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Russia practices, Swedes and Czechs open with wins


Frenemies? (Shaun Best/Reuters)
Morning roundup


Yesterday's game action: Nicklas Backstrom had an assist in defending champ Sweden's 3-0 victory over Germany, and Tomas Fleischmann's Czech's took a 3-1 win over Slovakia.

*Afterward, Fleischmann talked about the Olympic experience. Read all about it on Heavy Medal.

*If you haven't yet checked out Mike Milbury's comments on a Ovechkin, here's a sample: "I think both of them are unbelievable players. It's just that Crosby has the Stanley Cup and this is the difference."

*Speaking of Milbury and Ovechkin, he does it again. And Ovie fan Jeremy Roenick steps in as the hero. (Bog)

*Gretzky visits Russia House, says nice things about Ovechkin. (Alex Ovetjkin)

*Sweden's Daniel Alfredsson on teammate Nicklas Backstrom:

"Backstrom is so good with the puck. He's so patient. Sometimes you feel like you want to go and help him, but you're better off going away. Let him win the battle, and he'll find you." (Puck Daddy)

*ESPN doesn't get the kind of access they're accustomed to when it comes to Ovie in Vancouver. Writes Scott Burnside:

But the Russians, or Ovechkin himself, have decided to behave in a manner that is decidedly un-Olympic, speaking almost exclusively to the Russian media (we get that) and generally ignoring the rest of (which we don't).
Now, we're not suggesting Ovechkin is Socrates on skates and we're all the poorer for not knowing how he feels about the lines at the Hudson Bay Company or the ticket fiasco here or the food at the athletes' village. But it shouldn't be this big a hassle to get in front of a player who is arguably the best in the world playing in the world's biggest tournament ... should it?

*Ovie's prep school-esque photo might need an update. (Japers' Rink)

*The mystery of Ovechkin's skates. (Fourth-Place Medal)

*Russia's offensive symphony... or something. (NHL.com)

*If he wasn't already, Ryan Miller is now officially Team USA's guy. The Americans take on Norway at 3 p.m. (live on USA), and they're hoping for a more convincing win than in the opener against Switzerland.


The Ovie+Nabby=BFF series


(Shaun Best/Reuters)



(Shaun Best/Reuters)



(Shaun Best/Reuters)


And another look at those skates


(Reuters)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  February 18, 2010; 5:45 AM ET
 | Tags: Alexander Semin, Morning roundup, Nicklas Backstrom, Olympics, Semyon Varlamov, Tomas Fleischmann  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Jagr, Czechs beat Slovakia in Olympic opener
Next: Team USA makes a statement in win over Norway

Comments

Why is espn making such a big deal out of this Russia sort-of-not-talking-to-them-thing...This is obviously a showcase for the KHL and Russian hockey ALMOST as much as it is for Canada and the US...I think the NHL could use a little competition from a rivaling League and last I heard espn didnt want to pay anything for the hockey broadcast rights which has led us to this annoying versus thing, so i dont know what legs their writers have to stand on...

alss, i hate sydney crosby and the canadian teanm, LOVE THE USA and every other country (RUSSIA!!!) who actually looks like they enjoy playing hockey...i get it's their national pasttime and all, but it's also a game and this whole embracing sydney and his businesslike approach seems to have taken over all of canada and it makes me miserable to watch...i mean, MJ was as competitive as they come but he still loved playing basketball

Posted by: cotelloer | February 18, 2010 5:59 AM | Report abuse

On another note -- who long before Roenick gives Milbury a good forearm shiver for being such a wank? Roenick is a legetimate hockey great, a future hall-of-famer; Mike Milbury is a totally phail coach and gm, and was a middling player at best. How does Milbury get away with talking hockey, especially trying to act like a primadonna, know-it-all to Roenick?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 18, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

(Posted on the Bog...figured may as well post here as well)

Hey, I for one think Milbury is awesome!!!!

I hope he returns to the NHL.....as GM for the Penguins :)

(Sarcasm!)

Oh, and Crosby definitely lead the Penguins to the Cup last year, thats why his name is on the Con Smyth award as playoffs MVP :)

Look, Crosby is a great player, but I agree with Roenick 100% If I had to pay to see any player in an NHL game, it would definitely be Ov. He brings you out of your seat any time he touches the puck.

