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Ovechkin: Critics ‘can close their mouths’

Apr 24, 2013, 4:52 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

Alex Ovechkin has a message for those that doubted him.

Shhh.

“It seems like people who been all over me, they can close their mouths,” Ovechkin told CSN Washington, the day after scoring his league-leading 31st goal in a playoff clinching win over Winnipeg.

“Like I said months ago, if I’m going to have a couple bad games everybody will be all over me again. I just tell myself it doesn’t matter what’s going to happen.”

Ovechkin finished Tuesday’s game — one that gave the Caps their fifth Southeast Division title in six years — with another stellar stat-line: one goal, one assist, six shots on goal, four hits and 17:22 in ice time.

It was the latest in a line of performances that has him gunning for his third Hart Trophy as league MVP and his first since 2009.

Ovechkin now leads the NHL in goals, power play goals (16), shots (214) while sitting fourth in points (53).

He’ll likely garner strong MVP consideration, especially given how his hot play coincided with Washington’s climb from 14th in the Eastern Conference on Mar. 19 to third (granted, by way of winning the weak Southeast Division) yesterday.

The Caps have won 14 of 17 over that stretch and Ovechkin has scored 29 points.

As for how the Great 8 has maintained his focus over that stretch?

“Just don’t listen to nobody — fans, you guys,” he told CSN. “I just have to listen to my teammates and my coach and that’s it.”

  1. jj9979 - Apr 24, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    o, ok. let me know when a team he is on actually wins something besides the easiest division in the history of the NHL

    • kyzslew77 - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      The Capitals aren’t in the Northwest!

    • polegojim - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      Exactly JJ… he hasn’t silenced ANY critic.

      All he’s shown is that he can still play 1/4 of a season…. which is what he’s done in 2013 after trash talking the NHL with threats of staying in Russia.

  2. jobotjones - Apr 24, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    As a Pens fan, good for him. Let your play do the talking and the haters will bite their tongues.

    See you down the playoff road.
    Let’s. Go. Pens.

    • rsl22 - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      I appreciate the unbiased perspective.

      I don’t know if the Caps are better than the Penguins right now; with Crosby and Malkin healthy and in the lineup, almost assuredly not. What I do know is that win or lose, that’s an Eastern Conference Final I (and probably any hockey fan) would love to see.

      • itripledogdareyou - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:31 PM

        You don’t know if the Caps are better than the Penguins right now? Holy smokes… a lot of confidence for a team that is really only 6th best in the conference. While the Caps second half has been tremendous, its not like the Pens are fading away. Since March 1st, Caps are 19-8, Pens are 22-3. As good as the Caps are playing, the first half exposed a lot of weaknesses in their team and not all of them have been addressed. If the Caps do play the Pens in the later rounds, which Ovi will show up if they go down 1 or 2 games in the series? I’d be a little nervous of that. Heck, if I was a Caps fan, that would be my biggest worry for the first round.

  3. panicatthedistrict - Apr 24, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Calm down. Did the Capitals ask to be put in the easiest division? No. They took advantage of what they were stuck with. And that’s what you do to win, you take advantage of every opportunity.

    • rsl22 - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      I never understand how the Canucks don’t take the same heat that the Caps do.

      Has anyone watched the Northwest division? When was the last time Calgary, Edmonton, or Colorado didn’t suck? This year, the Wild added Parise and Suter, have the third highest payroll in the league, and are still barely going to make the playoffs.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        Maybe it’s because they take heat for just about everything else they do, so people forget about their joke of a division.

      • tdrusher225 - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:27 PM

        Because the Canucks have made it to a Stanley Cup Final, and the Caps haven’t been out of the 2nd round during the Ovechkin era.

      • bgrillz - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:03 AM

        The Canucks do take the same heat, just no one pays attention because they play in Canada west.

    • stakex - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      Its also worth pointing out that they would still be in 6th place right now anyway, even without winning the SE.

  4. btlpper68 - Apr 24, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    All to milbury

    • cba77 - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      ….what a fool, just set himself up for another playoff failure

  5. jacketsfan7 - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Should still be Sid , most points in a limited amount of games

    • rsl22 - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      Ovechkin has more goals in his last 15 games than Sid has all year. Point totals are great, but goals count for more than secondary assists in my book.

    • stakex - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      The Heart has NOTHING to do with points. Nothing, at all. Thats what the Art Ross Trophy is for.

      The Heart is about who is the most valuable player to their team. As we can see, the Pens have no problems without Crosby and the Caps would be a near last place team without Ovechkin on the absolute top of his game. Hes more valuable to the Caps then Crosby is to the Pens… without any doubt.

      • bigbuffguy95 - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:34 AM

        Learn how to spell correctly. It’s “Hart.”

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:46 PM

      The Pens have been just as good, if not better without Crosby, (which sounds crazy). How do you give an MVP to a guy whose team stays the best while he’s gone.

  6. jacketsfan7 - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    But I still think it’s been a hell of a season for ovi , he shut these critics up

  7. tdsnbeers - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    OVI is awesome, hands down. Not the best player in the league. But a great hockey player. F this media stuff that causes drama..

