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Ovechkin faltered when his team needed him most

Apr 29, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

Ovi7.jpgSean
Gordon of the Globe and Mail
says what everyone will be talking
about writing about today, this summer and likely all of next season
until he can attempt to disprove it: Alex Ovechkin has been
disappointing when his team needed him most.

Ovechkin is usually remembered for his bone-rattling hits or ripping
wrist shots off the goal post and in, but in the 2010 NHL playoffs, the
enduring memories will be of things such as blind passes, missed
attempts at holding the puck in on the power play, and wayward shots.

And
for all the plaudits the Washington Capitals winger has won for his
alluring mix of power, skill and personality – remember the sly shot
about Montreal Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak’s quaking hands? – he
will now face serious questions as to his ability to marshal his team to
victory.

Gordon goes on to say how Ovechkin has lost ground to Sidney Crosby
is the battle for the best NHL player of this generation and it’s tough
to argue with him. I’ve never been one to take sides in the Team
Ovechkin vs. Team Crosby debate, as I prefer to just sit back and enioy
what each brings to the game.

Yet after Crosby has appeared in two straight Stanley Cup finals, won
once and then scored the winning goal for gold in the Olympics, it’s
getting harder and harder not to say that Crosby has taken the next step
while Ovechkin has not. When it looked like the Penguins might stumble
against the Senators in round one, Crosby put the team on his back and
was the best player in that series as he lead the Penguins to next round
in the playoffs. Ovechkin, for whatever reason, has shown that when the
spotlight is brightest he falters.

I’ll have more thoughts on Ovechkin later.

  1. Mike - Apr 29, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Extremely true on all accounts. Crosby shows up in big games and big moments. Ovechkin seems to disappear a little more. He relies more on his shots while Crosby can rely on his vision and passing skills to get it done in addition to shot. That’s why I think Crosby is the better player

  2. Will - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    …Crosby is not only the best thing that has happened to hockey in a long time, but he is truly a ‘class act’ – Ovechkin is an exceptional hockey player for sure, however ‘Sid the Kid’ is simply fantastic, and thats’ an understatement !!

  3. Gary - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    Crosby isn’t even the best player on his own team. How well did he play without Malkin in the lineup. Ovie is the best player in hockey. SI player’s poll (taken from the NHL players) named Ovie the best player by far. I’ll take the players, who play against both of them, opinion over fan bias. If championships is the determining factor then I guess Roethlisberger is better than Peyton Manning. Which of course is not true. The truth about the series with the Habs is, Ovie can’t do it by himself. All the secondary scorers decided not to show up. Can’t win the game by yourself.

  4. Tom - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    you’re nuts….

  5. Joe - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    Gary, you’ve got to be kidding me… Who cares what a poll says? The talking is done on the ice, Ovechkin has a much better team than Crosby… Crosby may have Malkin, but Ovechkin has Backstrom, Semin, Green, etc… Crosby has a Stanley Cup and a Gold Medal under his belt, what does Ovechkin have besides some trophies for how his season went? One thing Crosby doesn’t do is choke, what Ovechkin did last night was choke… If Pittsburgh lost their series it would fall on Crosby’s back no one else, when Ovechkin loses it falls on his back as it should… I guess Crosby just made all his secondary scorers better something Ovechkin couldn’t do the whole series… And this is coming from a Flyers fan

  6. T - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    Poor Ovechkin he is just a Crosby wanna be. I would feel sorry for him, except for the fact that he, and his fans, will blame the loss on his team, and never on himself.
    He is just a hockey version of Allen Iverson, all about me. It didn’t work out for Iverson either.

  7. schtimpy27 - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    How can people still use the “Crosby isn’t the best player on his own team” argument with a straight face? Seriously. Last year, I’d agree. This year? Um, who was better than him this year?
    Yes, Crosby was not as dominate when Malkin was out, but Malkin wasn’t all that dominate when he was in. Love love love Malkin, but he had an off year (injuries and otherwise). This year, Crosby elevated his already impressive game by adding goal scoring to already exceptional play-making, tying for the Richard. He was simply the best Penguin this year.
    Best player in the league? I ain’t touching that with a ten foot pole.

