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Ovechkin, Semin, Varlamov attend Russia's first practice at Canada Hockey Place

Alexes Ovechkin and Semin flank ex-teammate Sergei Fedorov. (Photo by Slava Malamud)

Team Russia held its first practice yesterday at Canada Hockey Place, and Sport-Express' Slava Malamud chatted with the Caps contingent afterward. Here's a sample of what they had to say:

Alex Ovechkin on the media scrum around him: "I don't know why they meet me like this. I am not the president or anything."

Alexander Semin: "All of the five Washington players [with ex-teammates Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov] were on the ice together. This is how it should be."

Semyon Varlamov: "We may try to figure out something more interesting with the food. It's not top-notch here. Some of the guys ended up going to McDonald's. I don't mean to complain, it's just my first impression after visiting the cafeteria."

Read the full post over on our Olympics blog, Heavy Medal.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  February 15, 2010; 7:43 AM ET
 | Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Olympics, Semyon Varlamov  
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Next: Alex Ovechkin's skates


I'm so torn -- Team USA or Russia? I love what OV and a lot of the Russians bring to hockey, but having been a tween in 1980, I still have pangs for another "Miracle on Ice", except now the Canadians are the Soviets. I hope Canada does not medal -- spurning Green and loving on Crosby, screw Yzerman and the Canadians. I also think Yzerman built a team that mimics a 90's clutch and grab team -- no thanks, let these guys skate, pass, and shoot without interference and cheap shots.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 15, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I want the Canadians in last place and the Jagr-led Czechs in next-to-last. I hate Orpik so best I can do for USA is 3rd, with Backie and Sweden #2 and Ovi #1.

Too bad Fedorov can't be that extra center for the Playoffs.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 15, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse


I hadn't even thought of that!! Could we get him on loan? That would be sooooo AWESOME!

Posted by: capscoach | February 15, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Tom, Good points -- I can't stand Oprik either, being such a dirty player, who blames people who hooks, holds, and interferes for his penalty (see Sasha). And getting Feds back for center to replace BrMo -- that'd be sublime. Feds is awesome on pk, awesome defensive play, great clutch playoff presence and scoring. Feds would push the Caps into Cup favorites along with a good pk, gritty, smart defender. The Caps must address their woeful pk to be serious cup contenders.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 15, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

*whom he hooks, etc

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 15, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS1 & tominfl1

I'm with you guys on Orpik who I call Orprick and who other people have some other choice nicknames for, as well.

Orpik is one of the main reasons I'm less excited about the American cast of characters than normal.

I feel that rooting for Orpik is somewhat akin to rooting for the kids who had bullied and/or spread nasty gossip about my own kids.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 15, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I have to root or my country first, then team Caps, then anyone who plays the team canada.

I think bringing back Feds would be a mistake (unless he is vastly improved from last season). He is just a shadow of what he once was. Other than him scoring the Game winner and being a good team guy, he didnt give us too much more. He wasent a savior for the PK last season.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | February 15, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

feds is like that old girlfriend(boyfriend) you dumped a year ago. you start thinking about the good times you had and wonder if it would be a good idea to get back together. they you remember why you broke up...she was too expensive and not quite as young and spry as you remember. she had her moments that made you say "wow" but they became too few and far between. then you realize there are younger and cheaper options out there.

just like feds.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | February 15, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1: The analogy may be a little strained but your basic point is exactly right. If we could have the 29 year old Feds (or probably even the 35 year Feds) we would be in great shape. But, Feds running on fumes (like at the end of last year) isn't an upgrade over BMo apparently running on fumes.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | February 15, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Here is my question to the board, when Rus plays SWE and OV has nicky lined up for a big hit, does he take it? And Vice Versa will Nicky given the chance pay out know OV will and then smile that gap tooth grin at Backs.

