Tatiana Ovechkin: Alex was "always in motion"

Via the Washington
Post’s DC Sports Blog
, via
Sovetsky Sport
, via Russian Machine Never Breaks, we have some
highlights of a very interesting interview with Alex Ovechkin’s mother,
Tatiana. Here are some highlights:

And how did you
come up with your trademark, the number eight which
you have weared your whole career, and under which Sasha plays now?

When I first started with juniors in Dynamo, they began to put me with
the older group. I almost did not play with my age. I immensely liked
one basketball player, Vladimir Zinman. He played under eight.

Why
did you choose hockey for Alexander then?

He is a very athletic guy. In any team sports he would be able to prove
himself. And in the childhood he watched a lot of hockey, ran with a
stick around the apartment. He was always in motion, his eyes on fire.
Since the time he started to walk Sasha was the most ardent fan of the
Moscow Dynamo in any sport.

Did you have in your career just as
hard a time as Sasha had after
the Vancouver Olympics?

Yes, I had. Ten years ago we were in the Final Four of the Euroleague
and failed to win that tournament. We yielded just one point to
Frenchwomen… I had a horrible depression.

My husband and I watched the Vancouver Olympics in Moscow. But after the
loss to Canadians (3:7) we flew to Washington to support Sasha. It’s
between me and my son what I said to him back then. It’s hard to revive
him after that loss.

It
really is a great interview
, and there’s an incredible picture of
Alex and his mother sitting on a bench with Uljana Semjonova, the 6’11”
center of the USSR basketball team. He even has a pair of Airborne
style rollerblades on in the picture.

She also talks about the
camera incident from Vancouver and how Ovechkin has recovered from his
Olympic disappointment.

I tried to come up with some witty things
to say about Ovechkin here, but I can’t. This is an interview with his
mom — gotta respect that.

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    Stanley Cup Final referees: McCauley, O’Halloran, O’Rourke, Sutherland

    BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 13:  Referee Dan O'Halloran #13 holds up a face-off between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators during their NHL game at First Niagara Center on December 13, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Dave Sandford Getty Images)
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    From the NHL:

    refs

    Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.

    Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.

    After advancing to Cup final, DeBoer had Sharks fans coming up to him with ‘tears in their eyes’

    PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 29: Head coach Peter DeBoer addresses the media during the NHL Stanley Cup Final Media Day at Consol Energy Center on May 29, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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    PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.

    Now he knows.

    “First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”

    The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.

    More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.

    It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”

    Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.

    “The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”

    Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot

    Kopitar will play for Slovenia in Olympic qualifiers

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Anze Kopitar #11 of Slovenia skates against Russia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.

    RTV Slovenia has the story here.

    The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.

    The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.

    Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

    Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.

    Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win

    Zubrus in, Nieto likely out for Sharks in Stanley Cup Final opener

    ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 15:  Dainius Zubrus #9 of the San Jose Sharks skates against Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues in Game One of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 15, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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    PITTSBURGH — Matt Nieto is healthy, and ready to go.

    But it doesn’t look like he’ll go tonight.

    The San Jose Sharks are unlikely to make any lineup changes for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh — at Monday’s optional morning skate, Nieto stayed out late with the extras while the guy he’d (presumably) replace in the lineup, Dainius Zubrus, told NHL.com he was in.

    Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t reveal any lineup decisions during his morning media availability, instead talking up both Nieto (for his speed) and Zubrus (for his “heavy” game), adding he liked the versatility the two give the club on a night-by-night basis.

    Nieto suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of the Nashville series, and missed all of the Western Conference Final.

    Prior to getting hurt, he had three points in 11 games — this after a regular season in which he scored eight goals and 17 points in 67 games.