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Oates bothered by national criticism of Ovechkin

Mar 12, 2013, 4:16 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

We wrote yesterday about the giant microscope Alex Ovechkin plays under.

Well, today his coach, Adam Oates, went to bat for him.

When asked about the national criticism Ovechkin has received from the likes of NBC analysts Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire, as well as TSN’s Ray Ferraro, Oates admitted that it bothered him.

“I don’t like it when ex-players talk about players,” said Oates. “I think your job is to add color.”

Oates also said he “had a little talk this morning” with Ovechkin.

“He’s got so much pressure on him,” said Oates, “the world sees it, but they don’t see necessarily the 10 hits, they don’t see necessarily the 14 shots that he takes. They focus on the mistakes, and that goes with the territory.”

Oates is right that Ovechkin doesn’t deserve all the blame for the Caps’ problems, but it’s unreasonable to ask former-players-turned-analysts like Milbury and Ferraro to avoid saying anything about current players. Analyzing players is what they’re paid to do. The fact they did play in the NHL — or in the case of McGuire, coach in the NHL — is part of what qualifies them for the job.

  1. valoisvipers - Mar 12, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Milbury qualified? Now that’s an oxymoron.

    • valoisvipers - Mar 12, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      PS. Put your big boy pants on and suck it up ovi as you’ve earned it unlike the 10 million a year you drain out the of the cap space.

      • blackfoot11 - Mar 12, 2013 at 4:39 PM

        As a Caps fan, I agree with you. He has to ignore the talk and play hockey. His pay and performance will always be discussed, especially when adversity hits.

      • stakex - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:44 PM

        In fairness to Ovechkin, when was the last time you saw him personaly complain about the media attention?

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:07 AM

        And I too agree. Ovi = cancer for a hockey team. He will NEVER lead an organization to the greatest honor.

    • thesableo - Mar 12, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      Mike Milbury was created one night when God did too much coke and tried to explain Don Cherry to an American.

      • upyoursnfu - Mar 12, 2013 at 9:56 PM


  2. bigoldorcafromvan - Mar 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Wasn.t it Ovi that said during the lockout. “The NHL is in a mess and the owners are a bunch of bullies and I am staying in Russia when its over” I am thinking that would be a better spot for him right now.

    • polegojim - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:59 PM


      Oates should be MORE bothered by how the Caps are woefully underperforming.

  3. ludacrish05 - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    He needs to grow his beard back, forget the advertisement money.

    • mp1113 - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      ive been saying the same thing for awhile

  4. tomahawk12 - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Don’t worry honey, it will be alright……..Earn your money and you’ll have nothing to worry about. Big meanies!

  5. polegojim - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Ovi’s latest round of criticism… was a result of his own silly MOUTH.

    Shut up and play good hockey – So far Mr. Oates… he’s not done either well.

  6. whiskytango333 - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    He’s getting paid big money. And he’s been terrible. Criticism with his present performance is not only appropriate, but justified.

  7. gbar22 - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Except in the case of Mcquire one could easily Question his ability to analyze anything. He gives ridiculously glowing reports on any given player under the age of 25 and he plays to the audience he his speaking to. When he comes on francesa’s show in the ny market he raves about how unbeatable the rangers are and when he is talkin to Pittsburgh he raves about how unbeatable the penguins are. He’s a blowhard like most fans.

  8. stakex - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    There are certainly areas of his game where Ovechkin deserves some harsh criticism. However the media has gone over board quite a lot this year where they ignore his good play and just look to find reasons to pick him apart.

    Take the whole “missed” hit on Stephen the other day. There are perfectly good reasons not to throw that hit (such as similar plays being called as a penelty quite often), and it had nothing to do with the goal itself. The goal was scored because Holtby made an awful play and the defense was soft. Yet Milbury could not get off the fact that Ovechkin didn’t throw the hit, and never mentioned that it was one of the weakest goals of the year so far.

    Again, Ovechkin has earned a lot of criticism especially with his contract… but a lot of the hockey media seems to go out of their way to find even more when it comes to him.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:14 AM

      You’re right about Milbury. However, there isn’t one credible coach ever that would condone Crazy 8’s decision to go for the hit and risk a 3 on 2 as opposed to retreating to keep the play a 3 on 3. Ovi is not, and never will be an astute student of the game. He just never had a coach who was strong headed enough to teach him how to PLAY the game.

  9. rsl22 - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    After tonight, Ovechkin will have 700 points in 578 career games (plus 59 points in 51 playoff games). Considering those numbers, he takes too much flak from guys with no proven record of success.

    Pierre McGuire never played a single professional hockey game, not in the NHL, ECHL, AHL, IHL, and I couldn’t find any record of him in any Canadian junior league or NCAA hockey. In his one season as a head coach, he was 27-37-7, and missed the playoffs.

