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Alex Ovechkin stays in Vancouver for Sochi handoff


(Jae C. Hong/AP)


Caps star Alex Ovechkin, hockey legend Vladislav Tretiak and figure skater Evgeni Plushenko were among those who represented Russia in the Vancouver Games' Closing Ceremony tonight. Ovechkin and his countrymen, wearing jackets with the phrase "See you in Sochi" emblazoned on the back, stood with young Russian children and waved to the crowd as the Olympic flag was lowered and presented to the hosts of the next Winter Games.

Ovechkin's Russians lost to Canada, 7-3, in the quarterfinals Wednesday, and teammates Semyon Varlamov and Alexander Semin have already returned to Washington. But Ovechkin, an ambassador for Russia's Sochi Games in 2014, stayed in Vancouver to represent his country.

While the NHL has yet to make a decision regarding its players' participation in the 2014 Olympics, Ovechkin has been one of the most outspoken athletes on the topic.

"Everybody wants to play, the Olympics is the biggest tournament in hockey, I think," he said in November. "The Olympics, it's only one year, you have only maybe one chance to play in the Olympic Games. If somebody says you can't play in the Olympic Games, it's going to be no good."

Commissioner Gary Bettman has made clear his stance on the Olympics, which risk injury to players and present virtually no reward to owners. He has also expressed concerns about the significant time difference in Russia, which would mean games will be played when many Americans are asleep.

The Olympics are important to Ovechkin not only because of his desire to represent Russia -- and win gold -- on home soil, but because it's family tradition. His mother, Tatiana, is a two-time Olympic champion in basketball.


(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  February 28, 2010; 10:03 PM ET
 | Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Olympics  
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Next: As Vancouver Games wrap up, Caps look ahead

Comments

OV is the Russian Pele.
Lets not forget that Caps fan.
We luv him but he is still Russian & I fully expect him to lead the Russian Federation in 2014.
Oh - After he has led the Caps to 4 Cups by then...

Posted by: Rocc00 | February 28, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

@Rocc00

Leading the Caps to 4 Cups. Sounds good to me.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 28, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

The main problem with Canada winning (and Crosby scoring the winning goal) is that now the media will fawn over Crosby even more than before.

Yes, Crosby is a good player. I'll admit that. But enough's enough.

He and the Pens will be even more insufferable if they win the Stanley Cup this year.

I'm making a vow. I will make a trip to the city of the next Eastern Conference team who eliminates the Pens from the Stanley Cup competition. And I will root for that team. (I will judiciously choose the opponent to be a team I would root against anyhow.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 28, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Wife saw Ovie's underwear band and thought that a no-no... thoughts?

Posted by: IzzySez | February 28, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

As annoyed as I am about the US losing to Team Canada (and Crosby), they did a great job to get as far as they did. I doubt that too many observers believed they'd be playing for Gold.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 28, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

don't think Ovie has done enough yet in his career to be compared to Pele... perhaps next decade but not yet

seeing Crosby score the Gold medal clinching goal should be enough of a motivation for Ovie to kick some butt over here between now and next olympics games.

Posted by: joek443 | February 28, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

For all the people who think that Crosby is a more class act than Ovi...

I wonder how mature and classy would Crosby act if he were on the losing side of an elimination game where the team lost in an embarrassing fashion.

This is the same guy that's been known to dive and to whine to the officials.

It's easy to be gracious to the press when you win. Or at least it's much easier to be gracious to other people, in general, when on the winning side than on the losing side.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 28, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

OV appears to be doing the Nazi Salute in that photo....

Posted by: Aldred15 | February 28, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

New update on the Caps prospects.

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/11907/capitals_top20_prospects_spring2010/

I agree with them and I think people are going a little crazy putting Holtby in the same class as Varly, Neuvy, Carlson, and Alzner.

Carslon and Varly are absolutely untouchable and Neuvy and Alzner are very close to being untoucable.

Other than that I think anyone else can be had for the right price.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 28, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter what Bettman, Leonsis, or anyone else says: Ovechkin will be in Sochi. Crosby should be there, too.

