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Alex Ovechkin, Russia go out with a thud

Here's an update from Slava Malamud of Russia's Sport-Express:

The dominating performance of Team Canada in Wednesday night's quarterfinal against Russia provided perhaps one of the most anticlimactic moments of the Games. Not only did the expected Dream Final not manifest itself, even the Dream Quarterfinal turned out to be lopsided.

One of the bigger disappointments of this game was the performance of the Russians' top line with Evgeni Malkin centering Caps stars Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin. The line was working out so poorly that coach Slava Bykov switched Malkin for the 40-year-old Sergei Fedorov at times, recreating the "Washington Line" from the 2008 World Championships.

To add insult to injury (or, rather, vice versa), Ovechkin hurt his pinkie finger while trying to knock down the puck with his hand.

After the game almost all Russian players (with the exception of the two goalies and Pavel Datsyuk) stormed past the mixed zone without talking to any members of the media. Eventually, however, one of them emerged from the dressing room. To the reporters' relief, it was Ovechkin.

"No, nerves are not the issue," said Ovechkin when asked to explain his team's poor performance. "We are all adults, experienced players. Nerves cannot be a reason for losing at this point. We didn't play our hockey. The first five minutes knocked us off our game. They scored after in the first offensive rush they had and it was tough for us to stop them.

"We wanted to do the best we can, but it turned out as usual," Ovechkin added, quoting a famous phrase coined by a Russian politician.

"The will be a lot of dirt poured on us from the media and from people who don't know anything about hockey," he said. "But to the people who support and love us, I would like to say that we tried our best."

Concerning his injury, Ovechkin said that the puck hit his hand and pinched a nerve.He lost the feeling in his finger and had to leave the ice.

By Slava Malamud  |  February 25, 2010; 12:17 AM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin , Ice hockey , Vancouver 2010  
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Comments

Please Gawd, may Ovie's pinkie be healed by next week.

Posted by: Juan-John | February 25, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Posted by: JillC | February 25, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Well, Crosby wasn't a factor, but then again neither was Ovechkin (3 shots, minus 2). Good job by the Canadian checking line. In fact the whole team played classic Candian hockey, cycling down low and driving to the net. Russia's main problem was their defence.

Posted by: Ottawaguy | February 25, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

i hope no ill effects from the slewfoot on Semin. Canadians i guess can't take a legal hit .

Posted by: heathdog1119 | February 25, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

No offense to Ovi but his comments (from above)contradict themselves "We didn't play our hockey" and then "I would like to say that we tried our best".

For those who missed Milbury's comments, here's a link.

http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978066956&grpId=3659174697259360

http://olympics.fanhouse.com/2010/02/24/mike-milbury-cant-believe-russia-brought-its-eurotrash-game/?icid=main|netscape|dl1|link1|http%3A%2F%2Folympics.fanhouse.com%2F2010%2F02%2F24%2Fmike-milbury-cant-believe-russia-brought-its-eurotrash-game%2F

Posted by: puckman | February 25, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

As a Canadian, I want to thank Team USA for waking up Team Canada. Canada played with more hinger than Russia,or should I say more desperation.

Posted by: Ottawaguy | February 25, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

As a Caps fan, I would like to thank Team Canada and Finland for allowing Ovi, Semin and Backstrom some extra days of rest before coming back to the NHL. Also, I would like both teams for making sure that the "hunger" to achieve the Stanley Cup due to the lack of an Olympic medal is more than alive! Thank you, thank you, thank yooooooooooooooouuuuuuuu!!!

Posted by: JohnWWW | February 25, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Ottawaguy said it perfectly. I feel bad for Ovie but Canada just seemed to play with a little more fire than Russia did.

Posted by: TrabZ | February 25, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Ovie now has added incentive to win the Stanley Cup and beat that twerp Crosby on the way. Russia's defense looked like garbage.

Posted by: randysbailin | February 25, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Slew foot on Semin was an absolute disgrace. Boyle MUST be suspended for the rest of the tournament. Hope Semin is OK.