  8. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    He should learn to shut up, be humble, stop getting coaches fired (stay in Russia like he said he would), stop being a show boat, and win a SC if he wants respect What a loser.

    • babykaby - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      You are a jerk. They take his comments out of context, the coaches got themselves fired, he never said he would stay in Russia, he enjoys the game, and it takes a team and luck to win the cup. If you think the Pens, Bruins or Blackhawks won the cup because of just one player than you know nothing about hockey.

      We know you know nothing about Ovechkin. But I have no doubt you’d pee yourself if he played on your team.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        Hahahahahahaha! Tell me I know nothing about hockey when the team he captains wins the SC. If you think it takes a team to win the cup, then you know nothing about hockey. Winning the cup requires an organizational effort. Every team who has won the cup has what it takes including a great captain. This idiot is not and never will be a great captain. Now move on and don’t bother me anymore.

  9. fpstratton - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    I understand the appeal of Ovechkin vs. the Penguins, but I think the more interesting matchup at this point would be Bruins vs. Penguins. I still think Boston gives Pittsburgh the best series.

  10. watermelon1 - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Plus… His girlfriend is hotter than yours!

  11. cosmo83 - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    I’m glad he said this! The haters will hate no matter what he does. He proved all the doubters wrong and they will still run their mouths about whatever he can.

    To all that hate Ovi. Imagine your great at something, then fall short in performance for a short time and have EVERYONE run their mouths about how you are horrible and will never accomplish anything again. Then what would you say to them when you achieve greatness again??

    That’s what I thought. Maybe all of you are the ones that need to shut up??

  12. mp1131211 - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Seems like he’s accusing everyone else of being vocal curing his crappy start, but I remember that he was quite vocal during that period too. Maybe he improved because he ‘closed his mouth’ and started playing.

  13. icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Get ‘em Ovi. It is amazing how people said he was ‘washed up.’ Even as a Flyers fan, I enjoy Ovi’s success.

  14. csilojohnson - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    “a couple games…..” More like 20+.
    Nobody with any sense ever questioned his “ability”.

  15. benrob99 - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    It’s nice to see that he can dog it and sulk (and suck) for a year and a half. Then have two good months and come back running his mouth. #cantholdcrosbysjock #dealwithit

    • babykaby - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:08 AM

      Maybe he cantholdcrosbysjock, but I’d bet my life you dream about holding it.

  16. pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    Well then whats his excuse for missing the first 20 games? I guess showing up in the last 28 games means that you can tell your haters to “SHHH”? Atleast Crosby came to play in the 36 games he played this year unlike Ovie.

    • barkar942 - Apr 24, 2013 at 9:38 PM

      He needed Milbury to rip him another hole near his posterior after his no show game against the Rangers earlier this year before he decided to focus and work with his new coach (his third in three years).
      I fully agree he is one of the best offensive players in the league, but until he fully buys in to being a complete two way player he had better be scoring his Ovechtricks every game, cause that will be the only way they will make up for his lack of proper defensive responsibility.

    • babykaby - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:10 AM

      That’s about how many Crosby plays every year, isn’t it? Oh wait, no, he doesn’t play quite that many every year.

  17. blastardo - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Good for him. Now that Ovechkin has silenced his critics hopefully the Caps can follow suit and have a deep playoff run.

    Ovi is right about one thing though, as soon as his performance looks to be dipping for a few games guys like Milbury will be off slandering his name again.

    • zico25 - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      To be fair, Milbury runs his mouth about anyone when he feels like it. No one should take anything he says seriously.

  18. cfos00 - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Now wait a minute. He didn’t have a bad few games. He had a bad year and a half, to the point that his last coach was benching him and people in DC were honestly wondering if they were saddled with a bad contract. He’s playing great right now, and he’s a huge reason that they’re heading to the playoffs. But let’s no act like people were out of the minds to question his play. He wasn’t playing at remotely near a superstar or MVP level for a while before the second half of this season.

    • wethog66 - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      Last year he was stuck with 2 coaches (1 trying to save his job) sticking OV in a defense first system, and he spent the 1st half of this years strike shortened season learning a new system and a new position. Any chance any of that factored into his poor play prior to him ROARING back?

      Not saying OV is blameless for his huge slump, but it does get old to read comment after comment that simply label OV as a lazy bum during his slump and not mentioning other significant factors that played a part.

      • cfos00 - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:41 PM

        Not saying he was a lazy bum at all, but he flat out didn’t produce on either end of the ice. There is absolutely zero reason he couldn’t play both ways, even if it was a defensive system. Look at a guy like Hossa. He busts his butt on defense and still is an elite offensive threat. Great players can do both. There may be other factors, but acting like that period of time and play didn’t exist is revisionist history. There were very real reasons for people to wonder if he was still an elite player.