Posted by: RichC3 | February 15, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

@RichC3: Good question. Here's my thought on it. First, there is not very much hitting in the Olympics and in general it is not done with the same kind of ferocity you see in the NHL. Second, Ovi clearly has shown lately that he has the ability to vary the intensity of his checks. My guess is that there may never be a situation in which Ovi feels he needs to hit Backie and that even if there is he gives him a love tap.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | February 15, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The thing with Feds, we don't know how hard he's had to play this year in Russia. If he's taken it easy, and we bring him in here March 3rd, and ease him into the lineup, 12-15 mins a game (and not forcing him back on defense), he might have plenty for Playoffs.

Remember, he had an ankle injury last year that never really recovered.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 15, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I think Ovie would take the body on Backs but not necessarly hit like we know he hits. Backs is pretty good at avoiding major hits, so I don't think it will come to that....hope not anyway.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | February 15, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Not to rain on this lovefest, but is anyone else a little miffed/worried that the NHL has yet to comment on the Jannsen hit on Bradley? Its been 2 days now. I know we r on the Olympic break, but come on.

Posted by: jmurray019 | February 15, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse


I am annoyed that there's no news about any discipline for Jannen, which leads me to wonder if anything will happen at all.

In my humble opinion, his hit was worse than the ones that Ovi and Green got suspended for.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 15, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I was just thinking about the lack of an announcement on Janssen. Maybe there's delay because of the Olympic break. But if they let him off with nothing, I hope that all those who criticize the paranoia of the Caps fans will just shut up.

Posted by: zmega | February 15, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Re: Ovi and Nicky at the Olympics

Reposting something I posted yesterday on a prior thread:

It's not a great translation...

Forward team of Sweden Nicklas Backstrom admitted that he was slightly afraid of meeting with his mate from the "Washington" by Alexander Ovechkin during the Olympics-2010.

"Ovechkin will do absolutely everything to win the match. If it will be possible, he must apply the power reception at my address. Alex I already said. At the 2006 World Championships in Riga, I pushed him in the first period, as Ovechkin recently reminded me. I asked him: "Why the hell do you think about this still remember?". I forgot about the receptions of power rather quickly, and at Ovey damn good memory "- Backstrom said in an interview with Aftonbladet.

Posted by: tess2201 | February 14, 2010 12:52 PM |

Posted by: tess2201 | February 15, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Semyon Varlamov: "We may try to figure out something more interesting with the food. It's not top-notch here. Some of the guys ended up going to McDonald's. I don't mean to complain, it's just my first impression after visiting the cafeteria."


Comments like this make me think Varly has lived a very charmed life. Has he ever struggled a day in his life? He's obviously never gone to college and been broke for a large amount of time.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | February 15, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse


Maybe, but he sounds no different than my freshman son at W&M who would rather eat at WaWa than the dorm (though we remind him frequently that his food is paid for).

Complaining about the food in a dorm situation is absolutely par for the course. I even mentioned it last night to my 16-year-old son because I remember during past Olympics many athletes complaining about the food in the Olympic Village. I was wondering how our highly-paid Caps would take to it. I guess NOT!

Posted by: Steakum | February 15, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Janssen's disciplinary hearing has been delayed because he has a planned vacation! Can you believe the NHL? Bradley has a trip planned too - to the neurologist's office.

Posted by: zmega | February 15, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

So why has there been no news on Janssen! This is CRAZY suspend that a**hole

Posted by: capscoach | February 15, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I think men's hockey will be the marquee event of the Oly's. Someone told me derisively that it was just going to be an all-star game. Hardly. There is no checking in the all-star game and few really care. This will be hard fought. Maybe the checking won't be as hard as in the NHL, but come the later rounds, when things really start getting serious, that may change.

I will be rooting for the US, but if it comes down to a US/Russia final, I'll be going with Ovi and Semin and Varly. After all, I don't have a Parise jersey.

Posted by: rjma1 | February 15, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

What I want to happen is when Russia plays Canada, Malkin slewfoots Crosby.

