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Ovechkin leads defending champ Russia at worlds


Alex Ovechkin attends a training session in Novogorsk outside Moscow on May 6. (Denis Sinyakov/Reuters)


While fans in D.C. continue to lament the Capitals' first-round exit from the playoffs, Alex Ovechkin has moved on to his next task: defending Russia's world title. From the AP:

The worlds mark Ovechkin's last chance this season to win a title. Last week, he and his top-seeded Capitals were bounced from the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens. And in February, Ovechkin and Russia were beaten by Canada in the Olympic quarterfinals -- Ovechkin's second failed bid for an Olympic medal after fourth-place finish in 2006.
"The world championship is a tournament on another level," Ovechkin told Sovietsky Sport newspaper. "We're going to Germany to defend the title. We want to prove that the defeat in Vancouver to the Canadians was an accident. Well, not that accidental. But it does not mean that Canada will always be stronger than the Russians." Ovechkin said Russia's revenge for losing to Canada at the Vancouver Olympics will come at the 2014 Sochi Games, not at the worlds.

Click here for the full story.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 6, 2010; 12:54 PM ET
 
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Comments

I know Alex loves his country, but he should sit out the Worlds until Team Russia gets its act together. (In other words, dumping the KHL rejects and a coaching staff that realizes that it's not 1972 anymore and they're not coaching the Red Army team.)

Posted by: spacecadetkid | May 6, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, this will make up for the Olympics and the playoffs. This is totally lame and will only get worse when he attempts to make it at all meaningful.

Posted by: TCJR2000 | May 6, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Obviously OV has a lot of national pride, something spacecadetkid & TCJR2000 don't seem know a whole lot about. In Europe, kids grow up dreaming about playing for their country, not a pro club team. When pro players hit their late 20s, they tend to get a little jaded and start declining the Worlds but let's not judge OV because he loves playing for his country. In fact, we could use more of that pride and loyalty in this country.

Posted by: jakopz | May 6, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if these games will be streamed online.

Posted by: Fro_ | May 6, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Got no problem with it just the worry of decreased rest and possibility of injury.

Ovechkin will be fine. However, that other Russian, yeah, Semin, hopefully he finds some of that intensity he was clearly lacking in the Montreal series - for his sake at least.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | May 6, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Got no problem with it just the worry of decreased rest and possibility of injury.

Ovechkin will be fine. However, that other Russian, yeah, Semin, hopefully he finds some of that intensity he was clearly lacking in the Montreal series - for his sake at least.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | May 6, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't say guys who decline invitations lack national pride. Much as some countries try to make it so, you can hardly call the Worlds a top-level tournament when most of the top-level talent either decline invites or are unable to attend. The WCs have always conflicted with the NHL playoffs, a big part of the reason the US has never done much in this tourny.

That said, I have no problem with AO playing - if that was truly what he felt was the best use of his limited downtime. Vlad the Impaler isn't known for his subtle touch, I don't think. The NHL season is long enough, never mind in an Olympic year for top-tier guys who make their national team. I find it telling that only one guy from Canada and one from Team USA accepted invites. I certainly don't think any less of Zach Parise, Ryan Miller, Dustin Brown or Paul Stastny for declining invitations, that's for damn sure.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 6, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

I agree. Different things are more or less important to different individuals. Ovie clearly thinks highly of playing in these games, which is absolutely fine. It is also fine for other players not to play in them.

I don't think more or less of any of them. My only hope is that Ovie doesn't get seriously injured.

Is Volchenkov going? If so, maybe Ovie can do some persuading.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 6, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't think any fair-minded person would criticize a player for skipping this tournament after he played in the Olympics just a few months earlier... this is kinda redundant.

Posted by: joek443 | May 6, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

@sgm - wow, hadn't thought of the V-train angle - now, that alone might be reason enough for going! ;-)

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 6, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It hasn't been a top tourny in decades but to countries such as Sweden, Russia, Finland, Slovakia etc, this is as good as it gets because every game is aired live on prime network slots. Declines are still frowned upon because the consensus is that the players "owes" its country to show up and play. In fact, my mom (still lives in Sweden)called me last night and voiced her displeasure regarding Backs' no show. No kidding.

