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Varlamov, Ovechkin set to face Laich, Canada today at worlds

With the Stanley Cup playoffs in full swing, it's possible you've missed the fact that Semyon Varlamov and his Russian teammates are tearing up the world championships in Germany.

Varlamov is 3-0 with a 1.00 goals against average and a .967 save percentage (he's stopped 87 of 90 shots), while Alex Ovechkin's five goals are second only to Canada's John Tavares's six.

Varlamov, Ovechkin and the Russians are set to face Tavares, Brooks Laich and Team Canada in the quarterfinals this afternoon in Cologne.

After the humiliation in Vancouver, the Russians took a vow in their dressing room that day to win a third straight world championship at the 2010 Worlds. It's not by fluke that 14 Russians Olympians are in Germany for the 16-team tournament.
Canada has one player back who mined Olympic gold, Corey Perry, and Kovalchuk said you can't compare one elite competition to the other.
"It's kind of special to meet Canada after the Olympics, but it's a different tournament and it's tough to compare the Olympics and the Worlds," said Kovalchuk. "It's kind of a revenge, but the real rematch will be played in Sochi in 2014 (at the Olympic ice hockey tournament). They have a really young team, but they're hungry for the win so we have to be ready."

Should be a good day of hockey here in Montreal, where I'll get to watch the Russia-Canada game on TSN and then cover Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals tonight.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 20, 2010; 1:31 PM ET
 
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Next: Caption contest: Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich

Comments

PRIMUS!

Good luck to all...and please let's have NO Cap-on-Cap injuries.

Posted by: Rhino40 | May 20, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

What is Semin doing? Is he playing?

Posted by: sshores1 | May 20, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

To be fair, Pronger is the best physical defenseman in the NHL and is probably Hall of Fame bound. To then say the line about puck moving defensemen how you can't win with them is a reach. Chicago improved greatly once Brian Campbell got back, he is a pretty good puck moving defenseman.


Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 7:42 AM |

I just want to add that Pronger has always been known as a great puck-moving d-man, one of the better ones in the league right now. Yeah, his physicality and meanstreak took centerstage early on in his career, but he has always been a two-way player and he makes one of the best first-passes possible.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 20, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Semin has 5 pts. -- 1 g and 4 assists, +4, 18 SOG.

Posted by: Steakum | May 20, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I laich the matchup for the russians.

Posted by: caps512 | May 20, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Also, from last thread, I don't want Plekanecs on this team. Especially given the amount of money he's going to get.

I'm hoping that if any centers come in, it's through trade.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 20, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if anyone is watching the Can/Rus game right now- but they just had a great close up of Ott chatting with a Russian player before the face off.

I can only imagine what half a$$ Russian phrase he was mumbling.

Posted by: Fro_ | May 20, 2010 2:44 PM |

Love Ott. Was hoping he'd hit the market as opposed to signing an extension, but what can you do?

Posted by: richmondphil | May 20, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I agree completely. Pronger is a great all-around player. He plays a significant amount of time on the PP and performs very well on it. He is a complete player.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 20, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

This tournament is worthless. Sorry. They should be back in North America in the Eastern Conference Final.

Oh well.

Posted by: CF11555 | May 20, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

It's 3-0 for Russia.
There was a fight with different players involving also Laich and Ovechkin.
This year the level of the game here in Europe is very high.
It's not true that this tournament is worthless. With big surface and open game it's very interesting

Posted by: enrinat | May 20, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Team Russia doesn't have a great group of defensemen. Even without a few players, Team Canada is still pretty star-studded. And Varlamov is shutting out Canada so far, and we're in period 3. I'm watching it at atdhe.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 20, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

4 - 0. No sign of live from Ovi and Semin.
Greta line Kowalchuk Daytsuk Malkin.
Very intersting to see this line on the ice.
I think if you want to win a championship you need players like Daytsuk. With Semin and Ovi like tonight you don't far away.

Posted by: enrinat | May 20, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Okay now that I've been watching for a bit, maybe "pretty star-studded" is too much. But they do have a couple of stars.

Anyway, the point is that Varlamov is pitching a shutout against a team full of NHLers, with 12 minutes left, and that's a good thing.

Fedorov just got a very great tip-in goal.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 20, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The Worlds aren't worthless, it's a huge deal over in Europe. What's the attendance, like 72,000? Ridiculous. There's pictures online of it.