I remember listening to a Caps pre-game program last year on the radio (I think it was before a Devils game in early November), one of the analysts said that they would pay $50 dollars to watch Semin just practice for a few hours before they would pay $50 to watch Crosby in a game (like how they even were talking about how Semin's style is more exciting to watch, basically).

I think that the last game that the Caps and Pens played said it all.....Crosby is a great player, and when left alone can do amazing things...he got two quick goals early in the game....but Ov (who was much better covered all game long), was able to finish up the game, and was there when the team needed him to lead them to victory.

There are a lot of factors leading up to why Pens went on in last years playoffs over the Caps, but head to head, I do not feel that it was because Crosby did anything more special than Ov.

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | February 18, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

tmac: On previous thread, I mentioned Roenick bickering with Milbury after Sweden win. Now bog above shows they had a previous bickering. Milbury is a complete tool with the Crosby love affair and Roenick knows it. Wouldn't be surprised if they eventually go at it in the booth before Games are done and Milbury pulls off his shoe. This should reach zenith when/if canada plays Russia.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 18, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I keep waiting for Roenick to turn around and punch Milbury in the face. It's hilarious to watch Roenick give Milbury that "Who the f--- are you? WTF are you talking about" look after every stupid comment Mikey makes.

If I have to listen to Milbury during intermissions, I want Roenick there so I can enjoy it.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | February 18, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Nick Backstrom was great on the Face Offs (FOs) last night, winning 10 of 13 for a 76.92% winning FO%. Although teams have played only 1 game so far, he is 3rd overall among the Face Off leaders. Henrik Sedin, also of Sweden, was 9 of 12 for 75%

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 18, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I loved JR's comment last night to Milbury..
"even you could have scored with Backstrom on your team....maybe and that's a big maybe"

LOL!!!

Posted by: Iceman10 | February 18, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Milbury is a tool. And that is being generously kind.

The sad part is that when Milbury has the opportunity to say something useful, he instead cheerleads for Crosby, and seems to bring him up whenever he can. When asked about comparing Ovie, he could have said the obvious -- he could be compared to Roenick! Both are physical power forwards with great skills and a flair for scoring. Unfortunately though, Roenick isn't given much chance to speak. I think it's time for a Deathmatch!!!!

(And shame on NBC for allowing such dreadful commentary on hockey. The commentary on ice skating or skiing is far more intelligent and useful.)

Posted by: firehorse | February 18, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Why can't hockey have any thoughtful analysts at the national level? I'm not asking for 100% Caps love, just someone with some analytic depth and objectivity. Is it a job requirement that they have to be d-b's?

In the Washington market, I think that Alan May has been a surprisingly (to me anyway) good addition. He is definitely pro-Caps, but he gives the other team its due. More importantly, he gives some real technical insights that I don't hear anywhere else.

Posted by: zmega | February 18, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't ESPN have a poker player or women's bowling star to interview? Since when do they give a darn about hockey?

Posted by: megatroll1 | February 18, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Milbury is a putz.

Since the Olympics in an international competition, shouldn't they be comparing how many World Championship and Olympic Gold Medals Ovi and Crosby have? I believe Ovi has 2 World Championships and Sidney has ziltch.

It's a stupid argument to begin with. Let's move on.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 18, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

this morning on the Junkies, Craig Laughlin says he thinks the Caps and GMGM have to make their Cup run this year. He said he is looking for them to add a top line forward and a D-man.

Any thoughts on who might fill those slots?

Posted by: doughless | February 18, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Burnside: go learn the Russian language if you want to talk to Ovie, instead of whining about it.

Posted by: RITdude | February 18, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Of course, in the Ovechkin-Crosby argument, Milbury pulls out the "Stanley Cups" stat. It's one of the few stats in Crosby's favor.

Ovechkin leads in plenty of individual statistics, including goals per game, assists, plus/minus, etc ... not to mention, two MVPs (and soon to be a third).

Ovechkin has no daddy.

Posted by: Cerealman | February 18, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

they're gonna keep throwing the stanley cup card at Ovie till he actually wins one so get used to it... and it's a totally legit point.

