SAN JOSE, CA: When the Caps won the Stanley Cup last season, Alexander Ovechkin went on a month long celebratory bender. In the process, he transformed himself from weird Russian buddy of Putin, to a partying legend. I’m looking at the four remaining teams in the NHL playoffs to see if anyone can pick up where Ovi left off when this season ends.
Ovibender: noun: An unflinching, public drinking spree where you dominate everything that comes into your path for at least a month.
San Jose Sharks
The obvious candidate here would be Brent Burns. The Duck Dynasty/ZZ Top reject sure looks like he can put away some moonshine. But the blue line horse has played 409 minutes going into to Monday’s game, over an hour more than the guy with the next most minutes, teammate Erik Karlsson. I reckon Brett will likely need to sleep for a few months if the Sharks win the Cup.
Since the 2009-10 season, Ovechkin has the most playoff goals with 50. But most people have never heard of the man in second place in that period, Logan Couture. Couture is a very good player but has never scored more than 34 goals in a season and is not someone you would consider a superstar. During the regular season, that is, because he sure brings it come playoff time. Couture was the Sharks offense on Monday, scoring two and upping his career playoff total to 47 goals.
He may get to 50 and pass Ovi in these playoffs even if the Sharks lose this series. And if he does, he might be ready to party like him too.
St. Louis Blues
Patrick Maroon is a solid choice here, a local boy who took less money to stay in St. Louis to be close to his family. He scored the series clinching double OT goal in Game 7 against the Stars (costing the Rangers a first round draft pick) and then celebrated in Lifetime Movie Style with his son. But this guy seems like way too much of a family man to pull off an Ovibender.
I was surprised when I learned that Blues goalie Jordan Binnington is Canadian. I had no doubt he was from somewhere like New Canaan, Connecticut. Still, I’m sure this guy is from the Canadian equivalent and had a butler growing up. But if can he pull it off and win the Cup as a rookie, this kid will be looking to shake off years of hanging with obnoxious prep school kids and get after it. He’s probably too young to really pull off a deep bender, though.
There’s Head Coach Craig Berube, a goon in his playing career, racking up over 3,000 penalty minutes. He took over the Blues when they had the worst record in hockey in early January and they’ve been the best team since. The guy might be ready to blow off some steam.
There are plenty of annoying characters on this team, but can any of them party? Whether they win the Cup or not, Brad “The Rat” Marchand is sure to crawl back to the rock he lives under and Zdeno Chara will no doubt return to Transylvania to get hydrated for next season on some good O-negative.
David Pastrnak (I’d like to buy a vowel, Pat), gained some notoriety with the Dunkin’ Donuts penalty box commercial, “I’m pretty much a regular here” and the nickname “Pasta.” He dedicated himself to hockey because his father died of cancer and Pasta wanted to make the NHL for his old man. Wow.
He might be ready to celebrate all of that hard work.
Justin Williams is the old veteran and inventor of the Storm Surge celebrations after Carolina home wins. He’s the leader of this team and will probably get after it if they win the Cup. But he’s 38, is nicknamed “Mr. Game 7” and has three Stanley Cups. This guy has already done it all.
Andrei Svechnikov is a 19-year old Russian who grew up idolizing Ovechkin. His team played the Caps in the first round of this year’s playoffs and Ovi knocked him the f@ck out! Andrei missed a few games with a concussion but is back at it.
If the ‘Canes can come back against the Bruins and go on to win the Cup, Svechnikov will be ready to let off some steam like his childhood idol.
Come back tomorrow for an Angry Wardbender, which involves white wine spritzers and sudoku. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.