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'I don't care if he's Russian or Canadian'

I wasn't able to squeeze the whole Alex Ovechkin vs. Evgeni Malkin angle into my gamer (that's what happens when you combine a late start with 10 goals, a Plexiglass problem and a shootout).

But Ovechkin had some interesting things to say about trying to crush his friend and fellow Russian with shoulder check late in the first period. As it turned out, Ovechkin absorbed the brunt of the collision, and slammed sideways into the boards. The countrymen also exchanged some shoves at the next whistle.

Ovechkin's lip was left bleeding. But he was also smiling after the Caps' come-from-behind 6-5 shootout win. Both Ovechkin and Malkin had two goals and an assist.

"It's a game," Ovechkin said, shrugging. "It's a big game for us. A big two points. If I didn't hit him behind the net, maybe he scores goal. Then maybe my teammates ask me, 'Why you don't hit him?'

"I don't care if he's Russian or Canadian."

And you thought Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby had a pretty good rivalry going. This one might be just as entertaining.

Note: I'm also told that Nicklas Backstrom's performance tonight marked the first time in NHL history that a rookie recorded four assists in back-to-back games, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Update:The Caps are scheduled to practice today at 2 p.m. at ACC. Barring a snow delay -- it's coming down hard in Pittsburgh -- I'll make it there on time and file another update around 3 or so.

Update:One more thing before I get on the plane. TSN.ca is reporting that the Leafs may be about to undergo a management shakeup.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 21, 2008; 11:58 PM ET
 
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