Posted by: dfe1 | February 15, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

There has been some news about the hit.

TSNBobMcKenzie Cam Janssen will face NHL discipline for late hit on Matt Bradley. James Neal NOT expected to be disciplined for hit on Petr Prucha.
5:44 AM Feb 14th from UberTwitter

Now what I don't know is if "discipline" is a suspension or a fine that no one will ever hear about.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 15, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

zmega: Wonder where a goon like Janssen goes for vacation.

Probably some place like the Bronx.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 15, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse


Janssen has a two week reservation at Leavenworth. Room with a view to the prison yard and time to catch up with his peers.

Posted by: AADCDERM | February 15, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually willing to bet Varly will see action in game 1 against latvia. after running up, like, 6 goals in the first period.

Posted by: j762 | February 15, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse


Or is it at Alcatraz?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 15, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse


I think Leavenworth is where he should be-Kansas is closer to Missouri than is California and the goon doesn't deserve to have a room with a water view ;-)

Posted by: AADCDERM | February 15, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Janssen signed up for the two-week "Federal Penitentiary Tour." You know, the one you've seen as "Big Deal of the Day" on "Let's Make a Deal." (Is Monte Hall still on? I'll bet he's as old as Bob Barker.)

Here's the list. You get to pick any five you want to visit:

(Note: Hand cuffs and night stick not included.)

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 15, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse


Wow! So many NHL goons and so many choices of penitentiaries. Maybe Colin Campbell needs to review his options for suspending goon hits-a fine plus 3-5 days in the Pen! Dirty players would be able to see societies real goons in action. How about we call it the Ultimate Sin Bin!

Posted by: AADCDERM | February 15, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

After a few days as "part of the population," these NHL goons would return to action as new and different men.

Needless to say, "five minutes for spearing" would have a way new meaning. So would "knee on knee contact" and "high sticking."

I believe the list of repeat offenders would shrink instantly.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 15, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I have to laugh at Semin's comments about the five Russians on the ice together. "this is how it should be"...umm, no.

I would take a N. American, net crashing, strong character veteran in Mike Knuble over the silent "loping giraffe" that is Kozlov any day / all day.

I enjoyed watching Fedorov during his brief stint here in DC and he is no question a world class person/athlete, but for $4M / year - there was no way it was going to happen. Is Brendan Morrison equivalent to Fedorov - not when Fedorov was at his best, but his age and lower salary are what makes it work out.

Canada will win the Olympics.

Posted by: Jaymagz | February 15, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"What I want to happen is when Russia plays Canada, Malkin slewfoots Crosby"

Not bad, but anyone else want to see Ovi line up Jagr from about six strides away? Poetic justice would be served :)

Posted by: rnscaps | February 15, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Wearing his Russia jersey, Ovie will flatten Backstrom at any opportunity, but Sweden will win gold and the USA plays Sweden in the final. Russia has no defense and the Canadian roster is overrated. Sweden has balance, composure, and coaching. Also, Finland can beat any team on any day.

Posted by: washingtonpost31 | February 15, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Czechs and Slovaks aren't bad either. Should be a very interesting tournament. Lots of opportunities for "upsets" that aren't really upsets. But how sweet would it be if Ovi got an Olympic Gold-SC double?

Posted by: zmega | February 15, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

My dream scenario would be Backstrom scoring the winning overtime goal against Russia for the gold while the US beats Canada for the bronze.

Posted by: tim-n-VA | February 15, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The idea of Cam Janssen getting 3-5 games is sickening. Green got 3 games for his non-elbow open ice hit. I don't see how anyone can argue that the Janssen hit should be viewed on equal footing as the hit Green delivered.

As a repeat offender in a goon type roll I don't see why the NHL doesn't suspend him for 10 games. He intended to injure (watch the replay - he launches himself and leaves his feet before the hit) a defenseless (Bradley is looking the other way) player who was unable to complete the game and was obviously injured (watch the replay and try to tell me that Matt Bradley was in full control when he left the ice).

