WASHINGTON (AP) Alex Ovechkin is built like a linebacker with the motor of a steam engine and the mentality of a wrecking ball.He can score like no other player of this generation and few in history and has the physicality to match. That was evident from his first NHL shift when he powered up ice and crushed Columbus defenseman Radoslav Suchy so hard it knocked out the stanchion between the panes of plexiglass.Ovechkin at 32 is no longer the human bulldozer he once was http://www.officialredwings.com/authentic-adidas-dylan-larkin-jersey , but his hard-hitting style never put a dent in his prime years as he became the fourth-fastest player to 600 goals . On Sunday in Pittsburgh, the Washington Capitals‘ 2004 No. 1 pick will be the first player from that draft class to play 1,000 NHL regular-season games, a testament to his durability that is also difficult to duplicate in modern hockey.”That he has reached 1,000 games this quickly is an amazing accomplishment with the way he plays,” Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said. ”These are big men, and the league has gotten faster but it’s also gotten much more fit, and that Alex has been able to span those generations and continue to play and be incredibly productive is really a historic feat.”In 13 seasons, Ovechkin has missed more than four games only once and never missed more than 10. Take out the eight games for suspensions and the Russian winger has only sat out for injury 21 times out of a possible 1,028.”I heard a couple years ago that he said he’s the Russian Machine,” longtime teammate Nicklas Backstrom said. ”That probably has something to do with it.”Ovechkin brushed off an injury in his second season with the now-famous line, ”Russian machine never breaks.” Ovechkin has played through knee and back pain and finished one playoff series on a fractured foot Frans Nielsen Jersey Kids , illustrating his pain tolerance while also avoiding the kinds of serious injuries that derail other players’ careers.Goaltender Braden Holtby pointed out that it helps Ovechkin to not kill penalties and risk injuries in those situations while also marveling at how the Moscow native is built. His 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame gives him the tools to punish opponents with his body as much as his shot.”When you’re big guy like Ovi, you’re not gonna be afraid to hit no one,” Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov said. ”And when people gonna hit you, they’re gonna feel it, for sure.”When Barry Trotz coached in Nashville, he remembered players seeing Ovechkin down the hallway cutting his stick and whispering about how big he was. Ovechkin had that intimidating presence to him.”Trust me, we had a lot of nervous defensemen,” Trotz said. ”We had a couple of nervous cats.”Watching Ovechkin’s sometimes reckless play could have at one point made the Capitals nervous, too, because of how valuable he is and how important it is he stay healthy. In recent years, he has toned it down with age and as hockey has gotten faster with lower priorities on hitting.”As soon as you get a little older Gordie Howe Jersey , you realize when you have to get a hit and when you have to take a hit,” Ovechkin said. ”You can see right now in the playoffs it’s different hockey. Of course, every shift you try to do something out there, but in the regular year you don’t have to run around and hit everybody because if a game is 5-2 or 4-1 you don’t have to do it. Obviously you have to play smarter and try to do different things.”Evolving his game as a scorer and a power forward has helped Ovechkin get to this point where he’s on the verge of leading the league in goals for the seventh time and reach 50 for the eighth time.If Ovechkin, who still has Stanley Cup aspirations and three years left on his contract, maintains this level of durability and wants to keep playing in North America toward age 40, reaching 1,500 games isn’t out of the question.”There are a lot of players that have played 1,000 games but not as many players have scored 600 goals,” Leonsis said. ”If he takes cares of himself – which he has been, he looks great – he can play a lot of years in the league.”— PHILADELPHIA (AP) Tinged with sadness, the Hurricanes welcomed their captain back to the lineup.Jordan Staal helped give them the boost they needed toward a playoff push.Justin Williams scored two goals Authentic Gustav Nyquist Jersey , Cam Ward stopped 21 shots and the Carolina Hurricanes snapped a six-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.The Flyers had been the hottest team in hockey, winners of six straight overall and riding a 10-0-2 streak for their longest span without a regulation loss since 2003.They were even 4-0-1 against the Hurricanes in their last five against them at home.Carolina had an emotional lift in this one to make those numbers trivialStaal played for the first time since he and his wife said their infant daughter died of a terminal birth defect. Staal had missed three games and he rejoined the team Wednesday.”He’s a lift, spiritually and physically on the ice,” Williams said. ”You know he’s going to make the right play. You know he’s going to win a battle. As his linemate, playing tonight, you know he’s going to get the puck to you when it’s a 1-on-1 battle. He’s a very important piece for us, clearly.”Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said Staal means more to the franchise than just his numbers.”You need your best players to be your best players and we miss him when he’s not here,” he said. ”It’s good to have him back.”Carolina, which is chasing the eighth spot in the East, made quick work in ending the good times in Philly.Williams knocked in a loose puck 4:40 into the game and the former Flyer stuck it to his former team one more time.”There’s a little something there,” Williams said. ”It’s special. My wife’s family is from here. I have a lot of friends here. This is where I started. It’s always special, absolutely.”The Flyers sizzling offense of late fizzled and even goalie Petr Mrazek had his worst outing since he was acquired two weeks ago. He stopped 28 shots to beat Montreal 1-0 in a shootout in his last start. He was 3-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage in his three starts.Teuvo Teravainen scored early in the second and Williams scored his 12th goal of the season late in the second for the 3-0 lead.Staal had his 21st assist on Williams’ second goal.”I don’t think there’s much to be said about what he’s going through. It’s huge to have him back Womens Henrik Zetterberg Jersey ,” Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk said.The Flyers were stymied offensively and took only six shots in the first period. In the second, they were shutout in a period where they had scored 74 goals this season.Yes, even a 12-game streak that helped take them from last in the Metro Division in early December to a brief stop in first atop the division, the Flyers were soundly booed off the ice at the end of a dreary second period. The Flyers would have moved back into first place with a victory and lost for the first time in regulation since Feb. 1.Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald said the winning had masked some bad habits picked up of late by the team.”You kind of get into a groove and you’re kind of feeling it and think things are going to go right for you,” he said. ”That’s not always going to be the case. Tonight was a good example of that.”Travis Konecny gave a brief jolt to their offense with a goal early in the third to make it 3-1.”It’s tough to do this on home ice. We can’t win them all,” Flyers center Jake Voracek said.Sebastian Aho sealed it with his 23rd goal.”We need to impose our will. We need to suffocate teams,” Williams said. ”We did that today.”NOTES: The Flyers played the Hurricanes for the first of three times over the final 19 games of the season. … The Flyers have a weekend set in Florida. … Ward improved his career record to 12-11-6 vs. the Flyers. … Flyers D Ivan Provorov was down on the ice for a bit after taking a shot his right knee.UP NEXT:Hurricanes: Host New Jersey on Friday.Flyers: At Tampa Bay on Saturday and at Florida on Sunday.
Please sign in to leave a comment.