Within moments of Alex Ovechkin and Russia losing to Finland on Wednesday, Caps fans and NHL pundits started wondering whether a pallor of lingering disappointment might hurt Washington’s hockey chances this spring.
It’s a perfect topic for sports arguments, because no real facts are required, and it’s easy to imagine a few different options, and the results won’t be known for months, at which time all the original arguments will have been forgotten, so you can blissfully spend some of your precious few moments on this earth arguing whatever you’d like without any downside. How about that Kuznetsov, too, eh?
In any case, you could perhaps just as easily argue that pent-up aggression will accompany Ovechkin on his flight back to the United States, aggression that will be unleashed on the Devils and Rangers of the world for the next few weeks. A hopeful Brooks Laich chose that path Wednesday morning.
Laich was speaking to the Junkies before Russia’s loss was final, but things already seemed well along the path toward Russian elimination by this point.
“It’s not him that loses the game,” Laich said of Ovechkin. “So you can’t put the whole blame right on him. You know, I think Alex has done a good job separating the tournament from our team so far this season. Maybe if they aren’t successful today, maybe it motivates him even more, maybe he plays better for us. It could go either way. How are we supposed to know? We won’t know until the game finishes and then he gets back and starts playing for us. But I don’t question his compete or his desire to win [in Washington] at all.”
Laich was then asked whether it’s difficult to root for a Canadian side that features NHL rivals like Sidney Crosby. He said he would be backing Canada, but because of country, not roster.
“Let’s put it this way: Anyone who’s not on my team is not my buddy,” he said. “No, I take that back: During the season, anyone who’s not on my team is not my buddy. … I like guys from my home province, I like helping out guys from my home province, up-and-coming hockey players from there. Everyone’s in the crosshairs once the season starts.”