There’s been a lot of talk about Ovechkin’s play lately, and it’s been mostly negative–especially from color commentator Don Cherry. There’s been talk about it on NHL Live, articles on Yahoo! and on almost every popular hockey blog….enough is enough.
Sidney Crosby is labeled as the face of the NHL and this whole controversy was started because of his comments after a loss to the Capitals. He basically said he wasn’t a fan of either the way Ovechkin plays or celebrates, which is still unclear to most NHL analysts and reporters. So let’s not try and be biased Caps fans lets look at some of the shots taken at OV, and see if there’s some sense behind them.
1) Celebrations– Ovechkin is one of the most passionate players playing the game right now. He’s exciting to watch and he brings a certain energy to the ice that sparks the fans and his teammates. Before he came to the Caps they were 25th in the league in overall attendance, and now in 2009 they are ranked 7th. Washington broke a franchise record this past weekend after selling out 11 strait games. It’s no secret that Alex is the talk of the town here and apparently the entire NHL as well.
In the clip that Cherry showed, there were about 10 celebrations and about 5 of them were OV’s standard fist pump and kiss to the sky–which is a salute to his brother Sergei who passed away early in Alex’s life. The other 5 were mostly game-winning goals that warrant a jubilant celly like jumping into the glass or belly flopping across the ice. Check out another Ovechkin celebration montage below…
Also, whenever another Caps player score Ovechkin is still the happiest person in the building so it’s not like hes being selfish or showboating when he scores–he’s just happy to see his team doing well. To compare his celebrations to that of soccer players is ludicrous considering most of those guys do individual stuff and OV is usually starting a dog pile with his teammates. Not too mention soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and football is here in the States where flashy touchdown celebrations have been penalized. So there’s no wrong or right way to celebrate in my opinion, as long as it’s in good taste. Speaking of good taste…don’t you think Cherry is “over-celebrating” with his outrageous suits he wears, or maybe “over-celebrating” his Canadian heritage by showing his biased opinions towards Canadian-born players, and against European-born players
2) Hits– Ovechkin is one of the most powerful players in the game right now. It’s almost impossible to hit him off the puck, and probably even tougher to take one of his hits. Cherry criticized OV saying he’s taking “runs” at people. He is ranked 6th in the NHL with 204 hits so it’s not like hes taking runs at people each time he goes for a hit. Below are a couple montages of some of his best hits. I’d say maybe one of them was a high hit–where he is coming one-on-one against a Duck defender and jumps to clean him out. All the others are clean in my book, most of them are other players trying to hit him and getting the worst of it.
So maybe Alex has taken a couple runs at people here and there, but he has a target on his back every game he goes into. He’s just playing the one way he knows how to play, and that’s aggressive and hard. Now you can take that either way, but I thought an old-timer like Cherry–the host of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Hockey videos–would praise the physical play of Ovechkin.
3) Conclusion – This whole argument stemmed from Crosby so let’s take a look at him. His play has been criticized as well concerning his crying, and some NHL fans think he gets away with a lot of stuff too. Earlier this season he jumped a player right off the opening faceoff, and not much was said about it as being a negative thing. Both Crosby and Ovechkin have certain playing styles, and they will be compared witheach other throughout their careers. Crosby is a great skater and passer with an eye for the game, and OV loves to score and play physical. If the NHL is going to grow and mature we as fans must praise the top players for the good things they bring to the game.
Articles for Ovechkin:
- Welcome to the Show – Crazy Corner
- Puck Daddy – Today in Crosby Bashing
- Toronto Star – Hey, Isn’t it Cherry-Canning Season Yet?
Articles against Ovechkin:
Articles for Rivalry:
- Illegal Curve – Crosby and Ovechkin Do Not Like Each Other