Posted by: waldmant | February 25, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

sorry OV but no, some of us do understand the 'other side' of hockey. I'm sure you and the boys did what yo had to do, but please dont tell us you played your best, you took the easy way out - i dont blame you, but just state it like it is. You didn't try your best, you did what you thought you had to do.

I can only hope we dont have to deal with this when you put on the Caps uniform during the playoffs.

Posted by: OVIwankanOVI | February 25, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Milbury is the biggest homer I have seen broadcasting an Olympic event.

Canada went to a shootout against Switzerland and lost to the US and Milbury is sitting there chirping on and on about how this hockey team is comparable to the 1992 US dream team in basketball.

As I recall, the US team in 1992 didn't have this much trouble getting through the preliminary rounds.

And they weren't playing at home either.

For all their smug behavior Milbury doesn't have much to say when it is brought up that Canada has won ONE hockey gold medal in the last 40 years.

Posted by: leopard09 | February 25, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I thought that loss was a COMPLETE failure in coaching! He needed to move OV so he could shoot more, pull the goalie WAY sooner, and adjust the teams play between periods as it was CLEARLY not working! Hope OV and Semin don't get too down on themselves!

Was Semin' hit on Boyle really that late? Why would Milburry think it is ok for Boyle to then Slewfoot...an extremely dangeous move! And to call an entire team eurotrash forne players move is ludicrous! Not to mention making him sound more racist and more of a tool!

Posted by: capscoach | February 25, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Did I hear Milbury correct in saying the Russians played "euro-trash hockey"? This guy is a joke. Is he really the best hockey has to offer in terms of coverage?

Posted by: Newtons | February 25, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Defense/goaltending wins in the Olympics and it's clear Russia has none of it.

They have such great players but it just goes to show that chemistry matters most in such a short event. USA looks great right now and I think nobody said this just two weeks ago.

I hope Ovie and Semin aren't that disappointed, they did try but unfortnately you can't control your country and as someone said above thier coaching sucked.

Welcome home Ovie, now go win yourself a Stanley Cup!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | February 25, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Russia lost as a team...it's wholly unfair to blame any one player for their effort; the decision to take KHL defencemen proved to be a bad one, the coach should have pulled Nabokov after the first intermission (as a Canadian I was still crapping myself at the first intermission knowing full well what the Russian forwards were capable of if they got going...luckily they never did), and the 2nd and 3rd periods, the Russian forwards did nothing. No backchecking, no forecheck at all.

Ovechkin gets his share (same as everyone else) but no more. He had a bad game (but it is newsworthy when he does have a bad game).

Posted by: jcurrin | February 25, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Not to concerned about the Russian national team. will be good to get ovie and alexander back home. Go Caps !

Posted by: capsfan12 | February 25, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

It's about time people are mentioning the russians defense. I for one am a Slovakia fan but I cringed through all of these post game interviews where there's been not a single mention of the poor defensive work by Russia. I've watched every replay and they were either out of position or just not stepping up to the rushers. That's why you see the desperate offense strewn all over the place trying to get back and cover. And to expect them to carry the puck back down the ice with full energy. It's not gonna happen.

Posted by: cappies | February 25, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Team Canada has good players but they've also got some serious cheap-shot artists - Boyle can't a clean hit [wow did Semin level him, awesome hit!] and he could have ended Semin's career. He absolutely should be done for the tournament. And Pronger of course was up to his usual nonsense.

The Russian coach was completely outclassed and I don't think he gave his team a chance.

Posted by: govtimbo | February 25, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Semin's hit was not late at all - he hit him straight on, and Boyle had just barely released the puck. And Boyle ducked - and he didn't 'hit him high' as Olcyck bafflingly claimed. I used to really like Olycyck but I lost a lot of respect on that; it was a totally clean, textbook hit and Boyle couldn't handle it. What a disgrace.