    Milbury was a hack on the ice, and his ability to recognize talent was summarized nicely on Wikipedia: He … traded away defensemen Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden, Bryan Berard, Eric Brewer, Darius Kasparaitis, and Bryan McCabe; goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Tommy Salo; as well as forwards Olli Jokinen, Todd Bertuzzi, Tim Connolly, and Raffi Torres. Milbury has also come under fire for his draft day decisions such as choosing Rick DiPietro first overall in 2000 over Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik, as well as his decision to include the 2001 second overall draft pick (Jason Spezza) as part of the Alexei Yashin trade.

    So I ask, why do we care about their opinions over the opinion of Oates?

    • tatdue - Mar 12, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      Fantastic comment there buddy. I agree 100%!!!

    • 2jivecrew - Mar 12, 2013 at 11:45 PM

      Attack the messenger when you can’t attack what he says.

      I’m no fan of Milbury, but he was right on about Ovie…..and he is far from the only guy with NHL experience making those same criticisms. Ovie has always been a joke defensively. Running around throwing hits doesn’t constitute playing defense, just ask Datsyuk. And he’s always been a one trick pony on offense, trouble is his one trick doesn’t really work anymore and so people are no longer bedazzled by the one trick. Now people’s eyes are open to the all around player Ovie has always been.

  10. nicknyhc - Mar 12, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    As a Rangers fan watching the Rangers-Caps game even I thought the criticism of Ovechkin from Pierre and Eddice Olczyk was overboard. Like someone previously stated, that non-hit could have been called a penalty and ultimately Stephan scores on that play because the Caps D was soft and Holtby let a bad one in.

    The situation with Ovi just goes to show that even with a superstar caliber player (which Ovechkin still is) your team isn’t going anywhere with constant coaching changes and a lackluster lineup. The Caps strategy under Dale Hunter last year was to not play Ovi until the 3rd period…how can you blame Ovi for not racking up goals under that system?

    In the last couple years he’s had to deal with a personality clash with Bruce Budreau, Dale Hunter coming in with a stupid over the top defensive system that cut his ice time drastically, then Adam Oates coming in and switching his position and throwing him on a line with Jay Beagle. Is it really a mystery why Ovi isn’t producing?

    • 2jivecrew - Mar 12, 2013 at 11:41 PM

      Ovie hasn’t racked up goals in the last 3 systems he’s played in…..including BB’s last system before being the scapegoat for Ovie’s decline. Nor was he racking up the goals when he was playing with offensive snipers around him. Time to face reality. This is season #3 of Ovie not coming anywhere near earning his cap hit. He wasn’t even the best russian playing in the KHL during the lockout. No, he is not a superstar anymore. he’s become a national punchline.

      • rg3isvictory - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:35 AM

        Please help me out. Who was the best player in the KHL during the Lockout? Who where the Top 10 players during that time? I don’t follow the KHL at all and would like to know where he ranked consider that reports that he played very well in that time frame. OVi doesn’t have to be the best player in the NHL for the Caps to be successful, but he does need to be the best player for the Caps if they’re going to win consistently. I’m no Ovi apologist but we don’t take into account his vision, his passing or stick work, which tends to be wasted b/c of the lack of talent on his line. I’m tired of watching him set guys up for goals who constantly whiff on the
        Puck completely or miss wide. So his options are, be double teamed or go strong to the net and pass the puck to a lesser skilled player that will waste the opportunity. Someone need to speak with Ovi about taking a pay cut next season if that’s what it takes to get another skilled scorer on the team. Injuries to key players doesn’t help either. Maybe the Caps can bring Tomas back from the Panthers. He wasn’t scared of shooting.

  11. pavelfitzgerald - Mar 12, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    It is completely reasonable to ask Mike Milbury to not say anything about anybody or anything.
    NBC instantly loses credibility when he’s on TV (the rest of their lineup is fairly good)
    In Canada we were happy to get rid of McGuire – he’s your idiot now

  12. mj1818 - Mar 12, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    What the fans can’t see is how out of playing shape he really is. Once he can get his act in gear in the off season is when he will turn it back around.

  13. hockeydon10 - Mar 12, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    I’m not a Caps fan by any means.

    That being said, I’d like to see one of these talking heads cover having these Caps players having their system change so often in the last few years. Remember the run-and-gun of Boudreau? Then the play-more-defense Boudreau? Then the defense-at-the-expense-of-offense Hunter? Then this “hybrid” style that Oates is trying to make them play, with no training camp? Not to mention moving Ovie from left side to right side, again with no training camp?

    Oh, and we might as well throw in a fourth system in there for those that played abroad during the lockout.

    That’s certainly not everything that’s going on. Some of it also looks like Ovie cannot handle being Captain. But the system and coaching changes cannot be simply ignored.

    • nicknyhc - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:22 AM

      Finally someone with some sense.

      Even after you take all this into consideration, it still isn’t fair to place the blame on one player when your team as a whole sucks.

      • hockeydon10 - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:04 AM


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  15. dawglb - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:22 AM

    Just coach.
    You will not last as a coach, if you read the paper or listen to the “experts”.

  16. michiganhockey11 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    I just can’t take someone seriously as an analyst that once climbed into the stands and beat a man with his own shoe…

    Reggie Dunlop and the Hanson brothers have more credibility.

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