Everyone agrees that Alex Ovechkin is one of the best players in the game today. He absolutely loves the game, and it shows in his outward display of emotion throughout every game. His heart cannot be questioned. As with any high profile player, there also comes some criticism. Some of it warranted, some of it not so much.
One of the things that gets me the most is when writer’s blame the team’s results on him, regardless of how well he played. Scott Burnside on ESPN is one of those journalists that just doesn’t get it. In a May 5th article he wrote, “Ovechkin had 10 points this postseason and continued to be a physical presence, and looked dangerous at times in Game 4. Boudreau said he thought Ovechkin was the team’s best player. Yet, this playoff failure will merely reinforce the theory that he is, simply put, not a winner.”
How is that fair to one guy? How much can one player do on their own? His teammates did not show up, yet he’s the one whose fault it is. Semin and Backstrom have have received plenty of criticism for not producing. But in a few years, if Washington still hasn’t won anything, the media will ook back and say that this team won the Eastern Conference in back to back regular seasons, and that Ovechkin failed to take them anywhere in the playoffs. It’s easy to blame the face of the franchise, but it’s just mindless bantering.
His scoring pace in the playoffs is up there with anybody else in the league. His desire and effort are unquestioned by anyone. You want him to step up to another level in the playoffs, right? How do you expect him to do that when the rest of his team is easy to defend, and the opposition can completely focus on him. He averaged slightly over 21 minutes every night. How can a single player be held responsible for what happens the other 39? The answer is simple: HE CAN’T!
Hockey is a team sport. It takes every man doing his job for a team to win. Of course different guys have different roles. Ovi’s job is to light the lamp, and winners and losers are determined based on goals (duh). But if he scored an amazing 2 goals in every game, that still wouldn’t be enough without his teammates adding a few more and shutting down the opposition a bit. So if you want to blame anybody, blame the entire team. In this case, and in the case of every other superstar, it’s simply not fair to place the burden on one player.
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