Posted by: jakopz | May 6, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@Fro_

Never used this before, and I don't know if it streams for free, but check this link:

http://www.universalsports.com/ice-hockey/index.html

Posted by: tess2201 | May 6, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

What is suprising is that Kovalchuk is playing even though he is a free agent. That is a lot of money he is risking by playing.

I think that goes to show how much more important these games are to Russia than North Americans. Not right or wrong, just different.

But Kovalchuk playing without a contract may go to show that playing, and winning, is more important to these players than we often give them credit for. IMO, that is a better sign of desire to win than diving to block a puck. Kovalchuk is taking a significant risk.

Admittedly, if I was in Kovalchuk's position I wouldn't play and risk my big pay day.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 6, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

worlds are a joke since most of the best arent there....ov is more pumped about it than the playoffs cause he wont have gill to block all his shots

Posted by: dshowler | May 6, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Now that Ovechkin's on board, can we bet against Russia?

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 6, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

In a more sane hockey world, the NHL would come to some kind of accommodation with the international game. Rather than an Olympics, there would better be a quadrennial World Cup and a slightly shortened season that year to prevent injury and blowout. It would make the most sense to have the tournament either very early in the season or during training camp.

Also, I think a fair rule would be that teams can loan their players to their country's federation for one tournament per year. Thus, Ovie could play in Olympics or Worlds, but not both. I think it's absurd that he's going, he needs the rest.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | May 6, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@RedLitYogi

It's May. The next season doesn't start until October. I think that is plenty of time to rest.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 6, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I can only imagine that all of a sudden all our Russian Capitals will find that missed scoring touch.Its not a far reach to think that OV wanted to be in Russia more than to playin the sc to save face over the Olypmic debacle...

Posted by: jp14710 | May 6, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@jakopz - I know, I lived in Sweden for a couple years and my buddies all gave me crap when the US inevitably tanked in the Worlds [even telling me the US intentionally threw a game against Canada one year, which I tried to explain was something that no American hockey I've ever known would ever even contemplate, and certainly to a Canadian team!]. I realize it's a big deal, and I do hope for guys that had tough seasons or didn't make their Olympic teams, this is a chance to make their countries proud.

@sgm - good point about Kovalchuk, you have to admire that. He's putting a ton - literally - of money on the table. I think he'll also be under enormous pressure to play in the KHL this year.

@Redlit - that's a great point. Some of these guys will play over 100 hockey games this year, at the highest level. That's just too many - never mind the emotional and physical toll; some of these guys were practically accused of betrayal when the Olypmics didn't turn out as expected. Give me a freaking break, it's a hockey game, the other guys are pretty damn good too.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 6, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Btw, this is also a big showcase for aspiring NHLers - I believe 4 players on the Swedish D is 19 or younger. There are also quite a few players from KHL pitching to play in the NHL. Linus Omark on the Swedish squad was just signed by the Oilers. Linus is mostly known for the sickest penalty shot I've ever seen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHTa7zYTDWQ

Posted by: jakopz | May 6, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

The game should be on channel 207 (WRCDT 3) if you have Comcast digital in DC at 2pm on Sunday.

Posted by: hrc2211 | May 6, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

get over it Ovie. i hope Canada wins it all. Team Russia stinks

Posted by: doughless | May 6, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

@jakopz

That is definitely a very sick penalty shot. LOL!

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 6, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Yawn....Varsity playing JV

Posted by: jackstraaw | May 7, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Is there a regular season? If so, Ovechkin will clean up.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 7, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Just putting a thought out here..we know Russia takes sports competition seriously, especially there Hockey team, and the next winter olympics and all the changes that were recently made on there side....
Do you Think for a moment that Semins lack of productivity and Ovie's individual and also lack of spite at certain times could be linked to pressure for them to be free for this competition and play for Team Russia??????

just a thought...

Posted by: Pedro01 | May 7, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Pedro01 It is absurd to think they were under pressure to be free for Team Russia. Semin and Ovi won this competition unlike SC. No one can/will manipulate players. SC is regarded as serious competition all over the world, after Olimpic games.

doughless, stop whining!

Posted by: alsin7 | May 8, 2010 2:34 AM | Report abuse

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