Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Alexander Ovechkin: "I don't want to root for Carolina"

Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once
Alexander Ovechkin

Earlier today, the Russian sports site Sport Express posted the final-round predictions for their ongoing Stanley Cup "pick 'em" contest. None of the four participants (Alexander Ovechkin, Andrei Nazarov, Valerie Bure, Victor Fedorov) correctly picked Edmonton to advance over Anaheim in the previous round; on the other hand, everyone but Ovechkin picked Carolina over Buffalo. As it turns out, Ovechkin is prejudiced against Carolina, as you'll read later on. You'll also see that the Russians think there could be some monkey business in the works to make sure the Cup goes to Edmonton, but given what could be their past experiences with the playing conditions over in Russia, I'd take that one with a grain of salt.

In any case, Victor Fedorov, the father of Sergei and Fedor Fedorov, has already clinched first place in the contest. Though he lives in Detroit, the senior Fedorov picked Edmonton to beat the Red Wings in the first round, believing that Detroit's regular-season record was padded: "Detroit won the President's Cup, but look at their division and you'll find three of the weakest clubs in the NHL-- St. Louis, Columbus, and Chicago-- whom they each got to play about 8 times!" Because of that, Victor gets to go first this time:

Victor Fedorov - "I have little doubt that after a 13-year drought, as much as possible will be done to see that the Cup returns to Canada. It could be that the word will be given to the referees. Let's just say, a situation could happen where some might see a penalty, and others might not, but make this happen at a key moment in the game...

"With Carolina in the finals, a team that is given little attention even in the USA, a victory by Edmonton presents a better image boost for the NHL. They could say, the lock-out is over, with the Cup returning to the land where hockey was born, and have hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic fans coming out to see it.

"In spite of all of this, Carolina's chances aren't bad. They took care of business against Buffalo, and it seems to me that the level of hockey in the Eastern Conference is higher than in the West. I believe that in their speed, the depth of their team, and their experience, Carolina is stronger than Edmonton. Therefore, all other things being equal, Carolina will win the Stanley Cup over Edmonton in seven games."

Andrei Nazarov - "I agree that it's in the NHL's best interests to see the Stanley Cup placed in Edmonton, where the fans are all crazy about hockey and there has already been an enormous frenzy. Therefore, I can't discount that there may be some situations where the referees will appear to be on the side of Edmonton. However, I can assure you that the NHL isn't like the Russian Super League, and even if Edmonton does get some help, it will only be a little. In any case, the winner will be determined on the ice, not behind the scenes.

"I am friends with Oleg Tverdovsky, although the goaltender for Edmonton was a teammate of mine with Minnesota, Dwayne Roloson. He could actually be the MVP of these playoffs. It seemed like his career was on the decline, and then all of a sudden he's making a big splash.

"Hockey is the national obsession in Canada. I assure you, in Edmonton they are the happiest they've been in 16 years. Everywhere you go, they talk about the Oilers, and only the Oilers. In contrast, in Carolina, it is much more subdued. This is almost like a Russian final would be between Omsk and Perm-- i.e., the biggest hockey city in the country against a city where hockey is not that important. Still, Carolina in seven."

Valerie Bure - "It seems to me that the head coach of Edmonton learned from the mistakes of Anaheim and Colorado, both whom lost their edge after too much time off between rounds. I think spending the week in New York will turn out to be time well spent towards bringing the team together. It protected the players from the media attention, and it will test the physical condition of the players. I'm confident in the professionalism of the Oilers' coaching staff, and that the team will be well-prepared. Edmonton in seven."

Alexander Ovechkin - "I wanted Buffalo to win the Eastern Final, and not just because my former teammate with Dynamo, Maxim Afinogenov, plays for them. I'll be frank; whenever I faced Carolina this year, it didn't go very well, and so I predicted them to lose in each round of the playoffs. Besides, it's shocking to me that this team keeps Oleg Tverdovsky on the bench! In many ways, I do not want to root for Carolina. I am inclined to be more sympathetic towards Edmonton, because (unlike Carolina) they're not a Conference rival of ours. Let the Stanley Cup be handed to Sergei Samsonov! Edmonton in five."


Blogger gsdgsd13 said...

These guys are going to get so insufferably smug when Tverdovsky scores the Cup-clinching goal

6/5/06, 8:15 AM

Blogger Brushback said...

Oleg Tverdovsky is going to harness anti-matter and win the Nobel Prize, and then Andrei Nazarov will say "I told you so!"

Actually, I was reading an item on one of the Russian sites the other day, and they were actually fretting over whether or not Tverdovsky had to take a shift at some point during the Finals, in order to earn his name being on the Cup if Carolina were to win. That's how seriously they take all of this.

6/5/06, 6:06 PM

Blogger gsdgsd13 said...

Happy news -- Tverdovsky did, apparently, take a shift last night. So should the 'Canes win, he'll be immortalized and Russia can rest easy.

6/8/06, 11:03 AM

Blogger Brushback said...

I happened to be watching when Tverdovsky took a shift with Glen Wesley. I thought, "Tverdovsky's on the ice! Now the Cup is in the bag for Carolina, for sure!"

6/8/06, 1:05 PM


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