The Russians are coming! – TTG


Nope. Nothing political. No elections. No fake news. Just hockey. The greatest sport in the entire world. Last night the Pittsburgh Penguins came to a sold out Verizon Center here in Washington DC to face their arch-rivals, the Washington Capitals. The air was electric. Alexander Ovechkin, the face of the Capitals, no, the face of the NHL, was poised to score his 1,000th NHL career point and cement his position as a hockey legend.

Only 35 seconds into the first period, “Ovi’s favorite assist man Nick Backstrom got him into the offensive zone, and then Ovi took it from there. A spectacular move to center and an even better shot.” OVI SCOARS!! The crowd goes wild. Well, even more wild than it normally does. Listen to John Walton call it. 

Ovi went on to score a second goal and the Caps beat the Penguins 5-2. The Caps moved into second place in the league. What a night.


Among many other things, Ovi is famous for answering “Russian machine never breaks” when asked about a potential injury after being hit with a puck. He barely spoke English at the time. Ovi is as tough as T-34.

He comes from good stock. This is part of an interview with Mama Ovechkina in today’s “Sovetskii Sport.” 

"Pavel Lysenkov: What did this 1000th point mean for you? Only four Russians have ever reached this level – aside from Ovechkin, Kovalev, Mogilny and Fedorov.

Tatyana Ovechkina: I am not thinking a whole lot about Kovalev and Fedorov scoring. I am more interested in my son. I am glad he got his 1000th point and accomplished this minimum task.

Pavel Lysenkov: And what is the maximum?

Tatyana Ovechkina: The Stanley Cup, of course. You know that. I am happy for our other guys who played so well in the NHL, Fedorov and the rest. But I am even happier for my son. 

Pavel Lysenkov: Now Ovechkin is the headline news on every website, the face on every newspaper front page tomorrow.

Tatyana Ovechkina: Please don’t focus your attention on that. He scored, and forgot about it. You know, I really don’t like all this fuss, don’t give interviews often. Let Sasha play, and that’s it. Nothing else."

Na pravda, Mama Ovechkina, na pravda. “Let Sasha play, and that’s it. Nothing else.”



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24 Responses to The Russians are coming! – TTG

  1. Chris Chuba says:

    Can I get my post in here because it has the word ‘Russia’ in it?
    I just watched Krauthammer on the very excellent Tucker Carlson show and he chortled that the fake Buzzfeed story was Russian disinformation straight from the Kremlin. He kept interjecting that comment at random points throughout the entire segment with that smug know-it-all look and tone that he has. I find his demeanor so annoying.
    In any case, since the British guy produced the actual report shouldn’t he be responsible for its content until proven otherwise before we blame the Kremlin? The most straightforward explanation, at least to me, is that when he started noodling around, he asked leading questions and once the locals figured out that they could make a quick buck, told him what he wanted to hear. He’s supposed to be able to filter out the garbage from the real stuff but money talks ([chortle] I have a smug know-it-all look on my face).

  2. Paul Escobar says:

    To all,
    There is a further context to this story. And perhaps this explains Mama Ovechkina’s unimpressed posture.
    The Capitals are supposed to be a playoff team.
    Ovechkin is supposed to be one of the highest point scorers.
    But this year, both began the year abysmally. Ovi just wasn’t scoring. The Cap’s just weren’t winning. It looked like neither would make it to the playoffs. Many wrote them off this year.
    What we are witnessing now is an epic turn-around. They are only a point behind Columbus for the division lead.
    Columbus, as those of you from Ohio have surely heard…are an even bigger turnaround story. And similarly, Columbus’ story is inextricably tied to their Russian Machine Who Won’t Break: Sergei Bobrovsky.
    Suck it Lindsey Graham!,

  3. rusti says:

    How fun to discover that TTG is a hockey guy! I’m glad that “Bäckis” got the assist on the milestone goal. The Russians certainly have a knack for producing electrifying offensive talents, from Kovalev to Datsyuk to Tarasenko. More exciting than our steady production of stable 2-way defensemen here in Sweden.
    Do you think Laine, McDavid, or Matthews will ever put up Ovechkin-like 50-60 goal seasons?

  4. Russ Wagenfeld says:

    TTG ,
    A great player no doubt. But can his team win the Cup? Meanwhile I was watching my Bruins out shoot and out play Nashville and still lnot win. A familiar occurrence..russ

  5. Fred says:

    Russians in D.C. working to make America home of the Stanley Cup? Take that Justin Trudeau!

