Worlds-Weary, and Grumpy

Russia beat Canada at the Worlds in semifinal play yesterday. Ain’t that just swell? Don’t you just feel all warm and fuzzy for our Russians competing over there (wherever they are)?

I only know about the result because I accidentally stumbled upon a story image of it late last night on line; when you’re a hockey blogger and Canada loses at anything in hockey, you fairly can’t avoid its reporting. Anyway, I haven’t read a single file related to the Worlds this spring. It interests me none.

This is a Worlds-free site this spring. I don’t care a lick about them. I don’t even know why they’re being contested in this Olympics year. If your team wins a gold medal at the Olympics, isn’t it judged to be the best in the world, having beaten the world’s best athletes? So what in the world is the IIHF doing having another international competition just weeks after we got through one of the best ever in Vancouver? (Making money, I know.)

Yes, I’m seriously cranky still from the sudden Capitals defeat. I’ve battered golf balls the past three weeks, and it hasn’t helped my psyche much. (I am grooving a great swing, however.) I am interested greatly in the Chicago-San Jose series. Two terrifically talented clubs there, and the Hawks are defying forecasts and getting great netminding. But once those games are over I go back to being pissed off pretty fast. Meanwhile, back East, we’re profaning Lord Stanley’s Cup allowing one of Philly or Montreal to compete for it in another week or so. That’s adding to my crankiness.

We in HockeyWashington may look back on this spring years hence and only then realize how enormous an opportunity was wasted by our guys in red. I’m not buying into the Philly love story this spring. Look at who they’ve had to play to get where they are. They weren’t that good with Jeff Carter in the lineup; they’re not better without him. And they’re on like their 40th goalie on the season. Sickening. I’m nauseous thinking about it.

It was life-altering fun three springs back going to Moscow on Mr. Leonsis’ dime and covering the IIHF Worlds and the Caps participating in it then. When your NHL team is young and inexperienced and rebuilding, such competition is good experience. But when you’re a 120-point NHL club and a bevy of your players are competing in the Worlds, virtually from the onset of the tourney, it’s not a good thing at all. No good is coming from core Capitals’ players skating in their second international tournament of 2010.

What am I supposed to do if our Russians win another game over there and have shiny medals placed around their necks, pump my fist in the air while a Flyers’ fan looks over at me and laughs?

I really don’t care how well Ovi, Semin, and Semyon played against Canada yesterday or in any of the other IIHF games. I couldn’t care less. No manner of feat over there by any of them alters one iota the sting we’re still feeling in Washington at a hockey season ended way too prematurely. A part of me wishes Ovi had followed Sid’s lead when it came to these Worlds games and said, in effect, You know what, I’ve done my part for my country this year already, I’ve put my body through upwards of 100 elite-level games this season, I’m heading off home to heal up and work even harder this offseason to do everything I can to assure there’s no repeat of late April 2010.

I’d respect that.

* * * * *

Speaking of Mr. Leonsis, I’ll find out how cranky he is these days at noon today, when he appears at the National Press Club as its lunchtime newsmaker keynote. Those keynotes field a lot of questions from the diners in the room, and I plan on submitting one or two. I’d be delighted to read any and all questions you’d ask of him if you leave them here as comments, and add the best ones among my submissions. We’ll also be tweeting the standout observations he offers at the lunch.

* * * * *

Here’s an effective way to combat the grumps — a John Walton call of yet another Bears’ playoff triumph in overtime, from last night’s game 5 in Manchester:

Bouchard the Hero of game 5

Hershey has matched an American League record this postseason with six wins in extra time. The Bears head home to try and wrap up the American League Eastern conference finals Saturday night in game 6, and earn their fourth Calder Cup finals appearance in the last five years. I’ll make that trip north, to try and further work out the grumps.

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This entry was posted in Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Hershey Bears, IIHF, John Walton, Morning cup-a-joe, Olympic hockey, Semyon Varlamov, Ted Leonsis, Washington Capitals, World Championships. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Worlds-Weary, and Grumpy

  1. Joe says:

    Question for Ted: I’d like to get him to discuss in detail what will change for Caps fans when he takes over the Wizards. I’m already getting the impression that he intends to portray himself as Wizards owner first and Caps owner second. And, of course, the media will lap that up. But I’m more interested in substantive changes. Like changes in how the team will be run, what will the effect on scheduling be at the arena, the willingness to spend money on the Caps, etc.

  2. NS2NOVA says:

    FYI, NBC’s affiliate Universal Sports has been running tape delayed broadcasts of the games.

  3. 4capitals says:

    You expressed my feelings perfectly. Don’t care about the World Championship, it is a joke to have a World Chamipionship in the same year as an Olympics. I am also not thrilled that Ovie and Semin are playing in the worlds. I know it is not the case but it almost appears that they were more interested in participating in the World Championship than winning a Stanley Cup. I also agree about either Montreal or Philly advancing, it is a disgrace. I have followed the Caps from day 1 and have gone through all the playoff losses but this one hurts the most. It is going to take a long time to recover. Maybe I will be recovered by the time development camp rolls around.

  4. trekronor says:

    Quit whining about Flyers and Canadiens. They are better than the Caps plain and simple and they’ve proved it. The time to play hockey is in the playoffs and the Caps simply aren’t built for it. The Flyers have now made the conference finals twice in the last three years (beating the Caps at home in Game 7 two years ago) and they might make the finals. The Caps playoff record over the same period with all this talent? Let’s not go there. Until the organization acquires some power forwards, commits to the forecheck, acquires some mean defensemen, and eliminates the run and gun stretch pass offense, we will continue to see lame playoff performances – but eye pleasing results in the regular and often meaningless regular season. Enjoy the Flyers and Canadiens for what they are – better playoff hockey teams (and coached better too for that matter).

  5. OvieTracker says:

    I have very mixed feelings about Ovie and Semin playing in the World Championships. As much as I respect their decision to play for their country, the sting of the Caps premature ouster from the playoffs still lingers nearly a month later.

    I also can’t shake the feeling these two players, consciously or unconsciously, consider playing for Russia as more important than playing for the Capitals. As much as I love Ovie and defend him to death, this nagging suspicion keeps creeping into my brain–and my heart. It’s like there’s an angel on one shoulder urging me to keep defending and supporting Ovie no matter what, while the devil on the other shoulder tempts me to doubt him and question his loyalty. I don’t like this at all. And considering Russia lost to the Czech Republic for the WC gold medal, it’s not like Ovie was in any way vindicated by his decision to participate. I hope he enjoys his summer vacation because, quite frankly, mine is going to be very empty as I’m still grieving the Caps loss.

    As for the Stanley Cup playoffs, I have no interst anymore this season. The Flyers and Habs played better than the Caps when it counted, but I won’t go so far as to say they are better teams. The Caps might, they MIGHT, look back on this past season as a squandered opportunity if they are honest with themselves. I certainly do, and since chances like this don’t happen very often, I can’t say I’m looking forward to next season with any confidence. That was ripped from me the moment the Caps season ended.

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