Alex Ovechkin responds to criticism

Thumbnail image for ovechkin.jpgIn our instant analysis-crazed society, it seems like people just cannot help but make a hasty, sweeping judgment about almost anything. At one point, Alex Ovechkin was the superhuman, unquestioned best player in hockey according to many experts. Yet after a medal-free Olympics run and a first round defeat few saw coming, there are probably plenty of people who think they have “the book” on the Russian star.

All I can offer is this fact: he’s only 24 years old.

Ovechkin understands and acknowledges the criticism he’s getting from many circles, though. Here’s a few choice quotes from a Puck Daddy story.

“It’s fair. It was my fault when we need to score goals. I have the chance to score goals and I don’t score goals. Sometimes you just have to take the moment in your hand.

“It’s pretty hard when you see how we fight, how we played. We had a chance and we didn’t score. If you have a chance to score goals and you don’t score, you just feel … Jesus … like, ‘OK, next time you’re going to score.’ The pressure goes to your mind. It’s pretty hard.”

Ovechkin is the Capitals best player and captain, so he must grow accustomed to being thrown under the bus. He has plenty of gas left in the tank, obviously (at his pace will he play for 15 years or maybe 10 years longer?). Washington went into this year’s playoffs with a swagger you need to be great, but hopefully they learned something from this humbling loss.

Ovechkin’s at least saying the right things.

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    Video: Johnson pays the price for Tampa Bay

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    It’s been another successful spring for Tyler Johnson.

    Johnson, the most diminutive member of Tampa Bay’s vaunted “Triplets” line, is racking up the playoff points yet again. He has 17 through 16 games — tied with Joe Thornton for sixth-most in the postseason — and, depending on how far the Bolts go this year, could best last year’s total, when he had 23 in 24.

    Not bad, considering the physical pounding Johnson has taken.

    At just 5-foot-9 and 182 pounds, the playoff grind has certainly taken its toll over the last two years. Johnson was rendered all but ineffective in last year’s Cup Final versus Chicago due to a broken right wrist and, this year, dealt with an upper-body injury in the opening round and a puck to the face just prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.

    Not that it slowed him down any.

    Johnson scored the game-winning OT tally in Game 4, getting his body in front of a Jason Garrison shot to deflect home past Marc-Andre Fleury. That earned high praise from Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, who heaped superlatives on his undersized star.

    “He’s a winner — that’s what winners do,” coach Jon Cooper said of Johnson, per the Tampa Bay Times. “They don’t back down. And when there’s a challenge ahead of you, you’ve got to find a way to meet the challenge. There’s a lot of coaches that had a front row seat to see how this kid plays and how he competes.

    “And it’s not always the size of the player, it’s the size of the heart, and that’s Tyler Johnson.”

    Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins were able to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday to force a Game 7, now the St. Louis Blues will try to do the same against the San Jose Sharks tonight. You can catch Game 6 via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

    St. Louis at San Jose (9:00 p.m. ET)

    The television broadcast of Game 6 is on NBCSN. If you want to stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

    In the meantime, here are some relevant links:

    On the brink of elimination, Blues turn back to Elliott

    The Blues could sure use a goal or two from Tarasenko

    Feeding frenzy: Sharks send Blues to the brink of elimination in Western Conference Final

    Stanley Cup Final to begin Monday

    Colorado inks defensive prospect Anton Lindholm

    LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 07: Anton Lindholm #5 of Team Sweden skates against Team USA during the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 7, 2013 in Lake Placid, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    After establishing himself in the Swedish league, Anton Lindholm will head to North America.

    The Colorado Avalanche announced that they have signed the 21-year-old defenseman to a three-year, entry-level contract. They selected Lindholm in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

    More of a defensive defenseman, Lindholm only registered four assists in 30 Swedish league games with Skelleftea AIK in 2015-16, but he also had a team-high 85 hits despite missing a chunk of the season due to injury. During the playoffs he helped his team reach the SHL Finals by leading them in both hits and blocked shots.

    That was his second full campaign with Skelleftea AIK. The next step for Lindholm will likely be for him to continue his development in the AHL.

    PHT Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby eyes more history

    TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Bob McKenzie shares his memories of Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie, who apparently was a big hockey fan. (TSN)

    Don Cherry discusses John Brophy’s toughness after the former Leafs coach recently passed away. (Sportsnet)

     

    A look at Vincent Lecavalier‘s career. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

    The perils of flip-flopping goalies in the playoffs … although it worked out for the Penguins at least last night. (The Hockey News)

    Speaking of which, will the Blues get burned for switching back to Brian Elliott in Game 6 tonight? Here’s a preview:

    Sidney Crosby has a chance to join a very rare club of clutch goal-scorers if he can win it for Pittsburgh in Game 7: