Oates says it’s unfair to hang Russia’s loss on Ovechkin

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The Sochi Olympics turned into a nightmare for Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia.

The reigning NHL MVP had one goal in the opening game against Slovenia and was held scoreless the rest of the way, including today’s 3-1 elimination loss to Finland.

While Russia’s coach was quick to throw Ovechkin under the bus for his performance, Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates said it’s unfair to hang all the blame on one player as Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com shares.

“You can only control the way you play, right?” Oates said. “You can’t control the way the team plays or how it evolves. Obviously, it’s not the ending they wanted, but this is the third Olympics in a row they haven’t medaled, so it’s not on one guy. It’s on the group and at some point I’ll have a chance to talk to [Ovechkin] about that.

“That’s why you can’t criticize one guy. It’s easy from the cheap seats. In fairness to them, they had the most pressure because it’s the host country.”

Oates is right, what ails Russia is more than just one superstar not scoring goals. Ovechkin is the face of the Russian team, however, and with that comes fair and unfair expectations all around.

Scoring just one goal makes it a bad performance, but there’s more than enough blame to go around for Russia’s poor finish. Putting it all on Ovechkin isn’t close to fair.