Ovechkin moving on from Olympics disappointment

There were three big stories to come out of the Olympics this year: Sidney Crosby is the Golden Kid, the United States almost pulled it off and Alex Ovechkin drove a stake into the relationship between himself and the North American media. There was the infamous video of him ‘attacking’ a fan with a camera, and the way he snubbed everyone but the Russian media while in Vancouver. The disappointing manner in which Russia finished the Olympics was also a bit of an issue as well.

Now, after the Washington Capitals added four players at the trade deadline, and are poised to make a run towards the Stanley Cup, Ovechkin is ready to move on:

“I’ve said, we’re all disappointed, but let’s move forward,” said
Ovechkin, who has 42 goals and 47 assists in 54 games this season.
“Let’s talk about the future, not what happened in the tournament.”

“You just can’t wait until the season’s going to be over and the
playoffs are going to start,” he said. “The most important thing that
when you go to the playoffs, you’re in good shape, you’re not tired and
you just concentrate on your game.”

There are many who have decided to pit Ovechkin versus Sidney Crosby in a war for who is the best in the NHL; sort of a hockey version of the Brady vs. Peyton debate. Myself, I’m not too keen on comparing the two aside from the fact they are both two of the top players in the NHL and they’re both leading their respective teams to wins.

Part of the debate that happens includes bashing one while putting the other on a throne, and it seems that Ovechkin has taken the ‘bad guy’ role. The Olympics problems have only heightened that feeling. Yet he’s moved on from whatever it was that happened in Vancouver and you have to respect his wishes to forget about those troubles and focus on the Capitals.

They got off to the right start last night with a big win over Buffalo, snapping a ‘slide’ by the Capitals heading into the break.

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    UMass-Lowell junior Smith leaves school, signs with Buffalo

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    C.J. Smith, the UMass-Lowell forward that finished eighth in the country in goalscoring (23) this year, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Sabres, the club announced on Thursday.

    Smith, 22, is coming off an impressive 51-point junior campaign for the River Hawks, which he punctuated with MVP honors in the Hockey East tournament.

    According to the Buffalo News, Smith will get a crack at some NHL action this year and suit up in the Sabres’ final five games of the season.

    It’s been a busy 48 hours of departures for UMass-Lowell. Walter Brown Award winner Joseph Gambardella, a senior that served as alternate captain this year, inked with Edmonton yesterday while defenseman Michael Kapla signed with the Devils.

    NHL on NBCSN: Bruins continue push for playoff spot against Stars

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    NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Boston Bruins host the Dallas Stars at 7:30 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

    With six games to go, the Bruins are in a decent spot when it comes to making the playoffs, but they’re far from a lock.

    They currently sit three points ahead of Tampa Bay in the chase for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Bolts have a game in hand.

    Boston got off to a great start when they named Bruce Cassidy as Claude Julien’s replacement. They cooled off considerably (they lost four in a row) in the last couple of weeks. Now, they head into tonight’s action having won each of their last two games.

    “I don’t have the reason why it wasn’t there for maybe a three-game stretch there,” said David Backes, per the Boston Globe. “But the fact that it’s back, and we’ve got our legs under us and we found that winning way again . . . hopefully, lesson learned.”

    The good news for them, is that they can still move up the standings too. The Bruins are one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are third in the Atlantic Division. Finishing in the second Wild Card spot means likely playing Washington in the first round, while finishing third in the Atlantic would mean possibly playing Ottawa.

    After tonight’s game against the Stars, the Bruins will play four of their last five games (Florida, Tampa, Ottawa, Washington) at the TD Garden. Their only road game will be in Chicago. So they’ll face some pretty good teams, but at least they’ll do so on home ice.

    Last week, the Stars were officially eliminated from the playoff picture, which wasn’t exactly surprising.

    Dallas was hit hard by the injury bug, as they lost Mattias Janmark, Ales Hemsky early on, while Valeri Nichushkin bolted for the KHL.

    So with the playoffs out of sight and out of mind, the Stars can focus on getting their young players some more ice time over the last two weeks of the regular season.

    Players like Julius Honka, Curtis McKenzie, Remi Elie and Jason Dickinson should all get an extended look.

    “We’re in a place where we need them to play important roles,” coach Lindy Ruff said of his young players, per the Dallas Morning News. “and we need them to play well.

    “We need to finish hard and play hard. I think we’re all focused on being professional and giving our best effort.”

     We’ll find out if they can play spoiler in Boston tonight.

    PHT Morning Skate: Zdeno Chara shot catches emergency goalie in a sensitive spot

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    –Sean McIndoe looks at five players who became the unlikeliest first 50-goal scorers in their franchise’s history. McIndoe chose Rick MacLeish (Flyers), Rick Vaive (Maple Leafs), Vic Hadfield (Rangers), Guy Chouinard (Flames) and Mickey Redmond (Red Wings). (The Hockey News)

    –A lot of people think hockey players are the toughest athletes, but Islanders forward Anders Lee is here to tell you that they aren’t tough at all. In his story for The Players’ Tribune, Lee writes about a tough, young friend, who is battling cancer. “In the seven years since he has been diagnosed, he has gone through multiple surgeries. He’s had countless radiation treatments. He’s gone through chemotherapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplants. And he does it all with a smile on his face. So when I hear people refer to me as tough because I play hockey, I think of Fenov and kids like him.” (The Players’ Tribune)

    –The Boston Bruins needed an emergency goalie for their practice yesterday, and they settled on Massachusetts state trooper Kevin Segee. Surely, it was the experience of a lifetime for him, but it didn’t come without pain. Segee was clearly shaken up after getting a Zdeno Chara in the…well, you know. (CSN New England)

    –Blackhawks forwards Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane and Tanner Kero each had multi-point games in Wednesday’s 5-1 thumping of the Pittsburgh Penguins. You can watch the highlights from the game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

    –What was the world like the last time the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs? Thanks to Sports Illustrated, we don’t have to wonder. In 1990, J.K. Rowling had just started writing the Harry Potter series, Donald Trump walked out of an interview with CNN because they were asking tough questions about his casino, the first known webpage was written and much, much more. (Sports Illustrated)

    –Edmonton Oilers players and their significant others came together to make 400-500 bowls of homemade soup for charity. It’s pretty cool to see most of the team be involved in such a nice event, even though the onion chopping station gave some of the guys a hard time. (Edmonton Oilers on Twitter)

    –Sportsnet has assembled the top hits of the week for your viewing pleasure. Hits from that Toronto, Columbus game made the video a couple of times:

    Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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    The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

    Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

    Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

    A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

    Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

    He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

    Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

    Spicy stuff.

    For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

    For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.