Monday, May 19, 2008

In Case You Hadn't Heard...

...Russia won gold at the World Championships thanks to an Ilya Kovalchuk overtime snapper. Alex Ovechkin had the primary assist on the game winner and Canadian hearts are breaking everywhere. Although, I don't really sympathize with our neighbors to the north, remember 2002? Yea, I do. Sucks doesn't it.

What is more exciting than Russia winning the gold and three Capitals players with some big points in the process, is the rivalry starting between Canada and Russia. It's making for some very exciting hockey on the international stage. Maybe NBC would have gotten better ratings showing the gold medal game rather than a Penguins blow out? Hmmm.

I guess that is the frustrating part, here was a game for the ages. Russia down 4-2 going into the third period. Canada look to have the gold in their back pockets when it all fell apart. In the end when the dust settled, the Russians win 5-4 in overtime in an instant classic game. Yet, not a single channel on the US dial carried the broadcast. That was a shame.

It was the best hockey I witnessed in some time on the international level. I don't think the Canadian players should have been so down hearted, they played a hell of a game and in the end they retain the number one spot in the IIHF world rankings. Not too shabby.

If you haven't seen the entire game, I urge you to do so. has been awesome in their coverage of the tournament. You can check out the game in it's entirety here. If you just want the highlights, you can go here instead.

Alex Semin was the tournament's point leader as far as Capitals' players are concerned. He had 6 goals and 13 points, including two goals in the gold medal game. Ovechkin, Sergei Fedorov and Mike Green all had a great tournament and tied in points. Ovie had 6 goals and 12 points, Green had 8 assists and 12 points, Fedorov had 5 goals and 12 points.

While everyone talked about the domination of the Ryan Getzlaf, Rick Nash, Danny Heatley line, it was the Capital connection of Semin, Ovechkin and Fedorov that seemed to steal the show in the end. Throughout the tournament the three of them combined for 49 points, and a +32.

Other Capitals in the tournament:

Tomas Fleischmann CZE - 7 GP, 2 goals, 5 points, +6
Sammi Lepisto FIN - 7 GP, a goal and an assist, +2
Cristobal Huet FRA - 5 GP, 91.12 save%, 3.60 goals against
Nicklas Backstrom SWE - 9 GP, 3 goals and 7 points, +1

As far as Team USA's early exit, that is a hard draw to play the Finns twice and two very heartbreaking games. But the young core can only get better, and maybe good things are in store come 2010 in Vancouver. I still would have liked to see Craig Anderson in the net a bit more, and Tim Thomas' injury I think hindered a chance at a medal. Not that Robert Esche is a bad goaltender, it just would have been nice to see a fresh face in the US net.

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