Did Alexander Ovechkin Go Overboard ?

Hell no! I say again, Hell no! For all those wondering what the hell I am talking about:

Now my rant.

We are so screwed up here in Toronto. Tie freaking Domi has character but a guy who scores 50 can’t? For some dumb reason we seem to live and die for the USA to love hockey. We finally, for the first time since Tiger Williams (stick riding) and Mike Foligno (jump) have someone with some colour and we dump on him? The hell with Crosby! Not that he isn’t a great player- he is. Ovechkin should be EVERYWHERE…buses, cereal boxes, late night talk shows, etc. Instead NBC and TSN rarely put his games on. He is the best player in the league in my opinion. He is the most entertaining. He is the only guy I would pay money out of my own pocket to go see watch play in the entire league. Other leagues have guys with colour. Many of those guys disappoint through their personal lives and actions. Here is a guy who is a good kid, he LOVES to the play the game. He plays it the right way AND he has some flair. Why would we ever want to embrace that? One of the reasons the league lacks attention is that it is full of vanilla personalities. Talk to media types and for the most part they lover covering hockey players compared to other professional athletes because hockey players are, for the most part, good guys. So when someone is loud, different and perhaps even flamboyant we object? So far Ovechkin hasn’t been picked up drunk driving. I haven’t seen any photo’s of him pulling hits out of a bong. Is it classless to celebrate after scoring a big goal?? No. If it is we need to re-establish the definition of class. It is one thing to skate by the other bench ala Slapshot and smack guys with your sticks. Or to mock the opponents. Hell all I have heard all week is about Martin Brodeur. Good on him. He broke a record. So many people said, “and he is such a good quiet guy”. That’s fine. I have no problem with that. Would it be worse if he had some colour? I mean there is room in between Brodeur and Sean Avery.Michael Jordan wasn’t totaly vanilla, but he wasn’t Dennis Rodman either.

Given everything this league has been through. A work stoppage. A shitty economy. Horrible attendance issues. Clutching and grabbing. I don’t understand why, when we get a guy with real talent, who plays hard, goes into the corners, shows some jam, we are so quick to criticize him for showing some signs of life. If the NHL wants the big TV contract, if we Canadians want the game to be loved south of the border, we need another 10 to 15 Ovechkins. I am not even going to dignfy Don Cherry or Bill Watters for what they have to say on the issues. Pictures say a thousand words:

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March 20, 2009 9:25 am

I agree with most of what you said, however his celebration was a planned one. In my opinion it was a little overboard. The glass jumping and his previous celebrations I didnt mind, I just thought this one was a tad too exuberent.

March 20, 2009 10:32 am

Found this article through Ted Leonsis blog. I thought the celebration was fun. But then again, I’m a Caps season ticket holder! 😉

March 20, 2009 11:09 am

Planned undoubtedly, maybe even to piss off Cherry and his adopted son Crosby. Good for AO, he is without a doubt the most exciting player in the game I think and it is evident that he loves to play, good for him.

March 20, 2009 11:30 am

I’ll weigh in….In general, I prefer the more low key / modest approach. However, when a player scores a big goal e.g. game winner in OT, 50th etc…you expect a more exuberant reaction…which is great especially when it doesn’t looked rehearsed (spontaneous emotion – think Joe Carter’s home run winner). I hate the rehearsed dances/celebrations – especially the one’s you use to see in NFL football (and still do in the CFL)….

All that said; for some reason, it doesn’t bother me when I see AO celebrate…he doesn’t seem like an arrogant / prim donna athlete…he simply looks like a kid excited and having fun….more like Foligno vs. Terrell Owens. His 50th goal celebration was a bit choreographed for my taste.

PS: the league needs more AO’s….they should be celebrating him!

March 20, 2009 11:43 am

Just my $0.02…

I agree wholeheartedly. Here’s a guy who just LOVES to score goals and for some reason, it’s become a bad thing. Would Don Cherry and others like him like Ovechkin more if he just shrugged his shoulders and said “Oops”? Apologized to the goalie maybe? Seriously, let the guy celebrate.

Was this particular celebration a bit over the top? Perhaps. But not only did he break 50, not only did he break 50 for the third time in a four season career, not only is he the first Cap to do that, but the guy did it in a 1 on 3 situation, flying to the right wing side. For the love of Pete, let the guy play. And enjoy himself. And not have to watch his back because Don Cherry basically calls for one of his “good character guys” to take him out in order to teach him a lesson.

Because, yeah, Don. That’s Classy with a capital C.

I prefer Ovie’s joy and love of the game to Cherry’s bitterness any day of the week.