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't ESPN have a poker player or women's bowling star to interview? Since when do they give a darn about hockey?

Posted by: megatroll1 | February 18, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

espn has Bucci, Melrose and Barnaby in vancouver covering hockey... what's versus the official network of the NHL doing right now??

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Milbury fails to realize that the Cup win is a total team effort, if we take his analysis to the core then one could say that any and every Penguin is better than OV because they have taken their team to the SC and won it. Rubbish and dumb analysis. To compare Crosby and OV - and you shouldn't as they don't have the same position, complement of players, nor the same schedule so you will be comparing apples to oranges - look at their effectiveness during TOI, the lines on which they play, the +/-, goals and assists. OV has it all over Crosby. But why compare these two guys? Just enjoy their game, they are both great players and a lot of fun to watch.

Posted by: nimes1 | February 18, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

did Crysby single-handedly win the Stanley Cup?? hell no; if not for coaching change and addedd players, there is a good chance they would NOT have won the Cup last year. is Crysby a great player? sure, but lets not get overgracious with the credit being given.

Posted by: doughless | February 18, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

didn't the Caps finish well ahead of the Pens in standing last year? so an argument can be made that they had the better team but they still lost to the Pens in the playoffs.

nobody said that life was fair but this is still a team sport and team success will always trump individual success and it should.

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

they're gonna keep throwing the stanley cup card at Ovie till he actually wins one so get used to it... and it's a totally legit point.

Posted by: joek443 |

Yes and No.

They will keep on throwing the SC card, but it is not a legitimate point. Nemis1 makes a good point, that argument has no legs to stand on it, it is a team game and no one player wins the Cup by himself. It is only a legitimate point if you accept it.

Posted by: hock1 | February 18, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

this discussion is boring. how about those pieces needed by the Caps to make a Cup run THIS year?? Top line forward and D-man.

Posted by: doughless | February 18, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

@doughless

+1

Posted by: RITdude | February 18, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Tigger, please. I am so sick of hearing Milbury and his Crosby 1 OV 0 when it comes to the cup. You would think Crosby won it all by his self. I mean he wasn't even the MVP/Conn Symth winner Malkin was.
It's they ONLY think he can throw up where Crybaby has the edge, other than that fact it's all OV all the time. I hope Roenick finally does hit him in the head.

Posted by: jotay131 | February 18, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Lindsay, I'm disappointed in you. "Czechs," not "Czech's."

Posted by: sonsofcain | February 18, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

...and prior to the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, Larry Murphy was sooo much better a defenseman than Ray Bourque.

Posted by: Chucks20707 | February 18, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I predict that either yesterday, today or tomorrow, Backie will have a heart-to-heart with Forsberg about joing the Caps on March 3rd. Salary will probably be $1.0-1.5M for the last month.

You heard it here first.

signed,
nostrathomasinfl1

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 18, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Forsberg looked very slow and old last night, not sure that is the top line forward that we are looking for....actually besides the leadership he would bring I think he may even hurt the team.....no, I would much rather have Neidermeyer for that leadership role and another top line forward.....

Posted by: PhilR | February 18, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

PhilR: Let's give Forsberg one or two more games before giving up. He would be great if it would work because the cost would be only money. I would imagine a number of teams are scouting him. But, if he's that slow, you are right he'd be the wrong piece.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 18, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

If Forsberg is healthy enough, he would be a major upgrade from Morrison, but I think he has a contract that limits such a move. But a savvy blueliner with grit and skill is what they really need -- and a pk specialist.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 18, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I loved Forsberg in his day but sadly I think that day is past. I hope you are right Tom, I really hope he shows something in the next couple games that tells everyone he still has it because I loved watching the man play in his prime....just not holding my breath.

Posted by: PhilR | February 18, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

How about a package to Anaheim to get Neidermayer and Saku Koivu in return....Tominfl, what do you think that would cost us and would they meet the standards we are looking for?

Posted by: PhilR | February 18, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

i thought forsberg was playing for free for modo. So does he have to clear waivers to join a nhl team or not

Posted by: samb99 | February 18, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Niedermayer and Koivu would have to be really expensive and they'd have to agree to it. I can't even guess what they'd cost.