Posted by: caps1974 | February 28, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Uh Aldred15, no, that doesn't look like a Nazi salute. Really! REALLY. How ridiculous can someone be. In the Nazi salute the arm was extended to the front in a very rigid manner with the body held ramrod straight and upright. No smiles. I can tell you are no historian.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 28, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

If I remember correctly, Holtby actually has better stats than Varly and Neuvirth had last year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 28, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

if the NHL says no to Sochi and only the Russians and a few other Euros go over there and play, even if Russia wins the Gold as they should there will be plenty of critics who will say that they only won it because of the weak competition.

Ovie and the rest of his Russian team did a poor job in PR when they basically decided to keep their mouth shut. they can do whatever they want in 4 years but shouldn't their goal have been trying to convince the powers that be that these games are very important for the NHL?

Posted by: joek443 | February 28, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I think the NHL will be in Sochi too. The USA team would like another shot at the gold themselves. I came away with great appreciation for both Kane and Toews. Miller and Parise I already appreciated. I'm looking forward to our matchup with Chicago.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 28, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Holtby is promising but let's get him a stint at the NHL level first. He has been great at Hershey though.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 28, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

We recorded and just watched. Good thing it ran out of time before the medals were handed out. US still won the World Under 18 and WJC this year. 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Ryan Miller is officially my favorite non-Cap. Anyone else notive the entire American roster was named Ryan? Suter, Kesler, Malone, Miller, Bobby Ryan, B-Ryan Rafalski.

I thought Patrick Kane (probably middle name Ryan) was the best player in the game.

Niedermayer still has plenty, in contradiction to what was being said earlier. Pronger doesn't. And Yzerman is still an idiot for almost losing it for his country.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 28, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I was very impressed by Kane too. The kid is good.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 28, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

Stats are not always the best way to determine how good of a professional a player will be.

Alexander Giroux, Aucoin, and Bourque dominate the minors and put up enormous stats but that does not translate into NHL success for any of them.

While stats can be helpful in juding a player, there is so much more when judging a prospect.

This isn't to say Holyby won't end up becoming a very good goalie, he might. But it is meant to show what most scouts think of him and how much value he has as of today.

IMO, it is ridiculous to think of Holtby as untradeable.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 28, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

That Canadians had a Ryan on their roster as well -- Ryan Getzlaf.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 28, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3
Thanks for the link on the prospects. It's sad to see little Gus' stock sinking like a rock. I wonder how they rank the Caps farm system as #7. Given the depth in Hershey and some true elite prospects (Varlamov and Carlson at least, IMO), I doubt that there are 6 teams with a better set of prospects.

Posted by: zmega | February 28, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

And if I never hear Emrick again...too soon. Joe B is so much better.

I forgot Ryan Whitney and Ryan Callahan. That's 6 first names and one surname.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 28, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Yes, you're right in saying that goodness in the AHL does not always translate to goodness in the NHL.

On Holtby, I would like to see him have a chance in the NHL before I do a final evaluation on him.

I feel the jury is still out on which goalie is the Caps goalie of the future. I assume that Varly and Neuvy will battle it out next year and Holtby will start out at Hershey. (I figure he will have a few stints with the Caps since Neuvy and Varly have both had injury issues.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 28, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Let us know if you can find links to material listing out who the 5 teams having better prospects than us is.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 28, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

if some team wants Holtby in return for a player that the Caps want, he'll be gone... you only need one great goalie, don't need 3.

but I seriously doubt that there's a demand for a minor league goalie who has yet to play a game in the NHL, someone who wasn't highly touted even if he has done well in the AHL this year.

Posted by: joek443 | February 28, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Still not sure why ppl let a small guy like Crosby pot up or cycle freely down low.

That said, he plain ran away from Rafalski on that final goal.

& another reason I hate smallish offensive d-men like Rafa & Nedimayer (-2) on our team.

Posted by: Rocc00 | February 28, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

there have been plenty of "small" d-men who have done well in the NHL... Mark Howe who should be in the hall of fame wasn't that big, neither was Calle Johansson, neither is Lidstrom

why was Gretzky always so open? the man only scored a thousand goals in the NHL... can't anyone pay attention??

Posted by: joek443 | February 28, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Howe and McCrimmon, that was one of the best D-pairs that the Caps ever faced and neither was over 6 feet tall

Posted by: joek443 | February 28, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

Here is the link with the 6 teams ranked ahead of the Caps in prospects. The rankings of prospects came out in October. I think Carlson's play this year may boost up the Caps rankings some.

