So, what will Evgeni Malkin do when NHL play resumes?
Malkin did OK at the Olympics. A few great moments. Two goals vs. the Czech Republic. But Malkin was nondescript in the loss to Canada and overall, did not sparkle.
Malkin had a great deal of emotion invested into the Olympics. How will he deal with what happened?
I’m not sure.
I don’t think Malkin is a chip-on-the-shoulder, something-to-prove guy. I don’t think Malkin will go around thinking, “I’ve got to redeem myself for the Olympics.” I’m not sure about the parameters of his attention span.
I’m not sure I believe in carryover, period. Is momentum necessarily transferred from one event to the other? Maybe Malkin will have a chip on his shoulder. Maybe he’ll be discouraged because Russia tanked. Maybe he’ll rally. Maybe he’ll fold. Maybe any carryover that does exist matters for just one game, then that game matters more.
If any Russian will shoulder a plethora of negativity in the wake of the Olympics, it’s Alexander Ovechkin.
Sidney Crosby beat him again. Malkin didn’t do much in the loss to Canada, but he has a Stanley Cup and a playoff MVP. Malkin has proven himself in big games.
Ovechkin did nothing against Canada, and his resume of clutch is barren. Ovechkin is now, officially, THAT GUY.
Will Ovechkin eventually win? Probably. But he hasn’t yet.
If Malkin learned one thing from Russia’s slaughter at the hands of Canada, maybe he’ll stop stickhandling laterally at the opposition blue line. That’s a recipe for disaster at any level, it gave Canada their third goal, it has surrendered countless opportunities at the NHL level, yet Malkin keeps doing it.
Where was Russia’s intensity? Russia never got the kettle on boil against Canada. It looked like a KHL exhibition game. How can that team – especially Ovechkin – lack fire in that game? Russian hockey used to be known for two things: Technical ecstasy and lack of resilience. Technical ecstasy died in a cloud of individualism after the demise of the Soviet regime. Now all Russia has left is lack of resiliency, as witnessed vs. Canada. Nyet, nyet, Soviet.
I could have done without Alexander Semin’s late-game hit on Dan Boyle. It wasn’t cheap, but was unnecessary in a lost cause. Semin left a bad taste but, hey — that’s what Bree Olson said. Then Boyle swept the leg a la Sensei John Kreese, and Ryan Getzlaf jumped in Malkin’s face while Getzlaf was on Canada’s bench and Malkin was on the ice. Even at the Olympics, hockey can’t help but be stupid.
Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM (105.9).