Team Russia and Alex Ovechkin in Five Charts

Russia

Photo: RIA Novosti

I think Team Russia is fascinating. Scoring just eleven goals in their first four games, the much-ballyhooed offense of the home team hasn’t really shown up yet– especially from their NHL stars. After a brilliant start with back-to-back goals by Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin in game one, Russia broke up its top line, sending Alex Semin to the dreaded checking assignments of the bottom six. The team’s power play, meanwhile, has converted just two of its 13 chances despite having a handful of the best offensive players in the world.

To most observers, Russia has been a disappointment. They’re still very much alive, playing Finland at 7:30 am on Wednesday, but what they’ve shown us so far isn’t what we were promised. Of course, four games is a measly sample– particularly when measuring rare events like goals and power plays. While there aren’t a lot of data available, let’s take a big old grain of salt and play with them anyway.

I don’t really have an agenda in sharing this stuff. I looked it up because I was curious; I thought you might be too.

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Team Sweden’s Off Day in Photos

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Backstrom and Mojo, whatta pic. (Photo: @ErikKarlsson65)

Caps Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson and the rest of Team Sweden were busy on their day off. On Monday, the players traveled to the neighboring mountains in Krasnaya Polyana to watch Sweden win the Cross-Country men’s relay.

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Ovi-AP

Photo: AP

And down they drop! Tuesday was the first day of elimination in the Olympic mens tournament, meaning lots of high stakes and desperate players. More importantly, the recaps will be easier from here on out because there will be fewer games. Maybe that’s not more important for you, but it is for me.

Peace out, Austria. Adios, Norway. Keep it real, Slovakia. YOLO, Switzerland.

Let’s do the recap.

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ovechkin-lays-out-on-shot

Photo: Winslow Townson

Team Russia defeated Norway 4-0 on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals tomorrow against Finland. Despite leading his countrymen in shots again today (4), Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin did not score. He hasn’t tallied since Russia’s first game and first goal of the Olympics against Slovenia – a drought of three games – though he leads all of Team Russia in shots fired (21).

Ovechkin spoke after the game to RBC.ru and was asked about the lack of goal scoring. He also had intense words about playing Finland.

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Caps Players Share Their Olympic Vacation Plans (Video)

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Moar jokes from these two!

Before the Washington Capitals left for Olympic break, I asked the non-Olympian players what their predictions were for Sochi. That was great, but I also asked them where they were going on vacation.

Some players were heading home, some were heading back to Hershey, and then others — whom I will not name — might have fibbed a bit about where they were actually going.

Check it out.

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butt-check

After the Brooks Laich dating Julianne Hough news, the only natural follow-up is an article dedicated to  butt-checking.

Yes, during Sunday’s game between Russia and Slovakia, Slovak goaltender Jan Laco left the puck for a defenseman behind the net. Unfortunately for him, Alexi Tereshenko hustled and messed up those plans, sending the goaltender into an existential crisis: Should he go back to the net and defend against a possible wraparound? Or should he try to obstruct Tereshenko?

Laco picked option B. It started off subtle. Then it got really, really unsubtle. Laco sent Teresheko into the boards. With his booty.

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ovi-duck-lips

Ovi does duck lips like an Instagram selfie. #girlsweekend #seacrets  #lovemylittle (Photo: RIA Novosti)

No stupid stat snapshot today, so all you nerds can go play D&D.

Sunday’s hockey schedule didn’t stand a chance of matching yesterday’s operatic levels of excitement. The USA’s Phil-acrity was too much for an inspiring and inspired Slovenian crew. Russia squeaked a win out of a really deflated effort against Slovakia. The Finns nearly exsanguinated the Canadian offense, but couldn’t get the win. And I didn’t even know Austria and Norway were playing.

With these games in the books, we now look towards the next round. Prepare for seedings, brackets, elimination games, and the pressure getting amped up to UNHEALTHY.

But first, let’s do the recap.

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Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Photo: Jeff Vinnick/HHOF-IIHF Images

Yesterday, after the United States beat Team Russia in the shootout 3-2, there was a handshake line — which let’s all agree is one of the best traditions in hockey. During the Sochi Olympics, opposing players have high-fived each other at the conclusion of every preliminary round game, an act normally reserved for elimination.

Because of this, we get to see what I’m going to ahead now and declare the second best Caps related photo of the Olympics (Nicky and Mojo biking together will always be first). Here, wonderfully captured by the IIHF’s Jeff Vinnick, John Carlson and Alex Ovechkin shake hands after the game. They look amused.

Thanks to Morgan M. for instagramming the photo, and @MikeBradley27 for originally posting.

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Backstrom hug

Photo via gfhockey

Team Sweden survived a challenge from Latvia on Saturday, winning 5-3 to finish the preliminary round undefeated. But it wasn’t easy.

In the second period, Sweden actually trailed 2-1 until Nicklas Backstrom and Erik Karlsson connected on another power play goal.

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carlson-datsyuk

Photo: Streeter Lecka

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson scored the United States’ first goal of the Olympic tournament Thursday. Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma had a lot of great things to say about him.

“I thought to get our feet underneath us, especially those young guys on defense, I thought they played large,” Blysma said to NBC. “We have Paul Martin and [Ryan] Suter back there, but Cam Fowler and John Carlson in particular, and Ryan McDonagh, played well on the back side.”

He also said it was “fitting” that Carlson scored the first goal.

But boy can things change in a hurry.

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