NHL – Weekly Reader – Alex Ovechkin wades into politics, Toronto Maple Leafs panic

2:08 PM ET

  • Greg WyshynskiESPN

Hello, and welcome to the Weekly Reader, which is able to run each Friday and gather information and views from across the hockey world on the week’s greatest tales. Seen one thing value highlighting right here? Hit me at [email protected], or do the identical if in case you have options for the column going ahead. Enjoy!

Ovechkin and Putin

Alex Ovechkin introduced one thing known as “Putin Team” this week on Instagram, and for a sizzling second everybody was excited that he was releasing some model of Russian poutine. Alas, it was truly essentially the most overt endorsement of Russian president Vladimir Putin that the Washington Capitals captain has made up to now, establishing a “social movement” to “show everyone how strong and united Russia can be.”

With that, Ovechkin graduated from carrying Putin T-shirts and dropping the occasional message about Russia’s meddling in sovereign nations to being the Flava Flav hype man for a Russian president in search of reelection.

Having coated him for a number of years on the Capitals beat, I discovered that Ovechkin has as fervent a patriotism as I’ve seen from a professional athlete.

2 Related

With this escalation, Ovechkin has so much to reply for. He’s enjoying in Washington, D.C., and it isn’t precisely glasnost between the U.S. and Russia nowadays. He’s supporting a world chief who has been accused of nothing wanting crimes in opposition to humanity. He’s knowledgeable athlete taking an overt political stance at a time when athletes who achieve this are skewered on social media at finest, ostracized in the actual world at worst. (Perhaps the very best protection for Ovechkin in opposition to that demonization is Americans’ indifference to world information and overseas coverage.)

If you are on the lookout for Ovechkin to reply for this, as Jeff Blair of Sportsnet and others are, hold wanting.

Note what he instructed the Washington Post on Thursday evening: “I don’t try to be politics man or someone like that,” Ovechkin stated. “I just support my president and just support my country because I’m from there, and you know, if people from U.S. came to Russia, they care about what happening in U.S. So, I care about what happening in Russia because that’s my home and that’s where I’m from.”

As he has up to now, Alex Ovechkin is in search of a separation between patriotism from coverage. Can one actually create a “social movement” for a politician whereas declaring he is additionally “not being politics man?”

Maple Leafs coach Mike Babbad has been feeling the warmth since his younger workforce fell again to earth following a blistering begin. Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press by way of AP

The nice Leafs Panic

The Toronto Maple Leafs misplaced two of three video games throughout their California highway journey, are 5-5 of their final 10 and at the moment are on tempo to complete one level out of the expected playoff cutoff level within the Eastern Conference. Which means it is time for early-season panic in Toronto, after all.

Maple Leafs coach Mike Babbad is getting slammed for his participant utilization by Editor In Leaf. The workforce “looks broken,” in line with Mirtle. And clearly Auston Matthews cannot do it alone. The California journey will come to outline the Leafs, in line with Last Word On Sports.

Look, Toronto is okay. The Leafs are younger. They’re studying. They are nonetheless a top-10 workforce in possession regardless of an ongoing effort to search out their defensive identification. If there’s any level of concern for me, it is how pedestrian most of the gamers in Toronto’s backside six have been, which is why depth on paper would not all the time correlate to depth in actuality.

Jersey Foul of the week

@wyshynski Spell test? #JerseyFoul pic.twitter.com/MnrJ8Z4E24

— Ed McMahon (@Edmc28) October 30, 2017

In equity, after I’m writing Anthony Beauvillier’s title I normally nail the primary couple of letters after which let God type it out.

Carey Price is usually portrayed as a helpless sufferer to the Montreal Canadiens’ total ineptitude, however let’s be actual: He’s been completely horrible this season.

Carey Price, as soon as the consensus finest goaltender on this planet, has struggled mightily this season for the Canadiens. AP Photo/Hannah Foslien

Price has an even-strength save share of .877 by way of 11 video games, and is Three-7-1, which is by far the worst for any goalie with greater than seven begins. He’s 13th in low-danger save share (.982) for goalies with 300 minutes performed. In targets saved above common — basically, what number of targets a mean goalie would enable if he confronted Price’s shot quantity — Price is 30th within the NHL at a minus-9.5. Last season? He was fifth at plus-14.9 (by way of Corsica).

Eric Engels writes that the “real” Price is nowhere to be discovered, whereas Stu Cowen is rightfully calling for the franchise goalie to show the franchise’s season round. Meanwhile, Omar White is having a significant debate in regards to the deserves of buying and selling a participant whose eight-year, $84 million contract extension would not kick in till subsequent season.

Please be part of us subsequent week for an additional episode of “As The Habs Burn.”

Quick query: When your workforce is down two targets on the San Jose Sharks with about 10 minutes to go within the third interval, what’s the very best determination your No. 1 middle may make?

Is it staying on the ice and creating offense, as his new $64 million contract would point out is actually his process? Or is it to battle Joe Pavelski as a result of “he didn’t like the hit” the Sharks middle placed on him, taking himself out of a possible rally for 5 minutes?

Asking for some pals in Nashville.

Selena Gomez’s cope with the Devils

It seems Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber may be reconciling, which is pleasant information for followers of “his and hers” hockey jerseys. One current signal: The time-honored custom of the girlfriend carrying her boyfriend’s hockey sweater, which the New Jersey Devils seized on right here:

It’s by no means too late to say you are sorry @JustinBieber. How about you & Selena be part of us at @PruCenter? We’ll throw within the @adidas jerseys?. pic.twitter.com/b5zKz6AD47

— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) November 2, 2017

Yeah, nice. Just hold him away from the emblem on the ground.

Women’s hockey merger discuss

The New York Times wrote in regards to the necessity for and the obstacles to a merger between the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the National Women’s Hockey League, which is one in every of these annual discussions about one thing so logical and good for the sport that can seemingly by no means occur till one in every of these leagues goes beneath, sadly.

Puck headlines

Dinamo Minsk had an excellent thought: Invite followers to decorate up in Halloween costumes for a contest. Alas, a lot of these followers did not learn the positive print on that acknowledged a KHL ban on “clothes and other means of concealing the identity, meaning that masks and make-up that make identifying fans difficult are not allowed.” Hence, why the police had been so upset. [BBC]

Semyon Varlamov set a Colorado Avalanche document in going through 60 pictures from Carolina, and as per ordinary is just about the lone motive the Avs are thriving. [Mile High Hockey]

The NHL Brand energy rankings, which is an fascinating have a look at how groups look. [Hockey by Design]

Perhaps the week’s greatest information: It’s Conor “SHARE-EE” not Conor “SHEAR-EE.” [Pensburgh]

Hockey tl;dr (too lengthy; did not learn)

Tyler Dellow with an extended learn on Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka that is actually in regards to the broader debate concerning the notion that NHL coaches are “stupid” and the persevering with debate over badytics as an actual science.

In case you missed this from your pals at ESPN

Chris Peters launched his Top 31 prospects rating, with some very excessive reward for American defenseman Quinn Hughes: “Having closely tracked American prospects in particular for the past decade, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a U.S. defenseman like Hughes.”




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