Sunday, January 15, 2017


Ovechkin's Latest Triumphs-Who Cares?

In the midst of a deep personal self evaluation, I am trying to uncover the reason for an opinion I cannot shake. I am not an Alex Ovechkin fan.

I am not enthralled with his remarkable exploits. I am not overwhelmed by the fact that he has won the Maurice Richard Trophy for scoring the most goals in the regular NHL season six times, including the last four years. He recently passed Richard's goal total, moving into 84th place in the all-time points list.

I am always impressed with players who remain faithful to their teams, and play their entire career in one city. Ovechkin has done that, in a Washington Capitals uniform. One cannot say the same for that other European superstar, Jaromir Jagr. Jagr has played in several cities, eight, in fact,and even bolted to play in Russia for several seasons. It likely had something to do with money.

It may be because “Ovi” plays for the Caps. I have never been a Capitals fan, likely never will be. I have never scanned the morning news to find out whether or not the Capitals won or lost. I have had many favourite teams over the years, just not the Capitals.

It may be because it has taken him so long to learn how to communicate in acceptable English. I have watched his interviews over the years. It appears that he really does not care what I think of his ability to communicate with me.

I am not a big fan of those who like to “hot dog”. Ovechkin has always put on a fairly obvious personal display when he scores a goal. “Good for you”, I say to myself. But seriously, after scoring 544 goals, you just might tone down that nonsense, just a little. Of course I am old school about that. Score the goal, go to centre ice for the face off. It is not necessary to high five, kiss and hug every player on your bench every time you light the lamp.

I think he is a brilliant player. He is a real force to contend with, at six feet, six inches or more in stature on the ice. He weighs 240 pounds without the equipment. My bones creak a little when I imagine getting creamed into the boards by Ovechkin.

I love the way he shoots the puck. He manages to find that little spot in the open, prepares to fire, and watches the twine bulge. Only a handful of players have had that timing. He is not a big assist guy, and now has chalked up 455 assists in his career. He trails another Russian, Evgeni Malkin. Malkin has 492 assists, and is in 146th place on the all time list.

He appears to be a good teammate. They gather around him after he scores. Then again, what else are they supposed to do?

Perhaps you, the reader, could help me in this regard. I would take 50 other players ahead of Ovechkin as my favourites. Am I wrong here? Does he have endearing qualities? Am I overlooking something?

He is still relatively young, at 31 years. He does not shy away from the rough stuff, and he may not last as long in the league as other players who tend to avoid serious confrontation.

Is it because he has never hoisted the Stanley Cup?

James Hurst
January 12, 2017

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