  8. schtimpy27 - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    How can people still use the “Crosby isn’t the best player on his own team” argument with a straight face? Seriously. Last year, I’d agree. This year? Um, who was better than him this year?
    Yes, Crosby was not as dominate when Malkin was out, but Malkin wasn’t all that dominate when he was in. Love love love Malkin, but he had an off year (injuries and otherwise). This year, Crosby elevated his already impressive game by adding goal scoring to already exceptional play-making, tying for the Richard. He was simply the best Penguin this year.
    Best player in the league? I ain’t touching that with a ten foot pole.

  9. Jerr - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Mike hit it right on the head. Crosby has better passing skils and is the better all round player. (And I’m a Caps fan). That being said I think the premise here is all wrong. Ovy was the leading scorer for the Caps and played well. I think he started to press when things weren’t going well and he tries to do it all himself. The guys who let the team down were Semin and Green. Semin lead the team in shots and most of them were bad shots (too long bad angles etc.) Green was absolutely terrible. Could not hold the zone, his passing was horrid and too many times he hesitated. Those two were more to blame IMO.

  10. schtimpy27 - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    How can people still use the “Crosby isn’t the best player on his own team” argument with a straight face? Seriously. Last year, I’d agree. This year? Um, who was better than him this year?
    Yes, Crosby was not as dominate when Malkin was out, but Malkin wasn’t all that dominate when he was in. Love love love Malkin, but he had an off year (injuries and otherwise). This year, Crosby elevated his already impressive game by adding goal scoring to already exceptional play-making, tying for the Richard. He was simply the best Penguin this year.
    Best player in the league? I ain’t touching that with a ten foot pole.

  11. Stu - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Gary, When a Flyers fan takes Sid over Ovie…the conversation is over.

  12. BG - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    And what’s with the child-like celebration EVERY TIME HE OR A TEAMMATE SCORES A GOAL? I mean c’mon Alex. Save that insanity when you score the Olympic gold winning goal or the game 7 overtime goal for the Stanley Cup! Crosby is the best thing to happen to the NHL in years, and perhaps saved the game as we know it. Go Penguins. Class act all the way…..

  13. Woody-eye - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    You’re quite correct…Semin and Green mailed it in while OV tried to carry it all. But the main reason is that Halak and Montreal’s defense played super. I also suspect the Caps got out-coached during the playoffs…even with line control, they couldn’t get away from the stifling defenders.

  14. BeBe - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Although I marvel at the talents of Ovy, Crosby has taken the high road. Crosby is the ultimate athelete. He works hard on and off the ice AND does not bask in his own glory. Ovy spends too much time trying to be a rock star that he actually believes his own hype. If he put as much effort in to improving (like Crosby), he could come out on top.

  15. RJretnip - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    Last time I checked hockey was a team sport and as team sports go, “you win as a team and you lose as a team”. Pointing the blame on a “team” losing to one “individual” person is just plain crap. Granted Ovechkin may not have done what was expected on offense but I didn’t realize he also gave us the 3 goals in last nights loss????

  16. rob - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Crosby is a committed player. He practices all the time and has a good head on his shoulders. He seems to be maturing better than Ovechkin. I think Crosby is more serious about dedicating himself to the game and it’s beginning to pay big dividends. 2 Stanley Cup appearances. One win. Gold medal.
    And, Mike Florio. Suck my @$$, you Steelers hating scumbag!

  17. Bud - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Another Flyer fan chiming in, not even close Crosby by a ton and Mike Green as a Norris trophy finalist, does any one actually watch the games, you have to play defense to win that award? The last time Mike Green stopped anyone three wise men came over a hill, he’s a stiff who couldn’t carry Chris Pronger’s golf bag!!