  6. rusti,
    Played pond hockey as a youngster. We all did. In college, hockey was everything. Most fraternities were able to field two teams in two different leagues. We had two rinks that had these intramural games going day and night. We even built a rink in the front yard of our fraternity every winter.
    We’ll see if any of these youngsters can take the place of Ovi. Records are made to be broken. Laine’s off to a good start, but Ovi is just a freak of nature. I’m just enjoying him while he’s around.

  7. mike says:

    We had a local park that was half ball diamond and half blacktopped with basketball hoops. The fire department would flood it every January. The ice was rutted and knobby in places but still serviceable. I used my uncle’s skates, had to stuff newspapers in the toes.

  8. Eric Newhill says:

    I would have never guesses that you’re a hockey fan! I love the sport. Played from 5 or 6 years old. Watched Gordie Howe in his final years with the red Wings and went to his hockey camp in the summers. On ice instruction from one of the greats! Went on to be the captain of our state champion high school team and then spent two years playing in the junior A league trying to get recruited for the pros; which, sadly, never happened. I even got a very nice letter from West Point strongly encouraging me to check out their team and consider applying to the military academy – another opportunity that didn’t pan out (failed the physical, of all things – embarrassing, but had pretty bad acne on my back and shoulders; the cost of high T, I guess).
    Anyhow, as you might imagine, I’m a huge Detroit Red Wings fan.
    Agree that hockey is the best team sport on the planet.

  9. Eric Newhill,
    Learning from Gordie Howe. Wow! You were a serious skater. I was just a dilettante, but I did have a mean hip check. During one of ROTC tri-service tournaments, I sent an Andre the Giant-looking midshipman ass over tea kettle. He took a long time to get back up. The Marine major called me a wild animal on the spot. He and the Gunny were always trying to get me to transfer to their program.
    Red Wings, Blackhawks and Canadiens. That’s who I think of when I think of the royalty of hockey.

  10. Paul Escobar says:

    Ugh! Look at what depths my beloved Pred’s have sunk to. A Boston fan…a Boston fan!…can can casually bemoan that his team “outplayed” & “outshot” Nashville.
    We have possibly the finest goalie. The most dymanic defensive core in the league. A young Swedish superstar in Filip Forsberg.
    Yet none of it is clicking this year. Filip won’t score. The defense & Rinne leak goals at the worst moments. As a result Nashville currently chases the second wildcard spot. Meanwhile Boston…freaking Boston!…sits pretty at #2 in the Atlantic & holds a playoff spot.
    2017 sucks!,

  11. Eric Newhill says:

    I was a left wing, but sometimes filled in as a center. I like forwards that aren’t afraid to go into the corners and get rough and dig the puck out, leaving the opposing defensemen a little hesitant to do their job the next time. I always thought that Wayne Gretsky was too much of a prima donna. Ovechkin, though, he’s rough and tumble. Great player.
    Red Wings, Blackhawks and Canadiens…..yep.

  12. Lars says:

    As a youngster, I played in one of the toughest leagues in the world, the Stockholm Cup. No refs until you got to the play offs, if you could make it. Left a lot of blood on the ice, as did everybody else. We did not have all the equipment they have nowadays.
    It is a great game and there is any number of teams that can go all the way.

  13. Paul Escobar says:

    Re: McDavid, Matthews & Laine
    The consensus is that these three have what it takes to reach 40 goals. 50-60 seasons could happen, but it could only occur in exceptional circumstances (read: solid linemates, lots of powerplay time).
    The reason Matthews & McDavid won’t hit those numbers this year (and probably the next few years) is because their linemates are weak. They are also on “rebuilding” teams who prioritize systems & positional play (which hampers the risk-taking required for 50-60 goal seasons).
    Laine has the best chance. He had solid linemates. He has all the ice-time he can handle. He is trusted by the coaches to take risks. Sadly, the head-to-head collision with Buffalo’s Jake McCabe took him out. Now we may never know. Hits like these are liable to have lasting effects on the psychology & even ability of these finesse players.
    I do hope Patrik Laine recovers…and continues punishing those dastardly Toronto Maple Leafs for passing on him:

  14. GarrettK says:

    I’m up in Bruins country but a big Caps fan. I have the NHL Network (can even watch on my iPhone on the T!) and catch all the Caps games available. Ovi is amazing and as Mike Millbury (who lives in my town, btw) said after the Pens game, he’s in the all-time top 5. I wonder how many goalies get psychologically paralyzed when in their peripheral vision they see number 8 hovering around the top of the right-side faceoff circle? I’ll be watching Caps-Hawks game tonight for sure.

