Kuznetsov poses with the second-place silver platter. (Photo credit: Francois Laplante)
After defeating Canada 6-5 Tuesday, Team Russia returned to Calgary’s Saddledome on Thursday night to take on Sweden in the WJC’s gold medal game. Russia struggled from the get-go and only found their game in spurts during the third period.
The shot statistics tell the tale. Russia went without a shot on goal for the first 12:34 of the game, and at the end of the first period Sweden had outshot them 17 to 3.
The second period was even worse, as Russia managed to throw only one puck on net. By the end of the third period, Sweden held a 50 to 16 shot advantage. The game, however, remained scoreless.
In overtime, after outshooting Russia 8-1, Mika Zibanejad scored the golden goal on a breakaway, giving Sweden its first U-20 championship in 31 years. Caps prospect and captain of the Russian WJC team, Evgeny Kuznetsov, returned to the bench, crouched over, and weeped.
Ovi happy, Alzner sad. Pic’s blurry, but yet so very, very perfect. (Photo credit: Tarik El-Bashir)
Karl Alzner has been hating on everything Russian over the past week. First, he gave us low marks on RMNB’s “Caps Fans and Bad Habits” post. More recently, he bet against Team Russia in the WJC and the only Caps prospect in the tournament, Evgeny Kuznetsov. Why? So he could show allegiance to his Canadian homeland. Deplorable.
And that’s why the humility train made a quick stop at Kettler Capitals IcePlex. Alzner had to wear an ugly Russia jersey from the pits of Alex Ovechkin’s closet. Alzner wore the unsightly thing all practice long and described it as “the worst morning of my life.”
Lady Gaga and NYC Mayor Alex “the gr8” Bloomberg orchestrate the dropping of the ball.
Caps’ players certainly seemed happy this past weekend. How can you tell? With a Twitter account and a pair of binoculars. The guys were ragging on each other, answering fan questions, posting pictures, the whole shabangabang. I guess that’s what happens when you win four of six games and get Sunday off. Now that our hangovers have finally subsided, here’s a sobering recollection of those tweets.
Join me if you will, RMNB readers, and let’s take a journey into the complex social (network) lives of our favorite players.
Ovi celebrates an early powerplay goal. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
The Washington Capitals entered the new year with three wins in their rear-view and a convalesced Mike Green. Jarome Iginla and the Calgary Flames stopped in D.C. at the worst time.
Alex Ovechkin scored on the first shot of the night, a power play rocket one just 71 seconds in. Troy Brouwer crashed the net for number two, but Curtis Glencross got one back by snatching a behind-the-goal pass from Iginla. Nick Backstrom set up Dennis Wideman for the Caps’ third goal. Caps beat Flames 3-1.
“Hello, Calgary Epicure Cigar and Pipe, may I help you?”
“Yeah, do you have Prince Alberta in a can? Bwahahahaha!!!”
The Puck Drop: So OK, we’re not proud of how we began our New Year. I mean, sure, it coulda been worse. We could’ve been busted by Johnny Law for something terrible and unimaginable like lighting off illegal fireworks. But, lol, who would do a dumb thing like that? Not us, that’s for sure!
Even though we did have cause to celebrate. Saturday night, when most sensible people were guzzling cheap booze and taking birth control, we were warming ourselves in the comforting glow of the Sony widescreen, watching as Ovi and Nicky and Wides and the rest shook off their end-of-year slumbers and handily downed the Blue Jackets in their own barn; ensuring that for at least the 18,000 gathered at Nationwide Arena it would be a crummy NYE. (Never, by the way, was there a more aptly named stadium for Columbus than Nation Wide.)
Photo credit: Jamie Sabau
Everyone always has such lofty expectations for New Years Eve. It’s supposed to be a climax, the culmination of the year,whatever. But it’s usually such a letdown, like most of tonight’s battle between the Washington Capitals and league-worst Columbus Blue Jackets. The Caps were disinterested and the Jackets were frustrating until the third act, when Washington injected some drama into the proceedings.
Despite a late flurry from Columbus, the Caps ended the first period unscathed. They weren’t so lucky in the second, as John Moore and Sammy Pahlsson both struck for goals. Alex Ovechkin got one back in the third, finishing off a long sequence in the Columbus zone. Alex Semin tied it up with a lovely lob under the bar. Dennis Wideman got the go-ahead just a few seconds later. Ovechkin converted on a power play.
Photo credit: Mitchell Layton
After the Capitals’ somewhat easy 4-1 victory over the Eastern Conference’s best team Wednesday, Nicklas Backstrom spoke to Versus’ Pierre McGuire. In explaining the team’s troubles this year, Backstrom said, “I think we haven’t been working hard enough. Everybody has to commit and do their job, and that’s what we haven’t been doing.”
It’s hard to express optimism that the Caps have finally turned the corner, if they can’t string a couple of solid victories together, and — you know — actually turn the corner. Would they bring the energy again in their second match-up in three games against the Buffalo Sabres, a team who has given the Caps fits all year?
You tell me. Photo recap time!
Alex Ovechkin appeals to the ref. (Photo credit: Bill Wippert)
The Washington Capitals might have had too much figgy pudding, as their post-Christmas match-up with the Buffalo Sabres was one of their ugliest of the season. Maybe the worst.
Exactly how bad was it? So bad that we’re exercising The Option. The option is an obscure RMNB bylaw that allows us to not really write about a game because it was so wretched our primitive language cannot adequately describe it.
We issued a challenge, oh faithful users of the Russian Machine, to create Caps-themed Christmas cards. The only rule: use an inferior graphics program or blingee.com to make it.
What we avoided telling you — just like my parents who took 14 years to come clean to me about the whole Santa thing (he IS real) — was that we didn’t have to follow the same rules. Above, is our holiday card by RMNB’s house illustrator, Rachel Cohen.
Meanwhile, you guys rocked this assignment harder than a Dmitry Orlov hip check. Though, to be honest, some of these submissions might land you on Santa’s naughty list once I post this. I apologize beforehand. Cruise on past the jump to check out the gallery and see what I mean.
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