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Morning Reading List: Will Ovie Win Back-to-Backs?

Caps superstar and reigning MVP Alex Ovechkin is on the verge of becoming the sixth player in NHL history to win back-to-back Lester B. Pearson Awards. Below is a nice fluffy feature story from the NHL Players' Association on what the feat would mean for Ovechkin and his teammates. Give me a break -- it's Friday.


"The only way you can describe Alex is that he is a freak of nature," said teammate, defenceman Brian Pothier. "The way he plays hockey, the way he lives life, he's an amazing athlete and an amazing person."
A player, in Pothier's estimation, who will continue to dominate for years to come.
"I keep waiting for him to burn out," said Pothier, of the forward who recorded 112 points in 2007-08, en route to winning his first Pearson. "We get to the 60th game of the year and I think, 'He's going to slow down.' But he doesn't. And then he just seems to get better and better. It baffles me as to how he's able to do what he does."

Some other assorted links:

* The Bears are promising that Giant Center will be rocking as their series with the Manitoba Moose shifts to Hershey for Games 3-5. From the Vancouver Sun:

"It'll be loud here too," [Coach Bob] Woods said in a telephone interview yesterday from Hershey, Pa. "It's a smaller building and only holds 10,800 but it will be jam-packed and they've been around a long time, so they're pretty knowledgeable fans and they love their playoff hockey. The guys who haven't experienced hockey in Hershey will see that it's a pretty fun environment as well."

Tarik will be at Games 3 and 4 this weekend to work on a feature story, so keep an eye out for that.

* The Pens stormed back from a two-games-to-none deficit to even up their series with the Red Wings, and this Stanley Cup final is not looking good for Detroit, says Free Press columnist Mitch Albom:

This is not good. I don't want to say signs are ominous, but if the Red Wings passed a fortune teller right now, they would hide their palms in their pockets. The stars came out for the Penguins on Thursday night, and it is officially no longer last year anymore.
Last year, the Stanley Cup finals were never tied. Last year, the only team with a chance to win in six was the Wings. Last year, Sidney Crosby seemed a lot younger, and Evgeni Malkin seemed like just one man, instead of the five he looked like in Game 4 -- here, there, everywhere.

* The 4-2 Game 4 victory erased any doubt the Pens might have had. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"We won this one because we believe," forward Max Talbot said.
They certainly have good reason to. They not only have beaten the Red Wings twice in a row, but have gotten two excellent games in a row from goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who turned aside 37 of 39 shots last night, and continue to dominate the special-teams battle.

* Steve Yzerman has some tough choices to make for Canada's 2010 Olympic team.

* NBC goes back inside the glass. From

NBC's production of Olympic hockey next February in Vancouver will include its "Inside the Glass" feature, with Pierre McGuire analyzing games from between the teams' benches. It has been a part of the network's N.H.L. coverage since 2006.
"Pierre makes it work at a level above anyone else," said David Neal, the executive vice president of NBC Olympics. "He has a vast knowledge of the sport, so he can read and interpret the snippets of conversations that he hears between coaches and players, and their body language. It's not a reporter's position, but a third voice in the game. Our viewers have come to expect it."

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  June 5, 2009; 9:42 AM ET
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I hope the Red Wings & Stingrays can reverse the momentum.

Bears Woo!

Posted by: uncatim | June 5, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Go Ovie!!

Posted by: whiteltng | June 5, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who has morning sickness after watching that sporting event in Pittsburgh last night? I seriously cannot bear to think of how officous fans of teams in that foresaken city will act if the Penguins pull this off just months after the Steelers win the Super Bowl. Ugh, I'm wretching at my desk. Does anyone have a flux capacitor and a DeLorean handy? I'm willing to go back in time and seduce Crosby's mom the night she was to conceive that wretch. This is all dependent on time travel operating under Back to the Future theories and not Terminator theories. For, if it were to be Terminator theory of time travel, that would make me Crosby's father... the horror, the horror.

Posted by: Matt23185 | June 5, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

As much as I love OV, I must say that I have new appreciation for the skills of Malkin (and to a leser extent, Crosby), since watching them in the playoffs. I may hate watching them win, but I must admit I like watching them play.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | June 5, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Pierre McGuire makes every hockey game he's part of completely unwatchable.

Posted by: spacecadetkid | June 5, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: thiazzi | June 5, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

It's 2-2 and Detroit hasn't yet played with its best player. I wouldn't lose faith that quickly in the Red Wings. They've largely been able to neutralize Crosby at home, but weren't able to do it on the road. In this series, I think home ice is huge because of the last change, and that's why I still think the Wings win this thing, even if it means it goes seven games.

Posted by: CDon | June 5, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I fully agree about McGuire... I was really hoping he would get the Minnesota GM job just to get him off the airwaves. Apparently some network clowns love him though :(

If I hear him say "Edzo" one more time I'm gonna slit my wrists.

Posted by: chombie13 | June 5, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

McGuire getting his own special hcokey show at the olympics is ebough to make me move to Canada for thsoe tow weeks and watch the CBC coverage, just so I don't have to listen to him.

Is anyone else curious as to how the Penguins have made it this far without any apparent serious injuries, or even slowing down? I mean, if I was inclined to conspiracy theories, I might start wonder if maybe the accusation that the Capitals are doing steorids is all a big smoke screen to hide which team the wannabe Victor Conte is selling to. Just saying....

