Feb 14, 2012, 2:39 PM EDT
Responding to two separate two rants — one saying Dale Hunter was responsible for the Caps’ struggles, the other blaming Ovechkin — LeBrun put the onus on Washington’s captain, citing Ovi’s lack of consistency throughout the year.
To further illustrate his point, LeBrun asked an anonymous NHL scout for his take on the best Russian players in the league:
Let me put it to you this way, I asked an NHL scout to rank the following four Russian stars recently, Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk. And he answered, “Really close between Datsyuk and Malkin, they’re 1a and 1b, then it’s Kovalchuk, and Ovechkin a distant fourth.
That’s a pretty damning statement. In the span of three years, Ovechkin’s gone from arguably the greatest player on the planet to the league’s fourth-best Russian and when you consider No. 5 is probably Alex Semin — well, it just doesn’t put Ovi in the greatest light.
PHT Aside: The decline of Russian stars in the NHL is kind of staggering. Ten years ago — during the 2001-02 season — 60 Russian skaters appeared in at least one NHL game, compared to just 22 this year.
That 2001-02 season also featured:
— Four 30-goal scorers (Sergei Fedorov, Pavel Bure, Alex Kovalev and Alexei Yashin.)
— Sergei Gonchar making the NHL’s second All-Star team.
— Kovalchuk making the all-rookie team.
— Andrei Markov (Montreal), Sergei Zubov (Dallas), Alexei Zhamnov (Chicago) and Alex Mogilny (Toronto).
— Detroit won the Stanley Cup with Fedorov, Datsyuk and Igor Larionov playing key roles.
- The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s 1
- Your Lightning-Rangers Game 7 officials are… 1
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win 28
- DeBoer predicts ‘big bounce-back’ in San Jose 12
- Sabres name Bylsma head coach 44
- Lundqvist on Game 7: ‘You’re definitely nervous, but it comes down to teamwork’ 16
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue 56
- Stanley Cup Final to begin June 3 8
- Caps’ Backstrom undergoes arthroscopic hip surgery 6
- Report: Sens’ Murray to retire after next season 1
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (75)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue (56)
- On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’ (54)
- Fetisov wants to restrict young Russians from playing in the NHL (53)