While Alex Ovechkin is standing by his guarantee that the Washington Capitals will beat New York in Game 7, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault delivered what can be interpreted as a not-so-subtle jab at such promises.
“We need to let our actions do the talking,” Vigneault said, per the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard.
Which is fair because that’s really what this will come down to. This pregame banter is the appetizer, but it will only be memorable in the context of what happens in Game 7. If Washington wins then Ovechkin’s promises will likely be credited with motivating the team. If Ovechkin in particular has a strong game then it could be seen as the biggest performance of his career, in part due to his overall lack of playoff success.
That lack of favorable postseason results is probably at least part of the reason why Ovechkin’s statement has attracted so much attention and why Washington has perhaps gotten more attention than New York. Ovechkin is one of the best players of this era, but he hasn’t been able to lead Washington to the Stanley Cup. He’ll turn 30 in September and hockey fans are wondering when or if Ovechkin will ever win it all.
He’s not the only superstar fighting for his first championship though. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been further than Ovechkin in the playoffs, but the result is the same. Lundqvist is 33 years old and hasn’t won the Stanley Cup yet despite an otherwise tremendous career.
Both players have a chance to achieve their ultimate goal this year, but one of them will be forced to start from scratch yet again with a loss on Wednesday.
Lundqvist: "I don’t think anything about what people are saying, opponents are saying. It doesn’t really matter, & I don’t really care."
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.
As the consensus No. 2 pick at this June’s NHL Draft Jack Eichel is likely headed to the Buffalo Sabres. An IIHF reporter decided to see what the Boston University product would look like in some Sabres’ gear during a recent interview and things got a bit awkward. (Bar Down)
Devan Dubnyk, Andrew Hammond and Karri Ramo are among goaltenders set to become unrestricted free agents. Brian Costello sizes up this summer’s free agent goalie class. (The Hockey News)
During an off-day practice at the World Hockey Championship Jaromir Jagr’s teammate Jakub Klepis decided to wear a vintage Jagr Penguins’ jersey perhaps in the hopes to have the 42-year-old’s skill rub off. (Bar Down)
Henrik Lundqvist received the team’s broadway hat from captain Ryan McDonagh following Sunday’s Game 6 win.
Here’s a look at the goals of the week courtesy of Sportsnet:
As mentioned above, things didn’t start especially well for Rinne at this year’s tourney. He opened with a 5-1 loss to the U.S. on the first day of competition but got better — and in a hurry — following up that loss with wins over Denmark (3-0), Norway (5-0) and Slovenia (4-0).
In Finland’s last game, a 3-0 win over Slovakia, backup Juuse Saros got the nod.
Rinne’s shutout record at the Worlds is a feather in the cap of a pretty successful campaign. The Preds netminder earned his third career Vezina nomination on the strength of a 41-17-6 record, .923 save percentage, 2.18 GAA and four shutouts. The 41 were were two off his career-high, set in 2011-12 (when he finished behind Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick in Vezina voting.)