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/nhl_organisation_rankings/

Posted by: sgm3 | March 1, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

The trade deadline freeze has been lifted...let's hope the next 48-72 hours brings the Caps the missing pieces to getting the Cup this year...

Posted by: JDintheSD | March 1, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm a huge Ovie fan, love the Caps and all that... and I hate the Crosby whining and all the "class" stuff is silly...
But hey, is he a hell of a player or what?!?
Stanley Cup and Olympic gold by age 22, wow. I still think Ovie's ever-so-slightly better than he is, and I love Ovie's enthusiasm and attitude, but right now Crosby's got the most important hardware. Ovie, time to start catching up RIGHT NOW.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | March 1, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

@spunkydawg1

Ovechkin would love to catch up but it's not just up to him. Hockey is a team sport and unlike basketball, there are 17 players on the ice responsible for a team's success on any given night.

Crosby has had better teams, both in the NHL and in the Olympics.

Ovechkin is doing everything he can as an individual and will continue to do so.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 1, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Holtby is a trade able asset. Do people think other teams will just take our unwanted garbage? You have to give to get, and no GM is THAT stupid. The only thing players that are tradeable are assets people actually think will improve their team or cap space. To get a killer defense men for the run, something of value has to go the other way as well.

Posted by: hardyboys0 | March 1, 2010 2:05 AM | Report abuse

oooh Canada,hate Crosby and Canada.Condolences for USA young team.your team i think look better all tournament than Canada and others,Canada played good all play-offs ONLY FIRST PERIOD,next two was always blank ( sorry for my english ).Zack Parise and Ovechkin forever:)....WELCOME TO SOCHI TO DREAM FINAL USA-RUSSIA,Canada i hope will out in group stage :))).But congratulations for americans for your team with silver,it is not bad.Russia want sTANLEY CUP by Capitals

Posted by: ErwinoffRussia | March 1, 2010 2:24 AM | Report abuse

The biggest trade rumor seems to be the Caps trading Theodore and either Carlson or Marcus Johansson (playing in swedish elite league) and picks to Florida for Tomas Vokoun.

Vokoun's stats are impressive especially when you consider he has played with Nashville and Florida. His save percentage through last season is .915 with a 2.56 GAA. This season his save percentage is .930 even though his record is 19-21-10. At 33 he probably has a couple of good years left. I have no idea where he is as far as contract.

I know it is expected the Caps will have to give up something to get something. In my humble opinion giving up Carlson or Johansson is a mistake. They will both be NHL ready players next season. Impact players in my opinion as well. I would rather see the Caps give up draft picks with Theodore to get Vokoun. I just think the price, as advertised, is too high.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 1, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

The USA/Canada gold medal game has done more than anything in the past few years to increase interest in Hockey. The NHL should realize that and allow the stars to play in 4 years. Anything that helps hockey, helps the NHL. bottom line. People were watching that game yesterday, that have never watched a hockey game.

Posted by: RongCapsFan | March 1, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

In the moives or in a real photo, I have never seen a Nazi smile when saluting.
Are you a Millsbury, or Cherry fan?

Posted by: coastallp74 | March 1, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

If the NHL is still playing 82 games this season, how are NHL owners losing out? The recognition these players gets is actually a benefit to NHL teams. Obviously, Bettman and the NHL are not committing in order to bargain with the NHLPA. The NHL cannot afford to keep its players out of the Olympics, I say.

Posted by: Digitalman08 | March 1, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao: I agree that Ovie is the better player. He didn't lose the playoffs last season nor the Olympics all by himself as many have asserted. Hopefully he will win a Stanley Cup or hockey Gold one day, but his team mates have to want it as badly as he does...and play like it! Neither last season's Caps, nor the Russian Olympic team did.

Posted by: AmyS1 | March 1, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Its all fine and good so what crosby now has a hart trophy , stanley cup and gold medal. Ovie will eventually have 3 mvp and hopefully a cup but besdes that. yea crosby has one these things not just based because of crosby but i would like to think the reason he hoisted the cup faster then ovie is team wise pens team was more experienced and ahead of schedule then a very young capitals team with little veteran help. i would like to think that crosby where he did score the game winner was basically a ghst throughout the olympics with him i think only having 5 points to a loaded Canada roster. I guess trying to say for Crosby success there should be well and but . But if u look in the case of Ovie he is the Capitals u take him away yea they win a few games here and there but they dont get past the 1st round in the postseason. I do think Ovie will eventually win in Russia like Crosby did, but for everything said Ovie does more and has to then Crosby has to do

