February 22, 2012
Michalek's 'salute' a mystery
By DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Milan Michalek is officially having the best season of his career.
But it was the celebration after the goal he scored to tie his previous high mark that raised some eyebrows.
After taking a long, hard bank pass from teammate Erik Karlsson, undressing Capitals defenceman Dennis Wideman and slipping a shot by Tomas Vokoun for his 26th of the season, Michalek uncharacteristically removed a glove and waggled a finger in the air.
Some kind of Jaromir Jagr salute, was it?
"No, my buddy from back home in Czech came, and he said if I score I have to do that," Michalek said, giggling. "It was an inside joke."
Later, Michalek would score his 27th to set a new P.B., this time deflecting a Karlsson slap shot.
Since breaking his 12-game drought, the Senators' top sniper has four goals in five games. Yup, he's back.
"It's nice, but I want to keep going," Michalek said of surpassing the 26-goal level he reached in 2006-07 with the San Jose Sharks. "We still have lots of games left.
"It's a long season. I struggled, but hopefully it's back now."
Karlsson deflected any credit he had in Michalek's first one, which was merely one of the prettiest goals at Scotiabank Place this season.
"He did a good sprint there," said Karlsson. "The pass is actually the easy part. The hard part is doing what he did after. It's a nice move and a nice goal. I don't think I did very much on that one."
Karlsson liked the Michalek finger waggle, too, but he only added to the mystery when he was asked what it meant.
"That's for his wife," said Karlsson, laughing. "Husband of the year."
NO ALEX O
Why didn't Alex Ovechkin play against the Senators Wednesday? Who knows.
"I just don't feel well," the Capitals captain said after the team's morning skate, which he left early and angrily. "See how I'm going to feel tonight."
Don't feel good?
"I feel how I feel on the ice," he said. "How I breathe, and everything like that. Again, I don't feel very good right now. We'll see how it goes before the game."
Is it an illness or an injury?
"It's not injury, just regular stuff," he said.
Dale Hunter was asked if Ovechkin has a groin problem.
"Just lower body."
But didn't Ovechkin say it wasn't an injury? Maybe it's a lower body illness. Or maybe the overrated Capitals should be trying to figure out how to win a game rather than deceive reporters. As it stands, somebody is lying.
STARTS AND STOPS
With the win, the Senators pretty much eliminated Washington as a threat to their playoff bid. They are nine points ahead of the Caps, who have two games in hand but none left against Ottawa ... Mathieu Perreault scored the only goal of the night that can't be practiced. He deflected a shot in off his tongue, then celebrated by throwing his gloves and sticks on the ice and holding his head in his hands ... This says something about two different teams -- Chris Neil didn't have to answer to anybody when he hit Alex Semin cutting through the slot in the first period. Mike Green had to answer to Daniel Alfredsson when he caught Colin Greening with one ...
STUFF I THINK I THUNK
Maybe there's a method to Eugene Melnyk's madness. Maybe he's negotiating through the media when he blurts that Karlsson, who soon needs a new contract, could become one of the greatest defencemen of all time. "When Karlsson's agent reminds Bryan Murray about this, Murray should offer him the salary Doug Harvey made," quipped Le Droit's Sly St-Laurent. For the younger set, replace "Doug Harvey" with "Bobby Orr" or "Denis Potvin" ... Ever since the statement appeared in Cheapseats that Chris Phillips doesn't have a hard enough shot to play on the power play, all he's done is score four goals in six games. Of course, Wednesday's goal was on a decent slapper but also one that might have been stopped by every goalie whose name isn't Tomas Vokoun ...
The best save of the night was the second-period snag Craig Anderson made off Marcus Johansson, who was firing from point-blank range. Michal Neuvirth made it look like coach Dale Hunter started the wrong goalie when he made breakaway stops off Kyle Turris and Erik Condra not long after replacing Vokoun ... Times are a-changing at The Bank. These days, the patrons are booing when the Bruins score to go ahead of the Blues, like they believe the Senators have a shot at first place or something ...