Posted by: patrone | February 15, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Federov would be a MAJOR upgrade from BrenMo. He is a much better skater, has a much better shot, is much better in the faceoff circle, is a much better defensive player, and can play the pk at a sublime level. The Caps had a much, much better PK with Feds playing. He would be a great center for Semin and Flash. The only question is if a deal can be done, but I doubt it since he has a contract in the KHL.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 15, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

@patrone: I think they should throw the book at Janssen, but I do not believe your characterization of the Green hit is correct -- he definitely had his elbow up and he went straight to him in open ice. In fact, Green's elbow was far more prominent than Janssen's. People can argue about whether the Janssen hit was worse or less so than Green's but I think they were on par with one another. No doubt you are correct that Janssen's a repeat offender.

Posted by: Sonyask | February 15, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen a replay since the Blues game but while it was certainly a late hit and possible one where he left his feet, I didn't think Janssen led with his elbow. I could be wrong but I remember seeing one of the replays and it looked as if he pretty clearly led with his shoulder. His elbow only appeared to come up after the hit.

Having said that, because it was a late hit where he arguably left his feet and because Bradley was shaken up pretty badly and because he's a repeat offender, he should certainly get a multiple game suspension and a fine.

No matter what happens though, I think the conspiracy theories of some Caps fans are nothing more than classic cases of sports fan paranoia. If you go to message boards for every last team in the league (including the Penguins), you'll find the same type of complaints. The league obviously isn't conspiring against every single team.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 15, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't really care who wins the Gold, will care even less if any one of the 5 guys gets hurt in these completely over-blown and over-hyped events that will prove nothing as far as which is the best team.

Posted by: joek443 | February 15, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I have to pull for team USA because first and foremost I am an American. I love the Caps individual players, hope they do well and avoid injury. That being said, nothing would piss off Canadians more than the US winning the gold. That would complete the trifecta.

Don Cherry's head would probably explode exposing nothing but hot air and a hamster in a wheel. That alone is worth pulling for your motherland!

Posted by: FLDave | February 15, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

The Olympics are over-hyped -- why don't you ask the athletes? They are stocked to be there and bummed if they are not. Gary Bettman and a few gm's are not so happy with the Olympics because they see dollar signs more than athletes. I'm going with the athletes and not Bettman.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 15, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

The Olympics are over-hyped -- why don't you ask the athletes? They are stocked to be there and bummed if they are not. Gary Bettman and a few gm's are not so happy with the Olympics because they see dollar signs more than athletes. I'm going with the athletes and not Bettman.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 15, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget about Foppa for the playoff run. He is supposedly playing in the Olympics and I'll be if he stays healthy he'll end up on a playoff team. We were very much in the hunt when it was rumored he was coming back and now that he's healthy enough to play I wouldn't be surprised to see those rumors resurfacing.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for the hockey to start. This is the best display of world talent in the hockey world. There isn't a diluted league of 30 teams. Granted there are teams that are weak but the elite is very elite and should be some unbelievable games. You know it's good when the USA will probably not even medal. Lets just hope the Russians stomp the Canadians and that cry baby on thier own turf.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Rocc00 | February 15, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse


Very true! This year most of the teams are stacked with talent. I think some teams missed the mark picking their players (Oh Canada!). The Olympic games are wide open fire wagon hockey. I think the teams geared for NHL Playoff hockey will be left in the dust.

Posted by: FLDave | February 15, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse


3/4 of me is an immigrant. The other 1/4 was here for thousands of years :)

Still, I have to pull for the US even though I think they are an incredible underdog. If they are out of medal contention it's ABC (Anyone But Canada).

Posted by: FLDave | February 15, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Cherry's head explode on national television during the defeat of his team. Still though, I can't help but believe that Team Russia is going to take the gold. Good luck to Team USA though. They've got their work cut out for them.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 16, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

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