In a wide-ranging interview with Sport.Business-gazeta.ru, translated by Raw Charge, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy talked about his Vezina Trophy nomination, the matchup against Washington in the Eastern Conference Final, and if he would participate in a goalie fight.
The entire translated interview is great, but there’s one noteworthy section where Vasilevskiy explains how he tried to plan for Alex Ovechkin’s ludicrous shot in the playoffs.
Maxim Nikerin: Did you analyze Ovechkin in the playoffs?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Yes, but I played against him before and know his shot and how he’s able to shoot from every position and how his shot is “radio-controlled.”
Maxim Nikerin: Could you explain?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Do you know how soccer players hit the ball and it’s changing trajectory during the flight? It’s the same with Ovechkin and his shot. It’s even harder to catch the puck when he’s shooting from long distance, because the puck can change its trajectory many times. I don’t know where he learned it, but he scores 50-60 goals every season. We talked with the coaching staff that we should try to reduce the number of his shots. Because I’m not the octopus to catch every one of his shots. It’s easier for me to play against such players as John Carlson, he’s got a powerful shot but it’s predictable. We tried it, but Alex is an experienced player and he knows how to make space to shoot. Don’t know where he learned it.
Maxim Nikerin: Probably in Dynamo Moscow!
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Ha! Don’t know, but he’s been playing in the NHL for 13 years, every goalie know what he’s going to do, but people still don’t know how to handle with Ovechkin. I’ve talked to many goalies, they’re all telling you the same thing: you’re almost catching the puck but it’s still falling through in the last second.
Ovechkin’s patented fluttering shot and stick have been the subject of intense fascination among goaltenders. He uses a whippier stick with a lower flex 87, and a “right at the end of legal” banana curve that makes it hard to read the puck coming off his stick.
“It just moves like crazy,” noted Braden Holtby. “If you really slow his shot down, you can see it move that little bit, you can see it cutting back. You see it over and over and you wonder why there’s movement, why the puck comes off certain ways.”
Ovi’s shot is also one of the hardest in the league, not only according to Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop’s takes, but also because he was the first forward in 16 years to win the NHL All-Star Game’s hardest shot competition with a 101.3 mile per hour bomb.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 28, 2018
Against the Leafs on Saturday, Ovechkin nailed a one timer 101 MPH as well.
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