March 20, 2009 12:23 pm

I don’t care for the theatrics. I see a line between sheer exuberance, like jumping into the glass and theatrics like the hot stick thing. I thought it was totally fine when he cupped his ear after that amazing goal a few weeks ago. Lot’s of athletes do that to get the crowd loud. But the hot stick thing is just too Terrell Owens for me.

March 20, 2009 1:15 pm

Maybe OV can save his juvenile celebrations until his teams wins, say, a playoff round.

Caps need someone like Shanahan to show this guy some class.

March 20, 2009 2:02 pm

Followed here from Ted Leonsis’ blog. No one ever mentions the goal he got. Commenter Jen is right, it was a pretty frickin’ amazing goal. I don’t think it should have gone in! I think he has every right to be happy with another achievement. Goals bring fans to the sport. I’d be happy if there was a 50-goal guy on every team in the league. Then I wouldn’t fall asleep through some snooze-worthy games.

Thanks for this op-ed.

-from a Caps fan, Philly/Patrick Division girl, Caps STH, Ovie-sweater girl.

Mike S
Mike S
March 20, 2009 2:19 pm

If what Ovechkin did was so great then I doubt his teammate Mike Green would have said this after the game:

“”He told me he was going to do it. He wanted me to join in, but there was no way I’d join in on that”

March 20, 2009 3:20 pm

I don’t mind those exuberant celebrations once in a while. While I feel they may be over the top, I think the benefits of Ovechkin far outweigh the cost. While in the very limited time I’ve seen Crosby he seems to be an excellent technical player, given the choice I’d rather see Ovechkin, definitely. NB not seen Malkin much. Probably the only 5 players in the past 20 years I would pay money to see play at their are Lemieux, Jagr, Lindros, Bure, Ovechkin. Maybe there are others, can’t think of them right now.

March 20, 2009 5:53 pm

SG, you can’t remember Gretzky? Wow! As a Caps fan I said Ugh because it was SO corny. Had forgotten about it 2 minutes later. I think he did it just to get Cherry to pee his pants. Hope it worked!

Caps Nut
March 20, 2009 6:25 pm

When A.O. goes screaming down the ice, crashing into the boards, and running over his own team mates, that’s interesting. That’s colorful that is illustrating passion. When A.O. executes a premeditated goal celebration routine, it is bush league and unprofessional.

Sure, the NHL is “vanilla” but that doesn’t have to be a bad things. One of the nice things about the NHL is that you don’t see the obvious taunting and trash talking that mar the NFL and NBA.

It is a fine line between exhibiting passion and joy and showing no respect for the game and your opponent and I for one feel A.O. went way over that line last night.

Dave C.
Dave C.
March 20, 2009 7:03 pm

Yeah, maybe he could have done better. But the three on the one on three should have apolgized to the crowd. They are the ones that stunk up the ice.

Rich L
Rich L
March 21, 2009 12:04 am

I live in the DC area and there is no player more responsible for the resurgence of hockey in DC than OV. The team is great, and the player rocks. He is 23, enjoying the big life he gets to lead. Yet, he is mostly respectful of the game, the league, and the competition. I find him quite refreshing.

“One Lighting player said is wasn’t football.” Oh heaven forbid that the NHL could ever be compared to the most successful professional sports league…

I love hockey, we Canadians are a humble lot, that does not mean that all hockey players need to be…

March 24, 2009 9:46 pm

I think Ovie should be forgiven one disgression for all he has brought to the game. I”ve seen nothing to indicate that the man wants to hurt anyone. When he hit Heward and he went down he wanted to know what was up he waited outside the locker room for an update, he apologized, and if you watch the caps, it took a LONG time for the hard hitting Ovie to get back to form. He had an interaction with the goalie the other night, didn’t hear the whistle and shot the puck, he went STRAIGHT toe the goalie when he realized what happened and made peace. IF Green was so against the celebration, he or Theodore or Backstrom who were supposedly involved in the planning could’ve stopped it before it happened. Maybe it’s one thing to talk a player into it and let him think you’re going to do it too, and another to follow through. No trash talk in hockey? HA HA HA just becasue the fans aren’t hearing it before/after a game very often, don’t believe for a minute it isn’t happening ALL GAME long…ask Pierre Maguire when he sat between the Caps/Penguins benches on 22 Feb in DC. Ovie is great for the game, he’s great for hockey EVERYwhere, especially what he’s done in DC. This might cause him mVP as voted on by the players, but that’s life. And Malkin is a better player than Crosby – his english, eh. Semin is a great player – he had no problem talking ‘outside the lines’ and it was REFERSHING to see!

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