  19. phillyphanatic77 - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    If the Blue Jackets make the playoffs, I’d vote (if I had one) for Bobrovsky. I know, I know goalies don’t win the Hart cuz they have the Vezina, but I don’t think there’s a player who means more to his team. Don’t get me wrong, Ovi’s turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable, and he’s put the Caps on his back, but he’s a close 2nd in my mind. I don’t think you could argue that the Blue Jackets were the worst in the NHL for the first few weeks, then Bob turned it on, and he’s single-handedly breathed life into a dying franchise. The Caps would be bad if not for Ovechkins resurgence, but Columbus would probably be the worst team in hockey w/o Bob.

    • capsrockva - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      I would personally agree with that post

  20. banger60 - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Your mother,coach, then your teammates, slapnuts! lol.

  21. capsrockva - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    For me I don’t want the Isles for the first round match. I would rather play Toronto/Ottawa/Rangers. It would be an awesome series with either one of those teams, but the goalie for the Isles scares me, as he is undefeated against the Caps

  22. capsrockva - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    That being said we are playing the best hockey right now and remember back to last season, LA made it in on the last day and they are the defending Stanley Cup champions

    • goodellisruiningtheleague - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      DC can only hope someone brings a title to this town in the next 10-15 years.

  23. pavelfitzgerald - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Here’s looking at you Milbury

  24. capsrockva - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Milbury is an A**

  25. goodellisruiningtheleague - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    How about getting passed the first/second round of playoffs first. You know where the Caps always find ways to lose?

  26. nyrnashty - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    Ovechkin will most likely win the MVP this year. Nothing against Crosby, but it doesn’t matter if he’s in their lineup or not. They still won most of their games without him like they’ve done in the past seasons as well. Ovechkin had a terrible start to the season, so his team did as well. Once he picked up his game the Caps took over 1st place in their division. Yeah, the division isn’t the best, but they still won it because of him. 30+ goals is ridiculous in a short season. He’s back to his old self. Somthing lit a fire in him and I don’t care what it was because when he’s on it’s fun for all fans to watch.

    Personally I think Lundqvist should win it, but that’s not going to happen. Without Lundqvist the Rangers would just be horrible. He’s usually a top 3 star of a game even in a loss. Talk about a MVP!

  27. bigbuffguy95 - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    Is Ovechkin seriously going to have three MVPs that he doesn’t deserve (Malkin should have won the two he does have)? Crosby is *by far* the best player in the NHL. By far. If he played the entire season, this wouldn’t be close. And honestly, given that the 15-game winning streak basically wrapped up the division and a top-2 playoff seed (not to mention that it wasn’t until last night that he finally lost the scoring lead, when he hasn’t played in nearly a month), I think that’s enough for the MVP. The Penguins are 16 points clear of the Capitals, who only clinched a playoff spot this week (if they lost to Winnipeg, they might have been out). And Crosby’s reduced production (for the season) is explained by a legitimate injury. Ovechkin just sucked for the first half of the season. Congratulations to him for getting it together, but I don’t think two months of good play deserves an MVP. At any rate, wake me when he actually wins something that matters. Crosby beat him when it mattered in the 2009 playoffs and in the Olympics. Until Ovechkin does one or the other, his critics aren’t going to be silenced. Period.

    • hockeydon10 - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      20 points in 24 games (that’s what half this season is) is not “sucked for half the season”. I’m betting there are 29 other teams that would want another player to put up 20 points in 24 games.

      The proper criticism is the first 10 games (5 points) or the first 1/4 of the season (8 points).

  28. bgrillz - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    Critics will close their mouth when you lead your team past the second round of the playoffs. It’s really easy to spend the second half of the season beating up on the saddest division in hockey. But get past the second round of the playoffs and you can start bumping your gums.

  29. hockeydon10 - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    The Art Ross trophy is for total points: St. Louis
    The Rocket Richard trophy is for goals: Ovechkin
    The Hart trophy is for the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. It’s actually right there on the NHL’s web page. Notice how it doesn’t say anything about being the best player in the NHL.

    Crosby missed 1/4 of the season AND the Penguins continue to win without him. He’s apparently not the one player that makes his team into a winner. He doesn’t deserve it.
    Ovechkin had 8 points the first 1/4 of the season then poured it on for the other 3/4. While it’s easy to see that his resurgence has coincided with the Caps making the playoffs, that first 1/4 means he doesn’t deserve it either.

    If we go by what the definition of the trophy says, then it’s Bobrovsky all the way. Tavares gets 2nd place.

    Of course they’ll give it to Crosby. The PHWA is certainly driven by column inches and web page clicks, and any article about Crosby certainly has proven to draw out all the Pens’ supporters and haters every time. More eyeballs on an article means more $$.

    Just IMO, of course.

  30. kscogg - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    you know, he is great. maybe he does showboat but its apparent that he is the most valuable player.

    now, to those pesky pens fans…..i would love nothing more than to inflame you about Sid and his fragile little self or the number one picks you’ve had and how you should be a great team or malkin’s perpetual dumb-face look but i think another playoff exit without the SC will do it for me.

    cue the, “oh yeah, how many stanley cups has your team won?” jibberish…..you just keep living in the past while we continue looking ahead.

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