Tag: controversy

Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin on benching: “I was pissed off”


Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post’s Capitals Insider spoke with Alex Ovechkin and Bruce Boudreau today in the wake of last night’s highly-publicized benching. In case you missed it (I have no idea how, considering we’ve written about it roughly 32 times), Ovi was benched late in regulation of Washington’s 5-4 comeback victory over Anaheim.

Here are some of the more choice quotes procured by El-Bashir (all come courtesy his Twitter account, @TarikElBashir)

Ovi on the benching: “I was pissed off. Of course I want to be in that situation on the ice.”

Ovi on what he said on the bench (allegedly cursing out Boudreau): “It doesn’t matter who I said it to, and what I said. It looked funny on TV.”

Ovi on his reaction: “It was just a little bit frustrating because I’m a leader in the team and I want that kind of responsibility.”

Boudreau on the number of TV cameras at practice: “Jeez, I only benched him one shift.” (Turns out they were there to film an NBC promo.)

Boudreau on if he pulled Ovi aside: “No. There’s nothing to talk about. We all understood it from Day One. It’s [part of] the whole theme for the whole year. We sat Marcus [Johansson]. And Jeff Halpern. Alex Semin has missed time at certain times.”

El-Bashir also reported Boudreau didn’t hear what Ovechkin muttered on the bench last night. Well, Boudreau said he didn’t hear what Oveckin muttered but according to our in-house lipreading team, it rhymes with “pat puck.” (Watch it here.)

So that’s the latest from Capitals practice. We’ll continue to provide up-to-the-minute coverage of this situation as it’s really boosting our page views.

Why Alex Ovechkin’s benching will work in the long run

Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin

In this age of snap reactions and overreactions, seeing the visceral reaction to what happened with Alex Ovechkin and Bruce Boudreau last night coming from both sides of the fence isn’t stunning. Did Ovechkin cuss out Boudreau? Yeah, he probably did.

After all, when you’re the team’s biggest player and the guy they’ve counted on for years to be “the man” and you’re benched, how would you take it? I know I would’ve been just as angry if not more so.

While it’s fun to speculate about there being player-coach problems and how this could lead to a drama bomb going off in the Caps locker room, the truth here is that this is the kick in the pants that Boudreau felt Ovechkin needed to get the best out of him the rest of the season.

Think about how Ovechkin looks when we see him at his best. He skates with the kind of intensity you rarely see out of anyone in the NHL. He’s a beast on skates playing with the purpose to punish opponents with his powerful goals and physical play.

Last night, we saw neither of those things from Ovechkin. You saw Ovi the dangler, Ovi the passive player, and Ovi the guy on the bench.

We’ll see the Ovechkin of old come back, sooner than later probably, because he’s got pride in how he plays the game. Getting personally embarrassed like that on national television in a game that saw his teammates win without him, we’ll see Ovi the opponents’ nightmare back sooner than you think.

Here are NHL on NBC analysts Mike Keenan and Jeremy Roenick discussing the benching:

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This Raffi Torres costume controversy doesn’t appear to be going away

Raffi Torres and wife as Jay Z and Beyonce

By now you’ve all seen the picture of Phoenix Coyotes LW Raffi Torres and wife Gianna dressed up for Halloween as Jay-Z and Beyonce. The photo was taken at a team party and shared publicly by Coyotes teammate Paul Bissonnette, whose nickname has reportedly gone from “BizNasty” to “BizEnoughWithTheBloodyCameraPhone.”

What started as a seemingly innocuous Twitpic has turned into a pretty massive controversy. Nearly every major media outlet is running with the story; the sheer volume of scrutiny forced the Coyotes organization to issue a public statement denouncing negative reaction to the costume.

(And in a perfect moment of irony, check out this screencap from the front page of the Coyotes website.)


Here are some of the more choice criticisms of Torres’s costume from around the interweb:

Sporting News: “Regardless of how big a Jay-Z fan Torres is, blackface is virtually taboo because of its use in the construction of damaging stereotypes; typically, a white performer would darken his or her face and portray racist characters. The practice was accepted throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries.”

Global TV: “When the Phoenix Coyotes sent out the invites to their annual Hallowe’en party, which took place Sunday night, one imagines they forgot to include a warning asking players not to dress in blackface.”

Bomani Jones: “Seriously, what’s the character here? He’s in a t-shirt and sneakers. The joke is the makeup. And that’s the problem.”

Chris Yuscavage, Complex.com: “White people dressing up in blackface for Halloween as their favorite rappers is always an uncomfortable thing. But it’s even more uncomfortable when professional athletes do it because, well, they’re professional athletes. They should know that them painting their faces black is going to cause some level of controversy. Yet, Raffi Torres of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes took it upon himself to do it anyway.”

Sportsgrid.com: “Predictably, many were up in arms, and Bissonnette responded to those criticisms by noting that Torres is actually a big fan of Jay-Z. We don’t doubt he is. But that’s the thing with blackface: there’s a history there, and no matter how benign intentions may be, it’s hard to see blackface and not think of…that. And yes, there have been instances of blackface in popular culture actually working, but there’s a difference between a movie where the blackface can actually be used as part of a larger point, and…some guy’s costume.”

The only thing saving Torres right now is the Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries divorce. He was one of Twitter’s top trending terms until those two ended their seemingly unbreakable union, forcing the Internet to redirect its collective vitriol.