In 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.