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Milbury: ‘I’ve never been against Ovechkin’

Apr 10, 2013, 5:24 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

One of Alex Ovechkin‘s most outspoken critics never doubted the Capitals’ captain could rediscover his superstar form. And now that Ovechkin has done just that, NBC analyst Mike Milbury is happy for him.

But Milbury’s words weren’t very kind on Feb. 27, when he said Ovechkin “should be ashamed of himself” and “embarrassed” for his performance against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Today, Ovechkin is tied with Steven Stamkos for the most goals in the NHL and, not coincidentally, the Caps are a good bet to win the Southeast Division.

“It’s funny, that day [NBC studio host] Liam McHugh asked me if I thought he could turn it around and I said, ‘Yeah, he’s got the physical attributes to be a superstar again,” Milbury told CSN Washington.

“The game in Philly was alarming for the reasons that I illustrated. He seemed lost and who knows why. The lockout; time off; new coach; [Nicklas] Backstrom not playing very well; he’s not playing with Backstrom; they got him playing in a different position. But the fact of the matter was that he was nowhere near what he was capable of being.

“There’s nothing more frustrating for me as a former coach and manager watching a guy with abilities like that to fall short, particularly when it comes to paying attention to detail or mental or physical effort. He was falling short there. I have no idea what happened in the interim but I’m glad for him and for the Capitals that it has. They’re in a much better place with this Alex than the other one. It’s a tribute to him.

“So many people attribute the coaches with the credit, but it’s always the player that has to bear the brunt of the criticism and reap the rewards of success, and whatever he’s doing I applaud him for it. I think it’s great because he was in a dark place a couple months ago.”

Milbury added that he’s “never been against Ovechkin,” but at the time, “it seemed like there was less care than there should have been, whether it was physically or mentally, it looked to me to be both. But God bless him, he’s turned it around and so have the Capitals.”

The next step for Ovechkin, according to Milbury, is to perform in the postseason.

“All great players have to establish themselves as clutch playoff performers if they really want to achieve greatness,” said Milbury. “Last year his ice time was cut in the playoffs and now it’s time he steps up in the playoffs. As Adam Oates said, he’s gotta be the man.”

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  1. panicatthedistrict - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    We need a Milbury face cam during Caps games.

    • pajabroni - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:11 PM

      How Milbury is still employed by NBC is beyond me. He is classless scum. He goes against the game’s best players which is a terrible way of promoting the game. Some of his comments he has made in the past were definitely grounds for dismissal. Mentioning Crosby playing like a “crackhead” comes to mind.

      He acts like a Shock Jock, saying off-based comments and all it does is make things awkward in the booth during his rants. Hockey already has one person like this, Don Cherry, and they don’t need another.

      Can I get an Amen?

      • therealjr - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:02 PM

        At least Don Cherry has street cred, as crazy as he often times may be.

      • cheesesteak75 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        Milbury = Assclown

      • bmoreredfury311 - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:19 PM

        Hows that crow milbury, and your gm job? I’m sooooo tired of hearing how the caps play in a bad division. Last i checked its still 42 games for every team to play. Whats going to be the excuse next year.
        ‘But God bless him, he’s turned it around and so have the Capitals.” milbury = tool

        btw read the full article on CSN, not this cut and paste b.s.

  2. eigglesnosuperbowls - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Mike be yourself and keep keeping it real your a breath of fresh air in a world were being honest is wrong and lying is right ! Not like that paid for McGuire he’s a joke !

    • flavadave10 - Apr 11, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      Then let me be honest: Mike Milbury’s opinion about anything regarding ice hockey should be completely irrelevant after his playing career and GM stint.

  3. ravenscaps48 - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Rrrrrriiiiigggghhhhttttttt (Dr. Evil Voice)

  4. challer9 - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Look, I can’t stand Mike Milbury. But in this case I have to agree with him. It’s not like he sits there and insults Ovechkin for random stuff. They play a video and he breaks it down. Isn’t that what he’s paid to do? Besides most of what I see him doing is criticizing his lack of effort (backchecking, etc.), not lack of talent.

  5. thehighcountrybear - Apr 10, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Milbury rocks…ain’t nobody’s yes man!

    Mike Milbury is a sole man, He’s a sole man
    He’s a sole man, he’s a sole man, he’s got it all

    Got what he got the hard way
    And he’ll make it better each and every day
    So honey, don’t you fret
    ‘Cause you ain’t seen nothing yet

    Mike Milbury is a sole man, He’s a sole man, play it Mike
    He’s a sole man, he’s a sole man

  6. csilojohnson - Apr 10, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    The fact that this article even exists says enough. He’s a talented bum. The worst kind.

  7. operwapitsai - Apr 10, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    …..and his last hater throws in the towel. Show ’em Ovi

  8. letsgopens8771 - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Milbury wins the “Just Shut Up” Award. He likes to diss the best players in the game (Crosby, Malkin, Ovi, Giroux) just to hear himself talk. Shall we play the tapes? Milbury has always hated Ovi, saying he was lazy, irresponsible, and a crybaby. Just admit you were wrong and move on. I admit, I said almost the same things before and I admit that I was wrong. Move on and learn to just admit you were wrong.