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 5, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe the crack crew on VS/NBC is not even trying to pretend they aren't cheering for Pittsburgh. The offsides that was finally shown near the end of the first period by that failure of a coach Olyzyk (probably found by the broadcast crew in the truck) is just another of example of the guys working the game wearing Penguins blinders because it was obvious when it happened. I have a DVR so as soon as I saw them enter the zone on the PP I said it was offsides, my sons and I rewound the play, did it slow-mo and it showed that Letang (standing to the left of the official, in the darn zone, on the same side of the ice) was waaaaaaaay off-side. The puck never again cleared the zone before Malkin put it in. If the offsides is called, the whistle is blown, and the play doesn't happen. They also made like of Cooke completely freight training Lidstrom because Cooke "thought" Lidstrom was playing the puck but Osgood had it a good 5 feet away from the play and pushed it to the other side of the zone. Sorry it was interference or boarding, not a smart-a comment as you break to a commercial by doc emerick that "Lidstrom thought it should have been a penalty" IT WAS A PENALTY. They also joked when Helm had his legs kicked out from under him after the puck in by a Pen "doing a great back-checking job." Nope, again, IT WAS A PENALTY, tripping or interference, you pick.

Now the Pens did have a phenomenal 6 minute stretch in the 2nd. What continues to make me sick is Crosby's unwillingness to point out his team mates. Post game he was asked about the turning point. The right answer, even though like many of you I can't stand the Pens, was that Malkin decided to put it into another gear after his penalty, PERIOD. Crosby just refuses to give Malkin his props. Crosby always says "we" which is nice, except when you should give certain guys their due. Since round 3, Malkin has been the man for the Pens.

Posted by: fanohock1 | June 5, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Fortunately the cable went out yesterday just around when I got home from work (t-storm). I went to sleep around 10 and it was still off. Came back at 10:30 the wife said. Had no clue about the game, since the internet comes through the cable line, until this morning. If it had been Caps in the finals, I would have freaked.

Posted by: tominfl1 | June 5, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Crosby never gives anyone their due. When the opposing team amkes a crazy play, like, say, avrly's amazing stick save, he goes out fo his way to not compliment that player,a nd in Varly's case, wouldn't even say his name.

He's a self cenetered little dink if I ever saw one. I'd kill to know what his former teammates (and heck, his current teammates!) say about him.

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 5, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Why is everyone up in arms about the officiating, we've all know it was average at best all season, and steadily worse (as in inconsistant)as the playoffs began/progressed. That brings me to a question I meant to ask yesterday, if anyone can answer me (beat reporters included), How does the NHL choose its playoff officiating crews? I know in the NFL at the end of the regular season the officiating office reviews every officiating team's performance and puts the top ranked crews into playoff games. As the rounds progress they are reviewed again so the "best" crew gets to keep officiating. Does the NHL have a similar policy?

Posted by: superpaqman | June 5, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Everything having to do with NHL officiating is pretty opaque. Best guess at how the choose post-season crews? Draw names out of a hat.

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 5, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: oo7 | June 5, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

RedBirdie @ fanohock1:

Crosby seemed very ungacious to me as well, going out of his way not to say anything positive about Varly and others when they had exceptional games. Part of the unwritten culture seems to be for players to acknowledge others' skills even if they are rivals. I am always amazed at how generous losing teams are about the talents of those who defeated them. BB's and our players' comments about the Pens in game 7 is a case in point. Crosby sticks out as an exception, going out of his way to minimize others' efforts. I don't know how Malkin can stand it.

How depressing that the Pens won last night. They and the press, of course, act as if they already won the series which will make a loss sweet.

So far Detroit, for all its superiority over the Caps, has not fared any better than them. Their score is the same as ours at the end of four games. I don't know whether to admire the Pens for creating and sustaining such momentum, or admire the Caps for having played so well against them. Let's see what happens Saturday. Any guesses?

Posted by: caraveli | June 5, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Pierre McGuire sux.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | June 5, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear the Post is springing for Tarik to head for Hershey this weekend (if it didn't make him hitch)--too bad it couldn't fund extravaganzas to far-off Pittsburgh and Detroit, let alone an exotic locale like Winnipeg. Sad to see hockey's back in its usual place, consigned to AP wrap-ups. Keep fighting the good fight, Tarik!

Posted by: jhershb | June 5, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse


I totally agree with you on both counts: VS commentators love Crosby, and he's a jerk who refuses to admit when other players are better.

My favorite part last night (and by 'favorite part,' I mean 'part that made me angry') was when Crosby scored that tap-in goal off of Malkin's rush and pass in front of the crease, and the VS commentators during the intermission were talking about how "Crosby's back - he's on fire!" ...Really? Fire??

I *almost feel bad for Malkin, not getting as much attention as he deserves. Granted - I don't care for him, but he has been playing ridiculously well...and Crosby's the one who's on fire?

And I was so angry when Crosby refused to even attempt to say Varly's name during his post-game interview after The Save. I disliked him as a player because of all the hype he gets and the comparisons to Ovi, but I actually began to dislike him as a person after that interview. All that crap about him being so humble and gracious is...well...crap.

Posted by: KellyinDC | June 5, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

people like to say Crosby has the personality of tofu, but I think that's rather insulting to tofu. Really, Crosby has the personality of a self-centered coddled child who has been told since he was born he's just the greatest thing ever and there's no way anyone could ever be as wonderful as him.

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 5, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

pierre mcguire is TERRIBLE...almost as bad as eddie olczyk

Posted by: nwilson2 | June 5, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse


my understanding is Crosby isn't the most well-liked guy by his teammates. in fact, he was one of the reasons that ziggy palffy didn't even last one season in pittsburgh after the lockout.

Posted by: nwilson2 | June 5, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

The shallowness that is Crosby...I wonder why Paris Hilton hasn't tapped that yet. She's inclined to date people just for the attention. So why not Crosby?

Oops. Just another thing for Crosby to feel sorry for himself about.

Goo, Redwings! Go Bears! Go Stingrays! Go, Ovi and Green!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | June 5, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

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