Well, there were several things to learn from last night’s festivities at the Igloo. I mean, of course, the complicated relationships between the four stars of the Caps and the Penguins, three of whom happen to hail from the same country where things learn you.
And here is what we could learn about the assorted feuds of the Alexes, the Kid and Malkin. You can believe me when I say that Russian journalists would much rather write about goals and wins, but since this story is apparently a gift that keeps on giving, we deemed appropriate to get further into it.
For one, Alex Ovechkin apparently speaks to Sidney Crosby. Loud and clear at that, to the point where all the teammates of both players and a couple of officials would like to gather around and partake in the exchange. And here is another thing: Alexander Semin also speaks to Crosby. At least, according to Evgeni Malkin, and that is a bit of a surprise, to say the least. And here is the third thing: Ovechkin and Malkin – nope, still not talking to each other, presumably, because both are so busy talking to Crosby.
Anyway, here are some quotes from the locker rooms following the Wednesday game.
Semin, who was quite reluctant to be interviewed (“I know what you are going to ask me about and I don’t really want to discuss this”), eventually changed his mind and offered the following side of the story:
“It came about because of reporters who have created some kind of an intrigue. If I were really to say these exact things that they have written, I would have confirmed it by now: yes, I have said it… [But] I did not say them, not in that form. I should not be held responsible for the way it was translated.”
When pressed to offer his version of those words, Alex said: “I would have never said that Crosby is a bad player. I just meant to say that some people like Crosby’s style and I happen to like Kane’s style more. That is it, nothing else. Really, let’s just forget this whole story.”
Semin also said that he had enjoyed the booing because, “It only gets me fired up. They are all yelling, the saliva is flying and it is amusing to watch.”
I was also able to have a short chat with Crosby as he was leaving the arena.
“Everyone can say what they want,” said Sidney about the Semin quotes. “If I had a problem with a guy, I would have probably just said it to him on the ice, to his face. I certainly don’t think there is any need to share it through the media.”
When asked about his altercation with Ovechkin before the start of the third, Crosby said: “In the second period he hit me near the boards and I just wanted to tell him it was a cheap shot, sticking his leg in behind mine.”
As for Ovechkin, he acknowledged his third-period attempt to line Malkin up for a big hit. Alex went out of his way in the neutral zone, cutting towards Malkin, but Evgeny was able to circle around him.
“Yes, I wasn’t quite lucky there. I went in a slightly wrong direction,” Ovechkin said. “But it is good that he is following [my movements] now. Because, if he puts his head down [again], I am not going to forgive him.”
Malkin, after emerging from the home team locker room, was also quite forthcoming, actually offering praise for Ovechkin’s actions.
“We were going to get a two-on-two situation and he tried to meet me [in the neutral zone],” Malkin said. “I was able to get out of the way, but as it happened he actually made a good play. I lost my speed and the result was offside.”
When asked about Ovechkin’s continuing grudge against him because of the alleged agent-punch-up affair, Malkin said: “So, it turns out that I am to blame now? What, I should be afraid to tell the truth? If a man does something wrong, he should make sure he doesn’t do it again, right? Besides, everyone knows about [the agent incident] anyway, even if I didn’t say anything. The whole world knows.”
Malkin said that his last actual conversation with Ovechkin occurred about two years ago. Ovechkin, if you remember, said that they had talked at the NHL Awards last summer. Malkin insists it was nothing more than a curt “hello” on each side. He did, however, sound optimistic, saying that “maybe we will make up before the Olympics.”
Interestingly enough, though, according to Malkin, Semin had actually called Crosby to explain him how he was misquoted and what he had actually meant. When asked to tell where he knows this from, Evgeny answered: “Sidney has said [this]… Well, and other people too.”