As for Forsberg, I don't think he needs waivers. It's just whether or not he can play at the NHL level, and the Olympics should take the guess work out of that.

On another subject, yesterday we discussed if Caps had to trade a forward in offseason, if it would be maybe Fehr or Flash and merits. Now, question: with the known rivalries and such between Russians and Czechs, does that maybe go into Caps thinking for future years? I've never heard of any nationalism issues on Caps, so maybe it's a non-thing with regards to Flash being a Czech.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 18, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Seems this team meshes well so the fact that Flash is a Czech doesn't matter at all I would think. I think Fehr will be the one to be traded unfortunately....I like the guy but think he is going to be the odd man out. Still looking through UFA list....pickings aren't as good as I have seen in other years.

Posted by: PhilR | February 18, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

stirring the pot..... paul kariya and barret jackman or garrnet exelby

Posted by: doughless | February 18, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

ESPN could care less about hockey. Watch their top plays of the night on most nights, I guarentee half of them are dunks by an NBA player, like it is really difficult for a basketball player to dunk. All the sudden they care about hockey because it is the olympics?? Seems to me that Ovie is concentrating on his home country and bringing them the gold, lets just hope he does the same for the Stanley Cup to D.C. !!!

Posted by: caps1 | February 18, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Milbury is right. It was amazing to see Cindy skate 1-against-6 in the playoffs last year, even playing goalie those rare times he lost the puck. The other teams changed lines and d-pairings, but Cindy stayed out, skating the full 60 minutes. It was a phenomenal performance. He should immediately go into the hockey Hall of Fame, as well as the baseball, basketball, and football HOF's.

Posted by: zmega | February 18, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@doughless, others

So, do you part with Neuvy or Varlamov? Alzner or Carlson? Perrault or Osala? Fehr or Flash? Orlov, Krygushev, Johannson? We don't have appealing options. I'd trade a decent name and a prospect, as long as we could also reel a prospect in with the center or defenseman coming in. Obviously, if we're looking for a center for Semin, Flash is trade bait. But that means it has to be a certain type of center. Does Robert Lang work??

Posted by: RedLitYogi | February 18, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

here's the catch 22 about the caps trying to make a trade...

our prosepct pool is very deep, comparitively speaking tot he rest of the NHL teams. We have a alot of players projected to be on our top 4 forward lines and top 6 defensively...

in the past, when the caps wanted to make a move the pool of prospects to give up was less appealing, now teams will generally TRY and go for Alzner, Carlson, VarLAmov to start.

trading for a D or forward before this trade deadline could be very damaging to the future... even moreso than in the past! Granted we have the depths to overcome it but the asking price is going to be higher!

that said: I say they stand pat. I want to be a #1-3 team in the league every year... have a shot at winning every year...

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 18, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Craig Laughlin made some good points on The Junkies this morning as to why the Caps should make a run this year for the Cup. the long and the short of it is that with the addition of a couple of pieces, they would be in a position to win this year. Locker was basically saying the potential for future injuries and the probability of being able to retain all of the talent the caps have ammassed make acquisitions and a serious push this year for the Cup a must do.

Posted by: doughless | February 18, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

nobody is saying blow up the team, but how far out do the Caps have to push Cup run when the have one of the best teams in the NHL THIS year??? and how long do you think the Caps can hang on to all the talent they have in their organization?? even with the increased season ticket prices, Ted doesn't have that kind of wallet. The must have pieces are going to be resigned (Backstrom).

Posted by: doughless | February 18, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I would dare say flash a package like Morrison/Fehr/Osala or Orlov/and the 1st round pick and see what you could get in return....with that package there should be some takers with nice packages coming back. The question is.....is that just way too much to give up for a couple players you most likely will not be able to afford to sign next year?

Posted by: PhilR | February 18, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

PhilR

depending on what we get back, either of the 2 packages you named don't seem like franchise disabling moves. If not this year, then when?? a top forward and a D-man.....

Posted by: doughless | February 18, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you doughless but there are many here who will think I am absolutely insane to give all that up......the question is would that be enough to get that Dman and forward we need?

