Alex Ovechkin responds to criticism

Thumbnail image for ovechkin.jpgIn our instant analysis-crazed society, it seems like people just cannot help but make a hasty, sweeping judgment about almost anything. At one point, Alex Ovechkin was the superhuman, unquestioned best player in hockey according to many experts. Yet after a medal-free Olympics run and a first round defeat few saw coming, there are probably plenty of people who think they have “the book” on the Russian star.

All I can offer is this fact: he’s only 24 years old.

Ovechkin understands and acknowledges the criticism he’s getting from many circles, though. Here’s a few choice quotes from a Puck Daddy story.

“It’s fair. It was my fault when we need to score goals. I have the chance to score goals and I don’t score goals. Sometimes you just have to take the moment in your hand.

“It’s pretty hard when you see how we fight, how we played. We had a chance and we didn’t score. If you have a chance to score goals and you don’t score, you just feel … Jesus … like, ‘OK, next time you’re going to score.’ The pressure goes to your mind. It’s pretty hard.”

Ovechkin is the Capitals best player and captain, so he must grow accustomed to being thrown under the bus. He has plenty of gas left in the tank, obviously (at his pace will he play for 15 years or maybe 10 years longer?). Washington went into this year’s playoffs with a swagger you need to be great, but hopefully they learned something from this humbling loss.

Ovechkin’s at least saying the right things.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.