Despite a slight gap in high-end talent and differing national ties, Alex Ovechkin strikes me as the next Jeremy Roenick in many ways.* Both forwards have been outspoken, entertaining, hard-hitting and offensively gifted in their primes, though many harshly judge them because of their lack of championship success.
Considering their kindred spirits, it’s a little stunning whenever J.R. utters some unflattering words about Ovi. Wednesday provided one of those examples, as Roenick shared some pointed criticisms in his NHL.com blog. Here are some of the highlights:
He says since he’s suspended he shouldn’t go to the All-Star Game, but to me that is a cop-out.
… Listen, I am a big Ovechkin fan. I have been since Day 1. But it doesn’t matter that I’m a fan of his because I am disappointed with the way he has treated this situation. There has to be a little more loyalty to a League that has enabled you to make over $100 million.
Roenick makes some great points, but let’s face it. Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is the one who’s signing his checks, so he’s probably showing loyalty to the most important group of all – his team.
The three-game suspension could hurt Washington (though they won the first game he sat out), but a potentially well-rested Ovechkin might just be worth the wait. It’s understandable that Roenick is disappointed – in many ways, Ovechkin qualifies as the one truly irreplaceable entertainer in the NHL – but the league’s loss could be the Capitals’ gain.
* In fact, if EA Sports ever made a “new” version of the Sega Genesis/SNES-era NHL games, I’d bet that a 16-bit Ovechkin would end up remarkably similar to the version of J.R. who gained Vince Vaughn’s adulation.
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.
–Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling did something incredible for a person in need. (USA Today)
–Sens forward Kyle Turris can relate to what Jonathan Drouin is going through. (Tampa Bay Times)
—Matt Duchene built a special bond with a young Avs fan who’s been dealing with cancer. (Sportsnet)
—Milan Lucic wrote a letter to Boston for The Players’ Tribune. (The Players’ Tribune)
–Devils fans say “thank you” to former goaltender Martin Brodeur:
–Take a look at Nicklas Backstrom‘s first NHL All-Star game experience. (Monumental Network)
The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.
“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.
“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”
More on the statue from the Devils:
The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.
The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.
Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.
The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.
Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.
“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”
“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.
“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”
The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.
In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.
After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.
The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.
— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.
— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.
— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.
He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.
Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.
The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.
The Islanders also have a game in hand.