Q: Rightly or wrongly, does Ryan Miller emerge from the Olympics as the Hart Trophy favorite now over Alex Ovechkin? I know Olympics not supposed to factor in the voting, but …
— Bill from Conn.
A: Interesting question, Bill, but I don't see anyone cutting in on A.O.'s party, preventing him from winning a third straight Hart.
Granted, Miller was extremely impressive in Vancouver, as he has been all season in the NHL. It's simple to make a case that the Sabres would be just also-rans without him (very much the test for selecting the MVP). But coming out of the Olympic break, L.A.'s Jonathan Quick (also on Team USA) actually had one more win than Miller this season. Of all the numbers posted by goalies, none is more important than the one next to W's.
Ovechkin will lead the league again in goals. He's is playing with a powerhouse Caps club that likely will be seeded first in the East, if not first overall. He'll cop the Hart and Miller will have to be content with the Vezina, the first in Buffalo since the Dominik Hasek days.
Q: Canada’s dramatic gold-medal win and the United States’ surprising run to the final certainly stole the show in Vancouver, but was there also much buzz there about how the ‘lightweights’ in the tournament have clearly made great strides? It was refreshing to view every game knowing it was likely to be competitive going in and a great sign for future of the sport.
— David Brantley from Salem, N.H.
A: Truth be told, Dave, there was some chat about how the Swiss hung in tough, especially against the U.S. and Canada, as well as the spirited play of the Slovaks (at least until they imploded when faced with the Finns in the bronze game).
But overall, there was far more focus on the total collapse of the once-mighty Russians, who scratched their way through the qualifying round before taking an embarrassing 7-3 beating at the hands of the Canadians, the ex-Soviets falling short of the medal round. The hockey team was a favorite post-Games target of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, who noted the need for reform and accountability across the board in Russian sports.
''Let's put up a bunch of guillotines and gallows,'' the New York Times quoted hockey coach Vyacheslav Bykov, when asked if his club had not prepared seriously enough for the tournament. ''We have 35 people on the hockey team. Let's go to Red Square and dispatch with them all.''
Wonder if they'll start with members of the the 1980 CCCP team that came up short in Lake Placid?
PHT: The Penguins' win in Game 4 shoved the Senators to the brink of elimination, but Ottawa has vowed to bring a better effort tonight (Coverage at 6:30 p.m. ET; Live Extra, NBCSN).
Alexander the Great
Take a look at Capitals star and two-time MVP Alexander Ovechkin
Video: NHL from NBC Sports
I was there: Bruins stun Maple Leafs in Game 7
Fans who watched the Bruins' amazing comeback over the Maples Leafs in Game 7 of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs react to being in the building and witnessing the incredible game in person.
Check out photos from the Kings' Stanley Cup victory parade in LA.
Stanley Cup playoffs
Check out photos from the NHL postseason action.
Stanley Cup winners
A look at the teams that have earned the right to hoist Lord Stanley's prize since 1965.
Some of Hollywood's hottest celebrities take in NHL games.
Check out the ice girls from around the National Hockey League.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.