Obviously it's a different level of play, and not the same as the NHL playoffs, especially to us North Americans, but it's not worthless.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 20, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Ack. Varlamov gave up a couple in the end. Oh well.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 20, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Darn, if only the Caps had taken a vow in their dressing room to win the Cup.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | May 20, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Yeah because based on how the Caps played, none of them gave a crap whether they won or lost.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 20, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

YAWN

Posted by: doughless | May 20, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

they are playing REAL hockey for something that truly matters here in the States tonight.

Posted by: doughless | May 20, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

sorry, in the States and our fine neighbor to the north, CANADA

Posted by: doughless | May 20, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

That was sarcasm of course. People can say the system failed, or Martin outcoached BB, which I don't agree with either but that's my opinion. However, there is no way any fan can analyze that series and come away with the thought that the players didn't care. In games 5, 6, and 7, the arenas could have saved time and not zammed the Caps zone because the game was played in the Habs zone 80% of the time.

These pro athletes have poured their entire lives, most since they were 5, into the game of hockey. They have dreamed of the Stanley Cup since they were little kids. Don't think that Ovi and Semin didn't just because they are Russian, they watched some of their legends raise the Cup, including Fedorov. Furthermore, to get their game where it is now a lot of these players left home at 14 and 15 years old to play in leagues that were competitive for them because even the top youth leagues were too easy for them. To act like losing the playoffs hurt any one of us more than it hurt them is absurd. Every NHLer over there would rather be in the position of Montreal, Philly, Chicago and San Jose right now rathr than being in Germany.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 20, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Fine neighbor to the north? Really? Someone's got a bit of brown on their nose right now. Should we tell him or just let him continue?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 20, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Your fine neighborhood to the North could care less about you doughless. I have experienced it first hand in Nova Scotia. Additionally their fans cheer for any nation playing a US team whether at the Olympics or at the World Junior Championships, and boo when we score. Canada is not the friendly neighbor like they used to be.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 20, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

my point is Worlds are a sideshow. get of it donkeys, you are taking me a bit too literally. have fun watching the Worlds

Posted by: doughless | May 20, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Love Ott. Was hoping he'd hit the market as opposed to signing an extension, but what can you do?

Posted by: richmondphil | May 20, 2010 3:01 PM

He would have been a great addition. I think you and I touched on this a few months back. That, and Esa Tikkanen and his Tikkanese.

Love the quote from Wikipedia:

During their tenure with the Oilers, Tikkanen let go with a particularly colorful pronouncement, after which another player turned to Kurri and asked, "What did he just say?" Kurri simply shook his head; "I have no idea."

Posted by: Fro_ | May 20, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I haven't watch 1 game of the World Championships, but I haven't missed 1 game of the NHL playoffs. I have to admit, the Eastern Conference Finals have been boring as heck. It was even more fun to turn on the TV to watch the Pens to hope they'd lose. This is the kind of hockey you get when two inferior teams manage to shock the hockey world. At least the Western Conference Finals has some excitement.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 20, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Awesome - hope they win a nice shiney trophy that means nothing to real pros!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | May 20, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Awesome - hope they win a nice shiney trophy that means nothing to real pros!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | May 20, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Who won the NIT last year?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | May 20, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know who won at wimbledon this year?

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 20, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Importance of tournaments vary from person to person. I'm positive you can find a signifcantly greater amount of people in the world who think that the Stanley Cup is meaningless than those who think it has meaning. The same holds true for the SB or any other tournament.

The only tournament that a majority of the world may find meaningful is the World Cup. That's it.

While the Wolrd Championships might be meaningless to some people here, which is fine, they have absolutely no right or authority to tell anyone else that it SHOULD be meaningless to them.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 20, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I know some of the games are being shown over the air on channel 4-2, the universal sports channel. And Cox cable has the channel.

Posted by: gatsu | May 20, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

What's a wimbledon?

Posted by: Fro_ | May 20, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know who won at wimbledon this year?

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 20, 2010 5:37 PM

not lyle?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | May 20, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"I haven't watch 1 game of the World Championships, but I haven't missed 1 game of the NHL playoffs. I have to admit, the Eastern Conference Finals have been boring as heck. It was even more fun to turn on the TV to watch the Pens to hope they'd lose. This is the kind of hockey you get when two inferior teams manage to shock the hockey world. At least the Western Conference Finals has some excitement.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 20, 2010 5:26 PM"

Exactly. Even though I'm from Chicago, I'd like to see San Jose take the Cup. The Western Conference is much more exciting hockey than the Eastern at this point. But if it comes down to PHI vs CHI, I'll be cheering for the Blackhawks.