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | March 1, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I dreaded waking up this morning, afraid that they made Crosby President of the World or that he cured cancer and AIDS or even worse, that I woke up and I was him. =( When does the nightmare end, folks? Capitals, to the Stanley Cup finals please! Like NOW! =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 1, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

If the NHL says no to Sochi and the various franchise players from the different teams say they are going. What are the owners going to do, cut them? With regards to Corsby - did anyone notice how his playing style changed after the first game with team USA, where he was not hitting and kept trying to cherry-pick at the middle ice for goals? I bet he got his butt beat in the locker room after that game - he was hitting and playing hockey like it should be played after that.
I'm not betting against the NHL'ers going to Sochi - those guys will be there and the NHL will have not choice. If they ban those players from the NHL - there is the KHL now.

Posted by: MDL7 | March 1, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I loved the hockey tournament this year and I think that having the NHL players makes it that much better. Seeing teammates go at each other is great (except Orpik and Crosby who only go at it in the locker room).

The only downside to the whole tourney style is that it's really the only event in which the silver medalist is really a loser. They go out with a loss. I would almost rather win bronze than silver....at least you go out with a smile on your face. It was just really hard seeing the US team so down after an awesome tournament and even more awesome final game.

Oh and anyone else screaming at the TV when they dragged out giving Crosby his medal. I was like, "blah blah blah...put the f'ing medal on his neck already!!!"

Posted by: Rainier1 | March 1, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree with @AmyS1. How can Ovi achieve the Cup and Medals if his team mates do not want it as much or are not as talented. Crosby benefited from a GM and Owner that knew his talents and short comings and made the gamble to surround him with the missing pieces to finally achieve the Cup. In fact, Malkin was the sole driving force for the first Cup run before Crosby took over last year. In the Olympic, Crosby was "Surrounded" by the best Canadian (or hockey) team ever assembled, and his team mates basically carried him to the Final game in order for him to get the winning goal. Prior to that goal, I did not hear much of a peep from Crosby. I also did not forget that when Ovi and Crosby first came out together in the NHL, all the publicity was on Crosby but it was Ovi that worked harder got all the "hardwares" and awards initially. But Crosby did counter and got the last word by getting the Cup and the Gold. However, since both are great players, it is not in Ovi's nature (nor in Crosby's) to be out done, so the ball is now on Ovechkin's side! "Your move!"

Posted by: JohnWWW | March 1, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"Hey, I'm a huge Ovie fan, love the Caps and all that... and I hate the Crosby whining and all the "class" stuff is silly...But hey, is he a hell of a player or what?!?Stanley Cup and Olympic gold by age 22, wow. I still think Ovie's ever-so-slightly better than he is, and I love Ovie's enthusiasm and attitude, but right now Crosby's got the most important hardware. Ovie, time to start catching up RIGHT NOW."

I don't see why everyone hates crosby. he DOES have class. like you said, he has won all that in his young age, and I've NEVER heard him brag or boast about himself. He's a HUMBLE guy. at least you can recognize that he's talented and admire his achievements, unlike most crosby haters who dismiss his talent.

Posted by: anon1233 | March 2, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

oooh Canada,hate Crosby and Canada.Condolences for USA young team.your team i think look better all tournament than Canada and others,Canada played good "all play-offs ONLY FIRST PERIOD,next two was always blank ( sorry for my english ).Zack Parise and Ovechkin forever:)....WELCOME TO SOCHI TO DREAM FINAL USA-RUSSIA,Canada i hope will out in group stage :))).But congratulations for americans for your team with silver,it is not bad.Russia want sTANLEY CUP by Capitals"

HAHAHAHA don't be bitter after all the arrogance that the russians had. you like parise but hate canadians, that's funny since parise's father was a CANADIAN HOCKEY star. no wonder the kid's good, he has canadian blood running through his veins. hopefully it's a CANADA-RUSSIA final in sochi.

Posted by: anon1233 | March 2, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

to the russian who likes parise but hates canadians--newsflash, parise's father is CANADIAN. he played for team canada. no wonder the kid's amazing, with that canadian blood running through his veins.

Posted by: anon1233 | March 2, 2010 1:34 AM | Report abuse

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