  9. thehairychestsportsblog - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Remember the “Hey Ovi, Crosby is still your daddy comment” I am pretty sure McGuire and Milbury are hated by Caps fans. Those two always take jabs at the Caps and watching NBC cover a hockey game with that bald headed 4 eyed dweeb between the glass makes me want to hurl a drink at my tv, If Milbury ever left NBC he could always go back to being a GM, he was really good at that position lol.

  10. bubblehead22 - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    MILBURY is an ass and what he has never realized is that there’s a difference between providing professional analysis and being insulting.

    He has his two favorites, Boston and Philly. Oh, he will drop a compliment or two here and there but if a team or a player gives him a chance he can’t resist, he acts like an ass.

  11. kotteintheslot - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Mike Milbury has been against Ovechkin since day one if for no other reason to evoke a stir and try and get people to listen to his usually dumb, exaggerated comments. When Ovechkin is doing better, it’s better for hockey and better for Milbury’s wallet so maybe that’s why he doesn’t hate him.

  12. therealjr - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Yeah Mike, if only he could step up in the playoffs, the Caps problems would be solved.

    Playoff goals per game (active) / Minimum 20 goals

    Alex Ovechkin, 0.588
    Martin St. Louis, 0.524
    Jarome Iginla, 0.518
    Sidney Crosby, 0.485
    Evgeni Malkin, 0.471
    Henrik Zetterberg, 0.468
    Daniel Briere, 0.463
    Jaromir Jagr, 0.433
    Johan Franzen, 0.432
    Daniel Alfredsson, 0.423

    • cheesesteak75 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      Ovi hasn’t gotten his team to the playoffs that often. He has only played in 51 playoff games over 7 years . No doubt he’s a great goal scorer, but he needs to elevate his game overall to be considered as one one the greatest players in the game. Defense, leadership, and overall team player is in need of improvement.

      • therealjr - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        That is so full of bull I can’t let it go.

        They’ve been to the playoffs in 5 of his 7 seasons – the last 5.

        He’s been their leading scorer and best player in every playoff year. Yes, even in last year’s Dale Hunter abomination of modern hockey.

        Blaming team failures on your scoring line winger’s defense when you have guys like Alex Semin and Mike Green no-showing for several games at a time and your actual defense featured guys like Shoane Morrissonn, Milan Jurcina, Tom Poti, Steve Eminger, Brian Pothier, Jeff Schultz, Joe Corvo, Scott Hannan and Dennis Wideman is ridiculous.

        You know as much about his leadership in the locker room as my grandmother.

        If they had a team full of Ovechkins they would have won a Stanley Cup.

      • flavadave10 - Apr 11, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        He’s averaging a point per game in the playoffs. If you want the reason why the Capitals haven’t won a cup with Ovechkin, blame Semin and Green for all but disappearing in the playoffs repeatedly.

    • tdrusher225 - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      This whole idea that Ovechkin doesn’t step up come playoff time is mythical. If anything I’ve seen him raise his compete level even more. He has the production and I’ve seen him an incredible physical factor for his team. Last year he was a big reason the Caps were able to push back against teams like the Bruins and Rangers who tried to use physicality to their advantage. Ovechkin doesn’t have the wins yet, but the ability to take his game to another level has been there.

    • mattybo - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      He is the highest paid player isn’t he? Congrats on doing what he’s paid to do.

  13. capsfan19 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Hell yea real jr!! Milbury = little kid hitting white trash. Goon squad commander.

  14. bmoreredfury311 - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    NAILED IT!, just let the haters, hate, It all comes back around.
    I see a lot of camaraderie with this team and i hope they can keep it going.

  15. thecrabcakestate - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    cheesesteak75…with the most uninformed comment of the week. Ovechkin has had his team in the playoffs the last 5 of his 7 years in the league. He has scored at an amazing rate once there. The team around him is a big part of the reason he hasn’t made it past the second round. Btw. The year after he was drafted there was the lockout so no playoffs. I felt that necessary to say since you obviously looked up his stats to make your comment without any further research.

  16. gbar22 - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Again NBC please stop pushing your blowhard commentator. Fans everywhere despise him and can point out all his failures running the islanders and as a player which seriously hurts his credibility when analyzing players. He’s not funny, he’s not clever and he’s not entertaining.

    Nobody cares what milbury thought as he has been wrong most his entire professional life when it comes to judging players.

    Also would it kill your broadcast team to do a little homework on the teams playing before you air a game. Watch two or three games prior and have something insightful to say! They blurt sh*t out that is so generalized that any real fan of either of the teams can instantly tell they have Zero idea what they are prattling on about. I much prefer my local broadcasters because at least they actually know what is going on with the team on a night to night game to game basis and can offer actual insight.

  17. scalfor3 - Apr 11, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    This Bruins fan thinks Milbury is a clown.

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