Why doesn't lylewimpydom call the Penguins "choking dogs"?

Posted by: dccitizen1 | May 20, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

"chocking dogs" are a term reserved for those selective teams that lose a 3 games to 1 or 3 games to none lead in a seven game series... at least that's what I've gathered from listening to the originator of the term, Mr. Kornheiser, who came up with it when the Caps lost such a lead for the first or second time some 25 years ago.

Posted by: joek443 | May 20, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Still, I would think that mr. wimpydom would have some glee at seeing the Penguins lose too. And Tony K. is a blow hard.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | May 20, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

HEY!
Don't be dissin' Mr. Tony.

Posted by: bluejeener1 | May 20, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1, my sentiments exactly regarding the effort these players have put forth since childhood. I'm glad someone else is tired of fans acting like they have a more personal stake in the wins/losses of the Stanley Cup than the guys who strap on the skates. And the fact that the Worlds mean nothing to some NHL fans is fine. They do mean something to the guys playing in them.. the ones who've dedicated their lives to playing the sport and love it whether it's in the NHL, in the Worlds or on a pond in someone's backyard.

Posted by: RandomID | May 20, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Bears win another nail-biter 3-2 in OT. Goals by Kyle Wilson, Chris Bourque and Francois Bouchard. Neuvy in goal.
Game 6 Saturday in Hershey. GO BEARS!

Posted by: tess2201 | May 20, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201

Thanks for the Hershey score.

I heard about the game. It was 0-0 most of the way and then Manchester scored a PP goal in the 3rd. Wilson eventually tied it up. But with about 4 minutes to go, Giroux was in the Penalty Box and Manchester scored another PP goal. So, things looked bleak for the Bears. But Bourque tied up the game with less than a minute to go so they went to OT. And Bouchard got the game winner.

So now the Bears are up in their series, 3 games to 1. They had faced a hot goalie on the other team, Jonathan Bernier.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 20, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing how many people dismiss the level of talent at the World Championships compared to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Despite the lack of stars on the US and Canadian teams guys like Matt Bradley, Dave Steckel, Joe Corvo, Jeff Schultz, Boyd Gordon and even John Carlson did not get a call to join their national teams. These guys represent a large portion of the Caps playoff roster, yet couldn't crack the roster of two teams that woefully underperformed at the Worlds. .

The NHL has the best elite talent in the world. There are between 4-6 elite players on each NHL team. The rest of the roster is made up of average to below average hockey players. As the US and Canada found out, European players match up well against them.

And don't let the Canadian media fool you. If they viewed this as an exhibition to introduce young guys to international play, they wouldn't have asked Crosby, Nash, Iginla, St. Louis, etc. to join the roster. For a country that believes it's C team could beat the Swedish and Russian Olympic teams, this performance was embarrassing.

Posted by: ablake70 | May 20, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

"After the humiliation in Vancouver, the Russians took a vow in their dressing room that day to win a third straight world championship at the 2010 Worlds."

---

...insert conspiracy theory here, positing whether Ovechkin tanked in the NHL playoffs in order to honor his vow, lol.

Posted by: cali_snowboarder | May 21, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

@cali_snowboarder

Not to mention Datsyuk and Malkin tanking in their respective playoffs as well. (Except Dats had some individual heroics in his series, which would shoot the "tank" theory.)

LOL on the conspiracy theory.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 21, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

The Bears truly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last night.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 21, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

The Bears have a better, more determined room than the Caps ever had. They are truly a team that never gives up. Will be there Sat. night to see true champions fight to the last "second" as Francois Bouchard said and he and Chris Bourque did last night in New Hampshire. Seems like some in the Caps room are more worried about fighting for Mother Russia than the Stanley Cup.

Posted by: dull | May 21, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

@dull

those kinds of comments are uncalled for. Do you know Semin, Ovie, and Varly personally? I would bet serious dollars that no one wants a Cup more than Ovie in the NHL. You know what...the Caps had an upset...it happens and frankly it is time to move on and look towards next season. If the Caps are full of players who don't care about the NHL, then PLEASE go find yourself another team! You sound racist and full of poo when you talk like that. Just because they are playing for Russia does not mean they didn't care about the playoffs...heck...Ovie was close to tears in his postgame interview.

I just don't get why all these people spend sooo much time being negative and nasty about the Caps. There are 29 other teams they can cheer for.

