04-30-2010, 10:49 AM
Re: Round 2 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Pens/Habs. LETS GO PENS!
I hate to post Mark Madden blogs, but I think this is right on:
It might be unfair to call Alex Ovechkin a choke artist.
It might also be accurate.
Look at the proof: Zero goals in the last two games as 8 seed Montreal eliminates 1 seed Washington in this year's playoffs. Stoned by Marc-Andre Fleury on a breakaway with the season on the line in Game 7 against the Penguins last spring. Ovechkin netted in Game 7 when Washington was eliminated by Philadelphia in the 2008 playoffs, but didn't score in overtime. Joffrey Lupul did.
Add in Russia's disaster at this year's Olympics, and it's hard to draw many favorable conclusions about Ovechkin.
Maybe the most reasonable thing to say is: Ovechkin isn't too bright. Not as bright as Sidney Crosby, anyway.
Consider how Crosby has adjusted his game over the past year: Better at scoring, better at faceoffs, better at shootouts.
How has Ovechkin changed his game? He hasn't. If you're not getting better, you're getting worse. Or at least getting predictable.
Montreal defensemen Hal Gill and Josh Gorges were matched against Ovechkin for much of the first-round series between the Canadiens and Capitals. By the time series' end rolled around, Gill and Gorges has the rhythm of defending Ovechkin down pat, particularly when he attacked off the rush, as he prefers. Ovechkin doesn't like to go down low and cycle, so he won't wear opposition defensemen out.
Ovechkin, typically, barrels into the offensive zone and looks to cut inside for a shot. That's his forte.
Tell me what Crosby's forte is. His preference.
You can't. He doesn't have one. He's unpredictable.
Crosby is also a better leader. Ovechkin declined much comment after the Caps lost to Montreal and declined any after Russia stiffed in Vancouver. Crosby always faces the music. He soaks up the responsibility. Crosby wears the "C" because he's a legitimate leader. Ovechkin is captain because he's his team's best player.
Crosby, like his team, is built for the post-season: He's multi-faceted and inflicts collateral damage over the course of seven games. Ovechkin, like his team, is built for the regular season. He's a one-trick pony that can bury you on a given night. But, over the course of seven nights, not so much.
If Ovechkin isn't deserving of such sweeping criticism, his supporters and apologists certainly are. If Ovechkin wins his third straight NHL MVP, it will ring extremely hollow. How can anybody still think Ovechkin is better than Crosby?
As for Crosby, he'll settle for Stanley Cups. No one votes on those.
For those of you outside of Pittsburgh, Mark Madden is a loud mouth shock jock pompous ass. When it comes to Hockey, though, he knows his stuff.