Eric Fehr and Evgeni Malkin must not have seen the NBC Winter Classic promos. New Year’s Day was supposed to be for Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby to take their beef outside. Right?
Neither superstar had a point as Fehr and goaltender Semyon Varlamov led the Caps to a 3-1 victory at Heinz Field. Malkin had the Pens’ lone goal.
The Classic, traditionally played at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day, was pushed back to a primetime 8 p.m. start because of a rainy forecast. Mother Nature didn’t cooperate as light rain started in the second period and poured more heavily in the third while the wind kicked up.
Varlamov played more like a number one goalie in the less than ideal ice conditions stopping 32 shots while Fehr, the third line winger, was the unlikely hero with two goals.
Incidentally (pun intended) two goals were waved off for incidental goaltender contact. The Penguins were denied a goal that would have tied the score 2-2. Ovechkin’s shot past a sprawled out Fleury would have made the score 4-1 in the third but was waved off immediately because he bumped into him behind the net before the play. (How long did Fleury need to get back to his crease?)
The epic clash of the titans as seen in round two of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals just wasn’t meant to be replicated. There was no trade of hat tricks between Ovie and Sid the kid, not even a point. The mush and water logged ice probably didn’t help for puck movement and skill. The stage the marketing pros set also didn’t take into account the supporting cast that allow the stars to shine and usher in victory.
Since the players and the weather didn’t stick to the preordained script, it did have an air of an anticlimactic Classic. The weather and endless buildup really put a damper on things. Look to the season finale of HBO’s 24/7 this Wednesday to get it right and fill the void.
Potent Quotables: “This is as close to the Stanley Cup as we’ve gotten.”-Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. Hmm, I’m not so sure.
TweetDeck: RT @Real_ESPNLeBrun Caps owner Ted Leonsis said he laughed tonight when Caps & Pens fans in 1 section chanted in unison, “Flyers suck” So Pens and Caps fans do have something in common.
Karma: Nice guys don’t always finish last. Last week HBO showed footage of Fehr and his wife distributing Christmas presents to local D.C. youth.
How in the heck:-did Jason Chimera miss that wide open net screaming for a wrap-around goal?
-did OV get away with celebrating before the clock had fully run out?
-did Dave Steckel’s monster head hit on Crosby go unpunished by the Penguins bench?
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)