Posted by: PhilR | February 18, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I tend to agree with doughless on this. The Caps are very close right now and just need a few more pieces to put them over the top.

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 18, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

...and prior to the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, Larry Murphy was sooo much better a defenseman than Ray Bourque.

Posted by: Chucks20707 | February 18, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of Larry Murphy but he was never the caliber of d-man that Ray Bourque was at any time in his long NHL career.

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I keep seeing rumors that GMGM is shopping for a goaltender. Not sure this makes Theo feel he is "the guy" for the playoffs.

As far as Milbury. There are alot of people who see the Caps like the Saints or Falcons were always seen in the NFL. This is because of the years of playoff failure. Unfortunately winning the Cup is the only way to get rid of this...

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 18, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

that said: I say they stand pat. I want to be a #1-3 team in the league every year... have a shot at winning every year...

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 18, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

that depends on what you mean by "a shot at winning"... this team hasn't gotten outta the second round of the playoffs since when? when you have a shot at winning the Cup, you do what's necessary because you won't have a chance like this every year.

doesn't mean you give up the whole farm but if you feel that you're a role player or two away from winning the Cup, then you go get those players right now... NOT next year.

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

To Washington: Dan Hamhuis
To Nashville: Dmtri Orlov, 1st round pick & Andrew Gordon

To Washington: Keith Tkachuk
To St Louis: 2nd round pick

It's a high price to pay for Hamhuis but worth it I think. Other D I'd like to get: Zdlicky, Kubina, Hejda. Can't think of any other forwards offhand

Posted by: TempusFugitRGV1 | February 18, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Move over Mike Milbury and make room for Scott Burnside in the BetterOffWithFedorov dog house.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | February 18, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"Milbury is right. It was amazing to see Cindy skate 1-against-6 in the playoffs last year, even playing goalie those rare times he lost the puck. The other teams changed lines and d-pairings, but Cindy stayed out, skating the full 60 minutes. It was a phenomenal performance. He should immediately go into the hockey Hall of Fame, as well as the baseball, basketball, and football HOF's."
Best post in the whole thread.

Posted by: OvechkinFan92801 | February 18, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

they're gonna keep throwing the stanley cup card at Ovie till he actually wins one so get used to it... and it's a totally legit point.

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

No it isn't. It's a totally bogus point in the context of comparing individual players. 1) Hockey is a team sport and Crosby didn't win the Conn Smythe so I don't see how that argument holds water at all. 2) Pittsburgh started their rebuild process two years before the Caps.

espn has Bucci, Melrose and Barnaby in vancouver covering hockey... what's versus the official network of the NHL doing right now??

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Versus has the NHL TV contract right now. ESPN walked away. Ergo ESPN will continue to receive pot shots from NHL fans. I'm not saying ESPN doesn't have good analysts/writers (Bucigross) or that they don't have a nice web site (they do). But, I'm not going to forgive them for what they did as far as NHL TV coverage for a very long time.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | February 18, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

the NHL needs ESPN a lot more than ESPN needs the NHL so get over it.

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

and it was the NHL that walked away from EVERYONE when they decided to have a lockout...

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin has no daddy.

Posted by: Cerealman | February 18, 2010 10:36 AM


Well, actually he does. However (Milbury's verbal diarrhea notwithstanding), Ovechkin's Daddy is from Moscow, not Cold Harbor.

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 18, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

USA wins again 6-1. Ryan Malone scores again.

I just found out the best bame and Olympic stats are at the official Olympic site:

http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-hockey-schedule-results/

Posted by: Jumpy66 | February 18, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

...and prior to the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, Larry Murphy was sooo much better a defenseman than Ray Bourque.

Posted by: Chucks20707 | February 18, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of Larry Murphy but he was never the caliber of d-man that Ray Bourque was at any time in his long NHL career.

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

------------------------------------

I believe that was the point....

Posted by: butcherbaker | February 18, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

the NHL needs ESPN a lot more than ESPN needs the NHL so get over it.

Posted by: joek443

No, I'm not going to get over it for a very long time. Can't you read? And, based on comments I've seen a lot of people feel the same way.

The NHL has somehow found a way to continue and grow without ESPN.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | February 22, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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