Posted by: capscoach | May 21, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

one other thing...if Ovie and the Russians were more concerned about playing for Russia, does that mean Brooks Laich was more concerned with playing for Canada?

Posted by: capscoach | May 21, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the Bears have been playing somewhat uninspired in Manchester. The good thing is that they pulled it together at the end of the game last night to come from behind and win it in OT. They get to come home where they have been much better and finish it Saturday night.

@dull, the implication that our Caps cared more about the Worlds when they were still playing for the Cup, is simply ridiculous. I agree with capscoach's response.

Posted by: _Mark | May 21, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Thanks capscoach. Think about this. Ovechkin and Semin have been criticized by fans for going to Germany. Green has been criticized for not going. This is by Caps fans. This may be Ovechkin's and Semin's last time to play with Fedorov. I don't think less of Crosby (I couldn't think less of him, OK I'm kidding) for not going, he decided his body needed a break. However, do you think Crosby might have gone if say Lemieux was playing in perhaps his last tournament. I would venture to say yes.

Another thing people need to keep in mind is the European born player have had a completely life changing experience to live in the US. Of course they are rich, but it is still a different way of life for them compared to the US and Canadian born players. Going to the World Championships, if they get eliminated from the playoffs, is a chance to hang out with their fellow countrymen that they probably grew up playing hockey with. It's a bunch of friends getting together to see what they can do. For US and Canadian born players they can do that in the off season without having to leave North America.

Goes back to what I said yesterday. To act like the exit from the playoffs hurt me, you, or any fan, more than it hurt Ovi, Semin, Green..., is absurd. To imply any players tanked the playoffs to go to Germany is just plain ignorant. If anything, it is probably a good distraction.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 21, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

@ fanohock1

well said.

Posted by: capscoach | May 21, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: greenmachine | May 21, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I have no glee at seeing the Penguins lose at all, because I do not give one rat f@*k about them...they can all live in Mario's basement together and hopefully die on each other's toxic whiney fumes. I'm definetly not going to talk crap about a team that A.) beats us every time(when it matters) B.) Has a lot more Cups than we do. They are not Choking Dogs because they obviously know how to win a first round playoff series.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | May 21, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@lylewimbledon

Then why bother cheering for the Caps if they are so pathetic? It makes no sense. Why dwell in the past...I for one am looking forward to the future with this team. Every year since Ovie and Backs have come they have improved in some way. Some of you people are going to die younger than you should solely for being so negative and stressed all the time...it is bad for your blood pressure and frankly is completely unecessary.

Posted by: capscoach | May 21, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm not stressed at all- perfectly happy actually...my only burden is being right all the time!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | May 21, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

The reason we naysayers dwell in the past is because these Caps teams repeat the past time and time again. I have seen it too many times since I started following them in the early 80's. The players/management/venue/team colors change, but it never seems to make a difference with this team as far as the grit and heart required to compete with other teams in the playoffs. They've had two good runs in all this time (SC Finals defeat to Detroit and CF defeat to Boston, both of which ended in sweeps).

@fanhock1

As far as your comments, I am somewhere in the middle on this. I don't think they knowingly "tanked" the playoffs so they could jet off to Germany for the NIT of hockey. But I think, for some of the European players, it was in the back of their mind that "oh well, if we don't do well here, we still have time to make the Russian squad for the Worlds." OV's comment that he thought the series was essentially over when the Caps were up 3-1 on the Canadians was very telling about his (and apparently the team's) mindset. It really sticks in my craw that Semin is over there scoring goals for Russia, when he couldn't score in 14(!!!) playoff games over here. I believe the Caps need a few more gritty (translated: Canadian) players who know it takes a 60-minute effort every game from everyone to win a series, much less the Cup.

Posted by: putdepuckindenet | May 21, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The list of Canadian players that turned down Hockey Canada is staggering; they have an AHL player on the roster (and Crosby has copped no small amount of grief here in the land of your now-hated neighbour to the north over his decision not to play when Malkin opted in). For me this means Crosby should NEVER be allowed to be a captain for Team Canada (just like that self-centred egomaniac owner of his making demands to Hockey Canada when he played).

I know that the tournament is treated as an afterthought, but the fact is that it does get used by the IIHF for determining their world rankings, which go into the seeding for the Olympic tournament.

As pathetic as Canada was, it's comical what became of the Americans- nearly relegated to the B pool!

Posted by: jcurrin | May 21, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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