It seemed difficult to predict. Would Vancouver Canucks fans behave in a similar fashion to NHL hockey patrons in Alberta earlier this week when they booed visiting Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin? It didn’t take long to discover the answer.
Yes, but not with much enthusiasm.
Just like with fans of the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers but to a lesser degree, some of the Vancouver Canucks faithful expressed their displeasure with Ovechkin’s relationship to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the man responsible for the recent invasion of Ukraine.
The score appeared to have something to do with it. During Ovie’s first shift, the boos were relatively loud, but tapered quickly after the Capitals scored twice within a 43-second span early in the 1st period. When Vancouver came back in the third, the booing picked up again.
It was also tough to get a read because Ovechkin rarely handles the puck for long. In fact, when he’s at his best, the puck is on his stick for a micro-second.
We saw it in the first period on the Capitals second goal, one that Ovechkin was about to score when Evgeny Kuznetsov dove to push the puck across the goal line. We described the power play tally this way in our game story from Friday night.
On the goal, Ovechkin ripped a slapper from his spot in the LW circle that hit the post, hit the back of Demko and started to bounce across the goal line. Before the puck hopped across, Kuznetsov dove and whacked it in. He gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead with his 2nd goal of the period while taking away Ovechkin’s 767th.
That’s right, had it bounced another five centimetres before ‘Koozie’ touched it, Ovie would have hopped alone into 3rd place on the all-time NHL career goal scoring list, one ahead of Jaromir Jagr.
That was also Ovie’s chance to get his usual braggadocious goal against his former head coach Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau mentioned to the media before the game that Ovechkin usually seeks him out during warm-ups, all in good fun, to say “I’m gonna get one tonight”.
He almost did, and it would have been a biggee. Then we would have seen how Vancouver Canucks fans really felt.
— The Canucks practice today at 11 am while the Capitals head home to host the New York Islanders on Tuesday when Ovechkin will get another chance at goal 767.