  18. bill5507 - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    All Crosby has to do now is stop whining to the refs every time he hits the ice and stop with his cheap shot slashes away from the play. Only then will he have earned the respect needed to be a truly great all-around player.

  19. Stu - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Bud, Just to clarify; your for Crosby in the argument and against Green. Right?

  20. JDog - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    Gary, I’ll take Crosby with his skill and professionalism anyday and win. You can have the “Great 8″ and continue to watch the rest of the Capless playoffs.

  21. Anderson - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    True one individual player can’t do it by himself, but that’s the difference insn’t it? Crosby makes his teamates better, Ovie makes Ovie Better.. Last I checked Hockey is a TEAM sport. But then again 14 points in the first round doesn’t hurt.

  22. Terry - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    I guess I always thought that the goals win games. I thinK that Gary is a little confused because they rhyme. It is GOALS not POLES.

  23. nick c - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    Class act? This truly gifted hockey player has been a whiner since he entered the league, always bitterly complaining to the refs. Otherwise, he’s the best in the game right now.

  24. Bud - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    Yes Stu, I’m for Crosby by a ton over Alex Ove(rated)chkin, us Flyer fans do not forget anything (his infamous dive in playoffs 2008, where by the way they lost another game 7 at home). We do not care for and will boo Crosby and chant “Crosby sucks” from the beginning of the game into the parking lot long after it is over but there is not one fan in the building that wouldn’t give anything to have him on our team, he is definitely the best player in the league and although I REALLY hate to say this, I look for him to win the cup again this year. Green is a stiff and the Caps are quickly becoming the Philadelphia Eagles of hockey!! Just wish people that commented understood the game, Bill 5507, the only respect Crosby is looking for, he has gotten at 21 years old. It is about having your name carved on the Cup!!

  25. Gary - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Sure, Sid has an Olympic gold medal (he played horrible until that game winning shot) and a Stanley cup. Robert Horry has seven rings, does that make him better than Larry Bird, No. It’s a team game and unfortunately for Ovie the rest of his team, Semin, Green, etc…, decided not to show up. Sid is a great player, just not on Ovie’s level.

  26. Rob - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    One man’s whining is another man’s leadership. Crosby is a team player and a winner. Ovechin is all about “me, me, me”. Hopefully, he will grow as a human being. I like his chances better than MIKE FLORIO! Suck it, Mikey.

  27. Bud - Apr 29, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    Yes, Stu I am for Crosby, he is a winner and will be the reason the Flyers will not win the cup for the next ten years unless he gets traded. Gretzky did, we can always hope, right?? Maybe the will trade him for Green!!!!!!

  28. Scott Andrews - Apr 29, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    Gary please put down the crack pipe before you hurt yourself. Crosby is not only the best player but the class of the league. Ovie is a choke artist thug who is all about himself. He is a typical narcissist in a city that is full of them. Perhaps he can be our next President as he has the right mentality.

  29. Bob - Apr 29, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    Anyone check grammar anymore? This article is full of correctly spelled words in nonsensical locations……Brandon you need to check your posts for more than mis-spelled words!

  30. Joe - Apr 29, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    what makes ovechkin better? individual stats? i thought you played the game to win? something crosby would know about, but ovechkin would not… easy to score 50-60 goals a season when you take 500+ shots a year… robert horry and larry bird aren’t even in the same category, i could see if you used larry bird and magic johnson, but you’re trying to say who’s better darren mccarty (cuz he’s won a few cups) or mark messier lol… crosby and ovechkin are easily to the best players in the sport, but more people would take what crosby does on the ice than what ovechkin does, end of discussion…

  31. caseyfromcalgary - Apr 29, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    Just goes to show, that as long as a European is “the man” on the team, they won’t win the cup. Look at the winners, they might have good Europeans, but they need a good Canadian boy to be “the man”.

