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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.

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