Posted by: govtimbo | February 25, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

leopard09 writes "Milbury is the biggest homer I have seen broadcasting an Olympic event."
You do realize that Milbury is an American.

Posted by: Ottawaguy | February 25, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Goaltending failed Russia and coaching failed them, otherwise the Russians would have had a chance. The Caps players will all be very hungry and more focussed on one goal..the most important ...the Stanley Cup...

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 25, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes they were Russians, but it wasn't Russian hockey. There was not one good thing to say about their play. Horrible goal tending, non-existing defense, no team play, too much solo play (I hate to say it, but I see a lot of similarities to the Caps) and the worst coaching ever observed.
So far of the teams I have seen, I can honestly say the Swiss with their mostly amateurs - by NHL standards - players have played the best hockey.

Posted by: nimes1 | February 25, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Did the Russian coaching remind anyone of the Hanlon era. Defensive, passive, slow trapping crap when you have speed and skill to disrupt and forecheck. You can play your best in a bad system for your talent and still look like crap.

Milbury needs to go. He is an absolute joke. I pray for a Slovak win and then a Finland bronze.

We need a Caps-sharks cup final so Semin can play the boyle bongos in game1.

I still really hate Milbury.

The KHL is a talentless void as exhibited in the Olympics.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | February 25, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I agree with all here, Milbury not very good as an anlayst. (being polite). Do not know how guys who failed so badly as coach or GM are experts....

Watching game last night, especially second and third periods, just bad effort, execution by the Russians. No offensive zone time, and when they did get a shot, Luongo was right spot on.

Lot of individual play...not much team play

So Crosby is 2-0, head to head in big games last two years...Game 7 last year, and now this.
Hope all r correct, this becomaes a focus point for rest of season, and playoffs.

Cannot wait for CAPS to get back in to action.

Posted by: hunter32 | February 25, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

They are Russians and they lost......GOOD!

Posted by: Obamasnotyamama | February 25, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"You do realize that Milbury is an American."

I was just about to the post the same thing. He sure doesn't sound like it though. I wonder if his time as coach and GM of the Islanders has anything to do with it. Has Alexei Yashin ruined him on all Russians?

Posted by: ouvan59 | February 25, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

What's the origin of the word "slewfoot"?

Posted by: rjma1 | February 25, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

@ottawaguy

Yes, Milbury is American, thus, with a clear bias towards North Americans. The commentary was very unfair - Volchenkov, Semin hits called dirty, cheap (both clean and fair on the replay and both exactly what any Canadian would've done, right?) but the slew foot was fine with MM. I believe the announcers believed what they were saying - they probably did "see" those hits as dirty because not able to be objective.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | February 25, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

@yesisaiditfirst Agreed the Russian coaching was horrendous, and not just this game. Throughout, the team looked out of sorts. I think for a tournament in NHL sized rinks, they have to select a coach familiar with the dynamics and tactics that are apropos for that kind of rink.

Still, with the waves of emotion, the home ice, and the great team they have assembled, Canada would've been might hard to beat.

For Ovie, Semin, Backs, and Flash - welcome back, put it behind you, none of it was your fault. I think Ovie could admit that they sucked and move on, it happens to everyone sometime.


Posted by: RedLitYogi | February 25, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

George Mcphee "searched the world over" for these "eurotrash" angels in black, so we'll keep all of them ..
afterall its a good Cracker song. hahahah.
I dont even why MIllsuck thinks that would be an insult any way.. the word was originally used to describe a european with good fashion sense who dresses as if they are weathly.. whose style some Americans try to emulate..so basically, he's just saying he doesnt know what the word actually means.. or else he is secretly jealous of their fashion sense.. I dont think he would as good in DG as Ovi..hahahahahaha

Posted by: kmr2r | February 25, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

The Russians were just hit by a Canadian freight train that got some rare steam in the midst of sputtering performances from losing to the USA to struggling against Slovakia.

Ovechkin is the greatest individual player in all aspects I have ever personally seen. A building can fall on anyone.

Posted by: JPMcC | February 28, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

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