  32. rodk47 - Apr 29, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    I agree with you. This bashing of Ovechkin reminds me of the nonsense people wrote about MJ before his Bull’s team rattled of three consecutive NBA championships. Ovie does not have the supporting cast Crosby does.

  33. bob h - Apr 29, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    No matter what your opinion is of either the real fact is that they are the two most exciting players to watch! It’s like having two 99’s with different characteristics playing in the same league. Every game they play fans have great expectations. It is a real disappointment we won’t see them matched up.

  34. Mike - Apr 29, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    If a player does not show up in big games ie. Peyton Manning, it does not matter how many yearly awards you win. Its all about championships, thats the letter. Peyton Manning through the interception that caused his team the Super Bowl. If you don’t show up when your team needs you the most, then in my book you don’t deserve to be called the best player in any league. Arod didn’t truly get his props till he showed up in the World Series. Until Ovie and Peyton show up he will only be as good as Dan Marino, a whole lot of records and NO rings.

  35. Anonymous - Apr 29, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    Why is it that no one gives the Canadiens any credit? They played one hell of a series, and this is from someone rooting for the Caps. If they was an MVP award for the first round, Halak would win it, no questions asked.

  36. Dustin - Apr 29, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Right..you can not win the games by yourself. Then why does Ovi keep trying to win them by himself? His team is worse off with him in the lineup. He is a puck hog, a grand-stander and we would be better off without him. Yea, he gets an impressive amount of goals..but he also takes twice as many shots. His goal numbers are great, but percentage wise, he is in the lower half of all active players. I am sick and tired of people puting this selfish narcasistic glory hound on a pedastal above the rest.

  37. SerialChillr - Apr 29, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    Jeez…c’mon people. Playoff hockey is about hot goaltending and smart defensive play, plain and simple. Washington was suspect all year between the pipes which bit them in the butt when it mattered. Halak would have showed up Ovie or Sid the way he played. But, as far as putting fans in the stands…Ovie wins because he looks like he’s having fun. Crosby rarely does. So, save the Cup comparisons. Fleury was the reason the Pens won last year. Remember the last diving save? That wasn’t Crosby…he was on the bench the whole of the 3rd period of game 7.

  38. puckster - Apr 29, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    Ovie is about himself, For him it is not about the team. Washington is the best skilled team in the NHL. Take Ovie off the team and they will win with Coach Boudreau and and the rest. Ovie belongs home playing in the KHL, he has no heart or passion for Lord Stanley

  39. Anonymous - Apr 30, 2010 at 7:58 AM

    You’re an idiot. If not for Crosby, the Pens would be in Kansas City right now. Another Ovechkin @$$wiper.
    And, Crosby played very well in the Olymics. Scored a shoot-out goal for one win. Got the overtime win for the Gold. And, got some assists. Ovechkin is the one that never showed up in the Olympics. He sucked.

  40. Terry - Apr 30, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Messagw for Gary. Even though GOAL and POLL rhyme, it is the Goals, not the polls that win games. I think you are a little comnfused.

  41. Alex - May 14, 2010 at 6:12 AM

    Crosby choked also. Ovi had 5 g 5a and +5 in 7 games against Habs and Crosby had like 1 g and 3 or 4 a in 7 games against Habs. Looks like Ovi played better than Crosby and Crosby choked as did Malkin and Fleury in game 7.

  42. Terry L - May 16, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    All i know is if i had to pick it would be sid over ovie any day.Ovie is exciting but is a dirty player and has a bad attitude.I am glad they lost in the first round, which is what they will most likely do next season

  43. Peter North - May 25, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    Crosby is a fag. Ovie is the best player in the world.

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  1. K. Hayes (1827)
  2. R. Johansen (1725)
  3. S. Crosby (1664)
  4. J. Spezza (1438)
  5. A. Ovechkin (1326)
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  2. D. Alfredsson (1220)
  3. S. Mason (1216)
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  5. R. Malone (1157)