Tag: Alex Ovechkin

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

PHT Morning Skates: Stars weigh in on offensive decline, possible solutions


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews, and Alex Ovechkin offered their thoughts on why we’ve seen a decline in scoring in the NHL since the cap era’s 2005-06 debut season and what might be done to help bolster the game offensively. (Toronto Sun)

For those interested in what could have been, here’s a look at the Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup champion memorabilia that never was. (The Hockey News)

While we’re on the subject of champions, here’s an interactive timeline of how the 2014-15 Chicago Blackhawks were built. (Puck Junk)

Should Buffalo Sabres fans temper their short-term expectations for Jack Eichel? (Buffalo News)

Tyler Seguin is set to be the 11th hockey player to be included in ESPN’s ‘Body Issue’. (TSN)

Here’s Puck Daddy’s Top 20 UFA list. (Puck Daddy)

Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win


Matt Duchene didn’t beat around the bush when asked about much of the Russian team storming off during Canada’s gold medal celebration and national anthem at the Worlds. He made it clear to Sportsnet 590 The Fan that he didn’t take the slight lightly.

“I’ve lost in that tournament three times, and twice was to Russia. We stood out and listened to their anthem,” Duchene said.

“We would never have dreamed of skating off the ice.”

It’s been made clear that some Russian players did stay out during Canada’s anthem, including Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. Duchene said that their gesture didn’t go unnoticed, and “that spoke to a lot of us” on Canada’s team.

He has harsh words for those who bolted, though.

MORE: Russia will be punished for “out of order” actions.

Apparently Jason Spezza relayed a story to Duchene regarding alleged poor sportsmanship from Alex Radulov that won’t exactly simmer things down:

“The one time he was saying that [Alexander] Radulov in Halifax was skating right by them, jumping on the boards with the Russian flag. [Canadian] guys were real close to leaving the blueline and go take a run at him,” Duchene said.

“Over time, you gotta pay it back. You can’t celebrate like that when you win and not respect when you lose. That’s something as Canadians we have a good understanding of. Some of the Russians did; some of them didn’t.”


With Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk in the KHL (for now?), we might not see Duchene and most of the Russian players involved on the same sheet of ice until the next opportunity in international competition. (Surely he can single a player or two out, but some may point to Radulov and Kovalchuk in particular.)

Specifics aside, this incident adds a little spice and a lot of bitterness to the Canada – Russia hockey rivalry.

Check out highlights of Canada’s lopsided 2015 World Hockey Championships gold medal win below.

Nash, St. Louis break out in a big way during Game 4

Rick Nash

After the Rangers’ 2-1 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, the question of if New York could keep this up was raised. To that point the Rangers had been averaging just two goals per game and while they had been getting results with that minimal offensive output, there hasn’t been a team dating back to 1998 that’s won the Stanley Cup with an offense that anemic.

The three contests that have followed have been wild and a complete deviation from the type of games that we saw in the Rangers’ first two rounds. The sheer number of offensive weapons at the Lightning’s disposal has made them hard for the Rangers to contain even after their strong showings against Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins and Alex Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals. However, the Rangers were able to nearly match the Lightning blow-for-blow in Game 3 and then in Game 4 everything worked out for New York in a 5-1 victory.

The fact that the Rangers are scoring is big by itself, but it’s the players that stepped up that has to be particularly encouraging for them. Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis are star forwards, but they haven’t been major factors offensively in the playoffs. That changed in Game 4 when they combined for three goals and four points.

That has to be a relief for both of them.

“The games keep piling on, you get chances — of course you’re pressing,” said St. Louis, per the Tampa Bay Times. “The guys who tell you they don’t press, they’re lying.”

He also admitted that ended a goal drought gives him “a second wind,” per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

The question now is if Nash and St. Louis can build off of Friday’s strong showing. If they can, then Tampa Bay will have a tough time winning this series. However, the Lightning remain a dangerous team and if two of the Rangers’ top forwards immediately go cold again, then that could be a serious problem for New York.

Coach Cooper explains why Stamkos is a winger now

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game One

The best thing about playing the wing is that you don’t have the same defensive responsibilities that centers do.

That’s the lazy man’s take, at least. (And coming from a blogger, an appropriate one.)

But it’s also why Steven Stamkos has been shifted to the wing, according to Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

“The one thing I thought, he’s spending too much time in the [defensive] zone, and he’s spending way too much energy down there,” Cooper said this morning ahead of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final versus the Rangers.

“So to free him up a little bit, and let him get out of the zone a little faster and not have to play the whole 200 feet, I thought was something that was going to save his legs and give him a little more time.”

Lately, Stamkos has been centered by Valtteri Filppula, with Alex Killorn on the opposite wing.

“To have a player like Fil who can control the puck the way he does, ” said Cooper, “he sees the ice, he can get those pucks to Stammer. He’s somebody that transports the puck really well.”

Frankly, Stamkos has always struck me more as a winger than a center. The three forwards that had the most shots during the regular season (Alex Ovechkin, Rick Nash, Max Pacioeretty) are all wingers. It’s a position that lends itself to players with good shots, and Stamkos certainly has one of those. He just needs more opportunities to use it.

Related: Stamkos doesn’t mind winging it

In case you haven’t noticed, the NHL is a young man’s game


Just for the sake of the discussion — and since everyone’s talking about Tyler Johnson today — here are all the players who have scored at least five goals in these playoffs:

Johnson (11), Corey Perry (7), Patrick Kane (7), Nikita Kucherov (6), Chris Kreider (6), Vladimir Tarasenko (6), Alex Killorn (6), Derek Stepan (5), Alex Ovechkin (5), Derick Brassard (5), Evgeny Kuznetsov (5), Max Pacioretty (5), Matt Beleskey (5), and Colin Wilson (5).

That’s 14 players. Can you pick out the oldest?

The answer is Anaheim’s Perry, who turned 30 on Saturday. Only slightly younger than Perry, Ovechkin will turn 30 in September.

Otherwise, it’s all players who are comfortably in their 20s, their legs still full of burst, their bodies not yet worn down by the grind of taking hundreds of pucks hard to the net, and all the punishment that goes with scoring goals in today’s NHL.

This isn’t to say that once a goal-scorer turns 30 he should be put out to pasture, like the theory about running backs in the NFL. Marian Gaborik, Justin Williams, and Martin St. Louis all had productive postseasons last year. This year is perhaps an extreme case.

But it does show the importance of youth, and how quickly a player — especially a forward — can go from getting drafted to making a significant impact.

True, patience is required when developing prospects. You don’t want to rush them. There’s nothing wrong with learning the game in the AHL. But at the same time, there has to be a sense of urgency in getting prospects ready for the NHL so they can enjoy as many productive seasons as possible, before their peak years (at a relatively low cap hit) are over.

Hence, all the talk surrounding 20-year-old Jonathan Drouin. While it’s not like the Lightning should be hitting the panic button that he hasn’t yet gained the trust of his coach, it’s not unfair to wonder if he’s fallen a bit behind in his development.

In a related story, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan knows “the next three or four years is the window” in Washington. Because, where will Ovechkin’s game be after that? Where will Nicklas Backstrom’s? The Caps have an opportunity over the next few years to get production from both their veterans and their youth. That’s the sweet spot every GM aims for. And those sweet spots don’t last long.