Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ovi Having Fun, But Is Mindful Of Caps' Next Game

The NHL All Star Game is a time for fun and relaxation. A time to see players let down their guard and see them in a different light. At the Bell Centre in Montreal, players have a chance to showcase their skills in a non pressure atmosphere. They are not worried about a coach bearing down on them.

While it is a welcome break in the middle of the season, Alex Ovechkin is still mindful of the next challenge in front of the Washington Capitals. In an interview with TSN following his win in the Breakaway Challenge, apart of the Honda Super Skills competition, Ovechkin listed his priorities.

TSN: What can we expect from you [in the All Star Game]?

Ovi: Score a couple of goals, then go back in Boston and beat Boston.

The Capitals are ten points from Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins. They have also yet to play in Boston. The Caps have defeated Boston both times in their regular season match ups (the Bruins did beat the Caps in preseason action). If they want to catch the Bruins for lead in the Conference, they will have to win these regular season tilts in regulation.

Ovechkin is frank about his intentions. It's okay to have fun here, but it's back to business as soon as the the All Star Game concludes. It is also a call to his teammates who most are taking it easy this week (although a few Caps were spotted at Kettler to get in some ice time during their time off).

The Caps next official practice will be in Boston at Boston College's facility. One of the many things they will be working on recommitting on the penalty kill that has let in a least a power play goal in the past 9 games. In their loss to Ottawa, all three goals were scored when the Capitals were a man down.

The game in Boston will be much like a playoff game. Boston will want to keep it's winning ways going and the Capitals are looking to make up some ground.

NHL ASG Notes:
  • The passing fued between Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin seems to have subsided for the All Star Game weekend. Both were seen talking to one another, shaking hands and Malkin helping Ovechkin with his props in the Breakaway Challenge. "Before he never talk to me," Malkin said in broken English, "Now, he talks all the time."

  • Zdeno Chara won the hardest shot competition beating out then Washington Capital Al Iafrate (or Al "I'd be" Iafrate). Although Iafrate did do it with a wooden stick.

  • While the crowds showed up in force in Montreal, the crowd seemed lathargic through out the skills competition. Chara's hardest shot and Ovechkin's antics seemed to get the biggest cheers from the crowd, but for the most part the die hard crowd seemed bored through much of the night.

  • Tim Thomas is a nice enough guy, but a horrible interview. In every interview he did, he was akin more to a deer caught in the headlights. Although credit him with at least thinking before speaking, even it's taking a minute or two after the question is asked.

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