26 November 2008 – Ovechkin Takes A Puck Hit

11/28/2008 D. Popov, D. Sinitsyn

11/26/2008 D. Popov, D. Sinitsyn

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Washington has lost their third game in a row. Alexander Ovechkin scored a goal, but it is a miracle he didn’t fracture his leg when it was his with a puck. In talking with reporters from Sovietsky Sport, Viktor Kozlov indirectly confirmed that all NHL players salaries will take a 13.5% hit this season

KOZLOV: “THEY’LL HIT THE SORE SPOTS”

Minnesota has rarely hosted Washington on their home ice, but all four times they have invariably won. This meeting was no exception. The home team smashed the Capitals until the 55th minute, with a score of 4:0. Ovechkin’s team was able to score three goals in the final five minutes, and that was all.

The Wild scored their third goal in a 5-on-3 power play. In a 27 second time span, the referees twice penalized the Capitals with a seldom called penalty. First Poti and then Ovechkin were called for putting their glove around the puck, which is a delay of game penalty.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this in America, where two players are expelled from the ice almost simultaneously for the same foul. But I’ve seen something like that in Russia before” said Washington forward Viktor Kozlov, who played on the line with Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. By the way, Minnesota had their own Nicklas Backstrom– a goalie. But he is a Finn and the Capital’s forward is a Swede. They have nothing in common except the same names.

-What is going on with Washington? The team has lost three games in a row.

“We have a lot of injured players. But we need to win even without them. We are playing an interesting, open style of hockey which the fans seem to like, but we are misfiring on defense. In addition to that we had a very difficult schedule. We had to play three games in four days while traveling. Then we have to return home and once again play three games in four days. This is a regular fall marathon.”

-This year the NHL is allowing teams to not disclose the exact injuries to a player. They just make nebulous statements like “upper or lower body injuries”. What’s the deal with that?

“I understand that the fans want to know everything about a player, but it’s not worth it to give away secrets to the other teams. You’ll always find an opponent who will go out of their way to hit you in the sore spot.”

-You’ve also not been immune to injuries this season.

“Yes, at the beginning of the season I had to miss a few games due to a knee injury. Even now I go out on the ice wearing a supporting guard, but I’ll be able to take it off in a few days.”

-The newspapers are reporting that the NHL players won’t get back the 13.5% of their salaries this season, which have been placed in an escrow fund.

“That’s not dependent on us. There is an agreement between the league and the players union. What can we do?”

OVECHKIN: “I DON’T WORRY ABOUT STATISTICS”

The number two goal scorer in the league, Alexander Semin, took part in the morning skate with Washington, but in the end missed his fifth game in a row. He was seriously upset about the state of affairs. “It is difficult to watch the games from the sidelines. I wish I could be out there on the ice tomorrow, but my injury…what kind? Upper body.” More generally, the shoulder.

In the Washington locker room after the game, their main star was hardly pleased. At the start of the second period Ovechkin bravely laid in front of a shot from a Minnesota defender. The puck hit in the thinly padded area of the leg near the ankle. Alexander limped to the bench with difficulty, where he writhed in pain for some time. Nonetheless he continued playing. When the game was over, he spent ten minutes in the doctor’s office, leaving there with an ice pack on his leg.

“We had a chance to save this game, but we woke up too late” sighed Alexander the Great when the reporters approached him. “We took unnecessary penalties, and we had to play defense on the penalty kill..”

-Up until today there were only three teams which you have not scored against– Los Angeles, San Jose and Minnesota. Now you can mark the Wild off that list.

“I don’t get excited about personal statistics. Currently we are in first place in the division, but we need wins and we need goals. And who is going to make these goals? It doesn’t make any difference to me.” said Ovechkin as he cut us off.

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