While he insists he has no preference which team — New York or Washington — advances to the Eastern Conference finals, Ilya Kovalchuk recognizes a matchup with Alex Ovechkin would be pretty cool.
“It doesn’t really matter who we’re going to play against, but for sure it would be something nice,” the Devils forward told NorthJersey.com. “We’re both Russians. We’re pretty much the same age and if they’re going to win it will be his first time on the conference finals too.
“So, I’m pretty sure it will be special for both of us.”
Kovalchuk and Ovechkin have never faced each other in the playoffs, but are quite familiar with each other. They’ve played internationally for Russia at both the Olympics and World Hockey Championships — winning gold together in 2008 — and it was Kovalchuk that famously brokered the Ovechkin-Evgeni Malkin reconcilliation back in 2009:
From The Handshake to The Gatorade Squirt, the Ovechkin-Malkin kiss-and-make-up melodrama is easily the top story of the All Star weekend. Well, one thing you should probably know is who was behind the truce. It was none other than Ilya Kovalchuk, the noble southern gentleman and the upright family man that he is.
Friday night, during the dinner with other fellow All Stars, Kovalchuk got the two of them together and proposed to finalize the peace talks (which began earlier that day with the handshaking incident) and make it all official.
Needless to say things won’t be as peaceful should Kovalchuk and Ovechkin cross paths this time around.
“It will be the conference finals,” he explained. “I’m pretty sure everybody will be pumped up and ready to go.”
Ready to Roll: Oilers activate Schultz from IR, send down Reinhart
The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.
After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.
On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.
“Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”
The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Dubinsky to have hearing for cross-check on Crosby
As you can see in the above video, Dubinsky delivers a two-handed cross-check to Crosby’s neck, so the fact that he’s getting a hearing is no surprise.
“There’s no secret. I try to play him as hard as I can,” said Dubinsky. “That being said, I don’t try and do anything dirty. I felt like my stick ride up his back a little bit. He’s kind of bent over there in front. But again, that’s not the type of player I am. I’m going to play hard, but try and play fair and play in between the whistle.”
Crosby isn’t willing to give Dubinsky the benefit of the doubt.
#Pens Crosby on Dubinsky hit: I'm OK. I'm not surprised. If I was going to get one of those shots, it was going to be from him -SK