Ovechkin not selling Games

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VANCOUVER — Alexander Ovechkin has said he’s playing in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, whether the NHL is in or not.

That’s fine, though it would sure be fun to see the legal wrangling if he’s breaking his contract to do it.

Anyway, for a guy who wants to be in Sochi, Ovechkin has got a funny way of showing it. He has been practically inaccessible at these Games when he should be out front selling the fact NHLers are here.


Alex Ovechkin isn't doing much to endear himself to the Vancouver fans. (Andre Forget/QMI AGENCY)

After the game against the Czechs Sunday, he answered two questions in Russian and stomped off. Apparently he did a talker with ESPN Saturday or Sunday, which is good.

He can do whatever he likes, but it would seem to make more sense, if he wants the NHL in Sochi, to be doing the PR thing and talking it up here, working the room.

HEAR AND THERE: Something I’m not going to miss about these Games: With three games a day here at GM Place, the cleaning crew sweeps in after each game to get things tidy for the next wave of patrons. As they work their way row by row, they are prodded by a woman the press have come to refer to as “The Garbage Princess.” She screams about once a minute. Honestly, she makes Iron Mike Keenan look like Ghandi...The Americans secret weapon in this whole thing might be that five-year-old kid who does the famous Herb Brooks pre-game speech from the Miracle on Ice. Josh Sacco was apparently here and did the speech live the night before the USA played Canada at team dinner at a restaurant, substituting “Canada,” for all references to the Soviets. Maybe the Canadians can bring back Wayne Gretzky to reprise his “the-world-hates-us,” speech from Salt Lake.

REVELATIONS: Two kids held up a sign during the Switzerland-Belarus game Monday afternoon: “Couldn’t afford Canada tickets.” They got their money’s worth out of the game, though. It was a dandy with the winning in a shootout...Not that it’s that complicated, but it appears not everyone has figured out the Olympic playoff system. Said American Patrick Kane of his team’s top ranking after the preliminary round: “That’s what you work hard for the first three games, I think right now we’ve put ourselves in a good position. Obviously we have three games we have to win but at the same time, we’re facing the lowest seed going in and that’s nice,” he said. Well, it would be it that was the case. Kane made the comments before any of the elimination games were played. The Swiss, the Americans’ next opponents, might well turn out to be the lowest-seed, but only if there isn’t an upset in any of the other games. Then again, maybe Kane has just got it all figured out.

SPECULATIONS: During the overtime, the Swiss had a 2-on-1 shorthanded with Raffaele Sannitz carrying the puck and Mark Streit jumping up to join him. Sannitz (NHL goals: 0) decided to shoot and not pass to Streit (NHL goals: 49). Sannitz hit Belarussian goaltender Andrei Mezei right in the “e” in the Belarus on the front of his sweater … Streit played 5:51 of the 10-minute overtime after playing 24:21 in regulation … USA coach Ron Wilson on playing the Swiss: “They’re the team that has the least to lose in this. They’re playing with house money.” If they upset the Americans, they’ll need a numbered account.

JUST SAYING: Most questionable facial hair choices I’ve seen here: 1. Ice dancer Maxim Shabalin. 2. Finland’s Olli Jokinen 3. Shabalin, again. It’s that bad …

JUST WONDERING: There’s no way the Swiss’ Martin Pluss could be a minus, is there?

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

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