In this age of snap reactions and overreactions, seeing the visceral reaction to what happened with Alex Ovechkin and Bruce Boudreau last night coming from both sides of the fence isn’t stunning. Did Ovechkin cuss out Boudreau? Yeah, he probably did.
After all, when you’re the team’s biggest player and the guy they’ve counted on for years to be “the man” and you’re benched, how would you take it? I know I would’ve been just as angry if not more so.
While it’s fun to speculate about there being player-coach problems and how this could lead to a drama bomb going off in the Caps locker room, the truth here is that this is the kick in the pants that Boudreau felt Ovechkin needed to get the best out of him the rest of the season.
Think about how Ovechkin looks when we see him at his best. He skates with the kind of intensity you rarely see out of anyone in the NHL. He’s a beast on skates playing with the purpose to punish opponents with his powerful goals and physical play.
Last night, we saw neither of those things from Ovechkin. You saw Ovi the dangler, Ovi the passive player, and Ovi the guy on the bench.
We’ll see the Ovechkin of old come back, sooner than later probably, because he’s got pride in how he plays the game. Getting personally embarrassed like that on national television in a game that saw his teammates win without him, we’ll see Ovi the opponents’ nightmare back sooner than you think.
Here are NHL on NBC analysts Mike Keenan and Jeremy Roenick discussing the benching:
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Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.