Some final round-up notes before I plunge headfirst into the IIHF tournament and replace Alex Ovechkin with Alex Owetschkin:
-Well, no better place to start than the news that Ovie accepted Russia’s invitation to play at Worlds. Luckily Germany already beat Russia when all they had was Nabokov and Kovalchuk. Russia still has one spot free on the roster, but neither Varlamov nor Semin were invited to take it. Popular thought is they’re waiting for the Red Wings to lose so they can invite Datsyuk (or, in German, Dazjuk).
-The burning question is, of course, whether or not Bruce Boudreau will get canned. George McPhee says no. Ryan Lambert (of The Two-Line Pass and regular contributor to Puck Daddy) says no, and you’re a moron for thinking that. Now I’ll admit that my knee-jerk reaction to pretty much every loss is FIRE BOUDREAU, but when I’ve sobered up I realize he’s not really the problem. Who took the team from sad sack to Southeast Division champs? Who won us a President’s Trophy? Who shook us up after dropping a 7-0 laugher to the Rangers, transforming us from “you score 5, we’ll score 6″ to actually having a modicum of defensive responsibility? His only failing as a coach is not being able to get the message to stick in the thick skulls of a hockey team. Besides, who would replace him? Ken Hitchcock? No thank you.
-Injury reports from Whyno: “Knuble had broken thumb, pins in it; Carlson hip pointer, Green him flexor, Ovechkin (undisclosed) worse than let on.” Knuble and Green both sat for games and Carlson was a little sloppy (though still one of our better defenseman), but I don’t buy the Ovechkin excuse, mainly because he’s going to Worlds. Of course, he also showed up for the Lightning series, so he doesn’t really have to make an excuse.
-Utterly without excuses: Nick Backstrom. I guess it’s honourable he’s not saying “well I had a broken hand and a bum knee and the chicken pox” but that just means we’re left asking what the hell happened. He did say his play was “so f**king frustrating,” but that doesn’t really help us, does it? (Edit: Apparently he re-injured his thumb during the New York series.)
-Mike Vogel says Wideman would’ve been ready to go if the series had gone to six or seven. Well, that’s great, Denny. Again, doesn’t really help us.
I know how you feel, Varly
-According to Slava Malamud (of Russia’s Sport Express), Varlamov would like to return, but doesn’t know what he’ll do if a big offer comes from the KHL. He is also torn up after being benched for the “first time in his career” and doesn’t seem to be dealing with it well. Varly apparently said it was a “good experience,” and I’ll let Malamud take it from there:
He started out saying PC thing (in English, no less), then smiled and repeated it sarcastically.
Oh boy. And because every poop sandwich needs a pickle, he wasn’t invited to Worlds because “Bykov is taking a harsh anti-NHL stance.” That sound you hear? It’s my heart breaking.
-With Nabokov out, the new Russian goalie is Vasiliy Koshechkin, whose name means “kitty” in Russian. There’s a delightful article about his mask at Puck Daddy. What does this have to do with the Capitals, you ask? Absolutely nothing, but who are you to argue with a kitten-themed goalie mask?
-Here’s the Pensblog Eulogy of the Caps on Puck Daddy. Like last year, instead of laughing and rolling my eyes, I nod my head sadly as I agree with nearly every word.
-Tom Poti’s career might be over. This is a self-indulgent bullet point, but I genuinely like Tom Poti for a lot of not-really-hockey-related reasons, and I wouldn’t like to see his career end on such a sour note.
-Are you rooting for team Germany at the IIHF WM? No? Well, would you like a reason to? Swing on by Hockey Abroad to check out my coverage of za Chermans.