  15. Lars,
    That’s pretty hard corps. I hear ya about the lack of equipment. The only safety equipment required in our intramural leagues was a helmet of minimal construction and a mouthguard. At least we had two refs per game to prevent fights and provide some added discipline. After only a few games in my first season, I stopped a slap shot about two inches above the little TTG. I let out a primeval grunt and vowed to exchange the jockstrap for a cup before the next game. I ended up with a perfectly puck shaped bruise. nothing more. I even upgraded to shin pads and gloves. This was in the 70s.

  16. Keith Harbaugh says:

    To be a Caps fan, with their playoff record, you would seem to enjoy frustration.
    A variation on George Washington:
    First in the regular series, last in the playoffs.
    The Penguins and Rangers seem to have their number.
    The Caps have a uniform record of choking in the playoffs.
    You (at least I) would think at least once in the recent past
    they would have made the Stanley Cup finals (last appearance in 1998!).
    But no, uniform failure since 1998.
    Again, any explanation for that from all you geniuses?

  17. Keith Harbaugh,
    Yep. Unbelievably frustrating. If we knew the answer, we would have hoisted The Cup by now. Ya gotta have faith. Look how long the Cubs waited for their time in the sun.

  18. Lars says:

    No helmets. Only gloves and shin guards. This was in the early 50’s. We didn’t even have rinks, just a frozen patch or a frozen pond. Only the goalies had a little more than that. If you made it to the play offs, you got to play in the ice hockey stadium in the south side of Stockholm.
    Of course, all matches were outdoors.

  19. Bobo says:

    Eh, I grew up on pond Hockey also played defense in high school not much after that till my daughter married a Montreal boy whose father stood next to me in the reception line with his Ring with Five Diamond stones. Thought every Canuck there was almost on their knees kissing the ring.
    Now the grandkids get me out there occasionally and skate rings around me so I get relegated to standing in those cold rinks when I’m up north visiting as the designated driver or channel turner when Hockey Night in Canada is on. Go Don Cherry!

  20. Eric Newhill says:

    IMO, the caps fail to capitalize on power plays, especially in the play-offs and that is what costs them the win.
    It could mean that they need to drill more heavily on power play strategies and/or get the right mix of players out there during those opportunities. Sometimes players that are best in non-power play situations are not as effective in power plays, and vice versa…..or that have somehow angered the hockey gods.

  21. Bill Herschel says:

    A leak about leaking. Somebody is having a lot of fun at the expense of the United States. And if you eliminate the impossible, etc., it’s VVP. They have something on Trump but this episode is just to make sure that it will remain between them and Trump.

  22. Russ Wagenfeld says:

    One is tempted to say “eat your heart out” but the Bruins may yet choke and again miss the play-offs. They do have a young player named Vetrano who we watched last year with the Providence team. He won the scoring title in AHL after playing only 35 game there. I think he added 7 more with Boston. All 3 of us still “play” regularly myself in an over 60 group in RI. My son can skate rings around me. A real thrill are the Senior Tournaments, the best of these in the East is in Maryland just outside the D.C. Beltway.

  23. fasteddiez says:

    My favorite Team is the Habs whose hometown I inhabited as a kid through High School. I also support the Ducks, since I now live behind the Orange Curtain. They won the Stanley Cup in 2007 in large part because of Scott Niedermayer’s good works, and whose employment is still in the service of the Ducks. I hate the scum who changed their name from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. I sorta kinda cheered on the Caps when my last duty station was just outside the Beltway Bob beltway, unless they were playing the aforementioned teams.

  24. mike says:

    Fasteddiez –
    With two dozen Stanley Cups, you couldn’t have a better team to root for than the Habs. As for me with no NHL team in Seattle or Portland, I try to travel up north to see the Canucks play once a year or two.
    I never got wild about the Caps back when I was stationed in God’s Country just outside the beltway. That was in the mid 70s and they were a brand new franchise.

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