Tag: Alex Ovechkin


WATCH LIVE: U.S. vs. Russia (2015 WHC semifinal)


Alex Ovechkin is barely removed from a painful Game 7 loss with the Washington Capitals, but he gets a chance to win big with his home country on Saturday.

Ovechkin and Team Russia take on Jack Eichel (pictured) and the U.S. team in the second semifinal game of the 2015 World Hockey Championships, which you can stream via the link below.


The winner of this game will face a star-packed Canadian squad in the championship round on Sunday.

Late 2015 WHC registrations: Ovechkin for Russia, Plekanec for Czech Republic

Tomas Plekanec of Czech Republic (R) fig

The IIHF announced two (rather late?) registrations for the 2015 World Championships: Alex Ovechkin for Russia and Tomas Plekanec for the Czech Republic.

Their respective teams are in the semifinal games today. Russia takes on the U.S. while the Czech Republic faces Canada in mere moments.

Neither player is all that far removed from painful NHL postseason losses. In the case of Plekanec, he’s had some nice chemistry with Jagr in previous international play, but No. 68 has a career-high six goals in the tournament, so they might not mess with that.

Stream Canada – Czech Republic below:


Chicago’s Panarin: Russia in ‘fighting mood’ to face U.S., wants to ‘teach those college kids a lesson’

Artemi Panarin

Newly-signed Blackhawks and Team Russia forward Artemi Panarin had some choice words for his upcoming semifinal opponent at the World Hockey Championships, after dispatching of Sweden on Thursday:

Russia advanced to face the U.S. on the strength of a 5-3 win quarterfinal against the Swedes, in which Panarin failed to score — a rarity for the 23-year-old, who has five goals and 10 points through eight games this tournament.

Regarded as one of the most skilled players in the KHL, Panarin signed a two-year pact with Chicago on May 1 and is expected to be with the team to start next season. That deal, combined with his scoring exploits at the Worlds, could be why he’s brimming with confidence heading into the semis; Panarin is also likely pleased that Washington captain Alex Ovechkin will join Team Russia in time for Saturday’s tilt against the U.S., which you can watch on NBCSN.

As for the “college kids” comment… Panarin is (presumably) referring to the four NCAA products currently suiting up for Team USA: Jack Eichel (Boston University), Jimmy Vesey (Harvard), Mike Reilly (University of Minnesota) and Dylan Larkin (University of Michigan.) Yale goalie Alex Lyon is also on the squad, but has yet to play and sits third on the depth chart behind Jack Campbell and Connor Hellebuyck.

Russia knocks off Sweden, will face U.S. Saturday in worlds semifinal

Yevgeni Malkin, Jhonas Enroth

Two goals by Evgeni Malkin and one by Vladimir Tarasenko helped Russia to a 5-3 victory over Sweden today at the world hockey championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

The result sets up a semifinal between Russia and the United States on Saturday in Prague.

Russia is expected to have Alex Ovechkin in the lineup against the Americans, who defeated Switzerland today.

Canada, after hammering Belarus, will face the Czechs in the other semifinal on Saturday. The hosts got a late goal from Jaromir Jagr to help them defeat the Finns, 5-3, today.

The gold-medal game goes Sunday in Prague.

Russia is the defending gold-medal winner at the worlds. The United States was last crowned world champion in 1960, at the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.

What’s next for Ovechkin?


It happened again; the Washington Capitals fostered high hopes, but Alex Ovechkin & Co. fell short of the conference finals.

That doesn’t mean he’s getting the same heat he once did for a playoff exit, however. Mike Milbury and Keith Jones believe that he didn’t have the same burst in Game 7, yet they acknowledged his hard work, as many others have:

(Meanwhile, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz was downright effusive about his high opinion of the work from Ovechkin and Washington’s other top players.)

Perhaps deep down it’s all about the humanizing affect of some gray hairs?

Will the returns diminish?

Of course, that graying hair brings up a troubling question: what if Ovechkin’s best days are behind him?

He’ll turn 30 during the offseason, and as blogger-turned-front-office-employee Eric Tulsky once pointed out, things tend to really slide when you pass the big three-oh:

In addition, we now have an estimate of how even strength scoring ability changes through a player’s 30’s. On average, players retain about 90% of their scoring through age 29, but the drop from there is pretty sharp — they hit 80% at age 31, 70% at age 32-33, and 60% at age 35.

The easy counter is that Ovechkin isn’t like other snipers.

He’s a special player who could very well live off of his ridiculous power-play shooting. Then again, there’s also the wear-and-tear of being one of the most physical star forwards of his generation. It’s estimated that Ovechkin has thrown 1,224 hits since 2009-10; that’s a ton of extra collisions, even if his opponent received the brunt of the impact in every instance. His reckless style might lose some of its appeal as he goes grayer.

What we know happens next and what we don’t

For one thing, it’s clear there will be no rest for the weary:

That might be a bit challenging for a guy who seemed spent after Game 7:

Anyway, the biggest question marks revolve around the makeup of a Capitals team that may look very different in 2015-16. The impression is that one or more of key free agents such as Joel Ward and Mike Green may not return. It’s also clear that RFA Braden Holtby’s impending raise could make Washington’s estimated $21 million in cap space look like an illusion.

As much as Barry Trotz may request even more defensive prowess, Washington would be wise to focus on giving Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom a little more support. Just look at the drop-off in production after those two:


Ovechkin – 79 points
Backstrom – 79 points
Joel Ward – 49 points
Marcus Johansson – 44 points
Troy Brouwer – 43 points


Ovechkin – 81 points
Backstrom – 78 points
John Carlson – 55 points
Johansson – 47 points
Mike Green – 45 points

It’s plausible that Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov might make big strides next season, but one could argue that the Caps should still shop for more offensive help.


Long story short, Ovechkin is likely to remain a star for some time, yet Washington has to hope that he defies broader stats about snipers falling sharply after they turn 30. It should be fascinating to see if all the talk about growth ends up being justified, especially for “The Great Eight.”