by Mike Chen on 03/20/09 at 03:45 PM ET
Ok, so by now just about everyone’s seen Alex Ovechkin’s little showboating after he nabbed #50. Was it planned? Yep. Was it kinda stupid? I thought so, as planned celebrations go, but hey, whatever floats your boat. It’s not like there’s an Olympic judge scoring this thing.
Still, I get the sense that the pendulum seems to be shifting just a little bit in the Ovechkin vs. Crosby in the eyes of the general public. I think people are still on the Ovechkin bandwagon for the most part, but people seemed to have acknowledged the Marc Savard situation as points for Crosby and people are also starting to talk about how Ovechkin isn’t necessarily a complete or responsible player, along with being a little bit of a hot dogger. At least, for those that care about backchecking.
The funny thing is that this shift seemed to have started with Don Cherry’s somewhat xenophobic rant—something that just about everyone agreed was rather absurd. Still, that seemed to have planted the seeds of an Ovechkin backlash. This whole “flaming stick” thing, along with the fact that people are finally starting to talk about Ovechkin not being a complete player (at least not yet; he’s got years to avoid cementing a Pavel Bure level of one-dimensionality), shows that for the first time, people are starting to talk negative about Ovechkin.
Which leads back to the whole flaming stick thing. Was it Terrell Owens level of me-first showboating or was it just a goofy one-off thing to celebrate a milestone? Check out AO’s stuff on this post, then watch TO below:
The thing with any sort of Terrell Owens comparisons is that Ovechkin doesn’t do this after every goal. Sure, he’s exuberant after he scores but he doesn’t plan things out for every situation, and I’ve yet to see him put a sharpie in his skate. Here’s the other thing—remember when Teemu Selanne broke the goal-scoring record for a rookie? He did a little showboating of his own, and now it’s shown in dozens of highlight packages, but in a fun and positive light. Here’s the clip:
I consider Ovechkin’s little thing more along the lines of Selanne’s celebration—that is, pretty harmless. Is it role model behavior? No, but for the love of Pete, not every single action by a pro athlete has to be role model behavior. As long as they don’t do it all the time, and as long as they’re not shooting people or selling drugs, I don’t consider it a big issue.
While talk of Ovechkin’s lack of backchecking or leaving his feet on a hit is a legitimate debate, this stuff is overblown, though you can bet that you’ll see it on Coach’s Corner this week. For me, though, I got no beef with AO doing something like that from time to time.
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