taking the hardware home for the second straight year.
Despite a few good chances, Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, was held without a point. Kuznetsov had eleven points in 25 games during his team’s long playoff journey.
Back in Washington, Ovechkin and Backstrom shared their happiness via Twitter.
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
Looking to extend their season-high seven game win streak, the Washington Capitals hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. In a match-up of possible first-round opponents, the Caps came off a shaky ending to their last win and played a game that was anything but against a tired Leafs team.
Jack Hillen scored (when doesn’t he?), Nicky got boarded, the Caps got mad, Erat got his first in red,
the Brouwitzer a nice backhand shot was unleashed, Ovi had a scoar, and MoJo hacked one in. Caps smack Leafs 5-1.
Photo credit: Bill Kostroun
Although he’s among the NHL leaders in assists, Nicklas Backstrom has had a pretty quiet season. For most of the year, he’s been placed on the team’s second line, away from Alex Ovechkin. On the power play, it’s Mike Ribeiro who’s been racking up most of the primary assists.
That changed on Sunday night during the Capitals’ 3-2 shootout victory over the Rangers. Nicky made a hell of a lot of noise. Backstrom scoared a first period goal off his noggin,’ yelled at fellow countryman
Anton Stralman Carl Hagelin in the penalty box, and ended the game with his decisive fourth round shootout goal. His put the Capitals two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
Photo credit: Justin K. Aller
Players get older; they slow down. Elite goal scorers drop off as they enter their late twenties. It’s time to realize this has happened to Alex Ovechkin. He may have the same name as the guy who scored 65 goals five years ago, but he is far from the same player. And it’s not his fault.
Nine of Ovechkin’s 15 goals have come off the same shot from the same spot: a one-timer from the circles. Seven of those have been on the power play. More remarkably, Ovechkin has not held the puck for more than a second on any of his goals this season save for one. He no longer scores on the rush.
The Washington Capitals invested $123 million dollars in Alex Ovechkin. They cannot have him not score. If he isn’t scoring the way he used to, they will adjust the game plan for him. That’s exactly what first year head coach Adam Oates has done. The new power play he instituted is designed to get Ovechkin the puck at any costs — and it works brilliantly. Ten of his 15 tallies this year (2/3) have come on the power play, the highest ratio of power play to even-strength goals of any player with more than 10 markers. He leads the NHL in man advantage goals.
Ovi’s smiles are getting progressively weirder as the night goes on. (Photo credit: @ovi8)
With Alex Ovechkin scoring his 700th point and the Capitals escaping Raleigh with a win over division-leading Carolina, the players were in a festive mood. That might explain why half the team started tweeting after the game, shooting congratulations to Ovi (#respect), describing the victory with a three-letter word, and posting… well… other weird things.
Take a look for yourself.
Just because the NHL lockout ended three months ago doesn’t mean that the channel Russia 2 is going to stop using Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in promos for Dynamo Moscow games. During the channel’s coverage of Sunday’s Manchester United/Chelsea game, Ovi and Nicky popped up in an animated promo at the bottom of the screen, encouraging viewers to watch the CSKA/Dynamo Moscow playoff series. Because they’ll be there! Er…