You've got to feel for these guys. I know I do. In fact, I feel so bad that I'm going to help them out by writing their next column for them. Here goes:
On Thursday, Alex Ovechkin sent a message to the hockey world that he wants to be a [insert name of "real" hockey team of choice]. While it may seem odd to read that in light of the bank-breaking deal he just signed with the Washington Capitals, it's as clear as [select "Lake Placid" if American or "Lake Louise" if Canadian] in January.You're welcome, Asshats.
As you may not know, the Great Eight's new deal includes a limited movement clause that kicks in when he's 27 - precisely when he is entering his prime years - which will, in essence, force Washington to deal the sure-to-be-disgruntled winger (after all, five more losing seasons playing to an empty house in a crime-ridden city will certainly take its toll on the talented Russian). It's unclear how many teams he will be able to refuse to be traded to, but sources close to the negotiation tell me that that number is anywhere from 27 to 28. Since he'll have some say in where he is dealt, then, it's a near certainty that he'll choose [insert "real" hockey city] to team up with his good buddy [insert name of Russian hockey player - it doesn't even have to be a player currently on your team of choice, as the player you choose will no doubt have been signed/traded for to be used as Ovechkin bait].
Ovechkin's esprit de corps [Larry, you might want to go with "camaraderie" here - it sounds less effeminate stateside] with his future teammates with his future teammates and loyalty to his future organization is further evidenced by the structuring of his deal. Besides the fact that Alex will be a bargain in the out-years of his contract (just imagine what [insert "Patrick Kane" if American or "John Tavares" if Canadian] will be making by then), he'll actually be a smaller cap hit than the salary he'll be making - both of which will make it possible for the [insert team name] to finally give Sidney Crosby the winger he so richly deserves (hey, Crosby will take less than market value for the honor of playing here, but let's not be ridiculous - he won't come too much cheaper than a guy like Eric Belanger).
So while it may take longer than you'd like for Number Eight to put on the [insert team colors] jersey he was born to wear, know that in his heart and in his mind, he's already a [insert team name]. Message received, Alex. Loud and clear.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Brent Johnson was awesome for Hershey in a rehab start.... Why Michal Neuvirth was traded (again).... My Sheet, my rules.
- Hart: Mike Sillinger (2G and the shootout game winner, +3, 2 SOG)
- Ross: Trent Hunter, Ruslan Fedotenko, David Vyborny, Adam Foote (3 points each)
- Norris: Adam Foote (3A, +3)
- Vezina: Josh Harding (W, 41 saves on 43 shots against)
- Richard: Nikolai Zherdev, Marian Gaborik, Mike Sillinger, Owen Nolan, Taylor Pyatt (2G each)
- Calder:Josh Harding (W, 41 saves on 43 shots against)
- Aiken: Hannu Toivonen (L, 6 goals allowed on 37 shots against)