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 NYTimes.com:
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."
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