I know this is completely crazy, but last night I was feeling a little Olympics-ed out, so I decided to see what was on the NHL Network. In August. I know.
Instead of a replay of some thrilling 4-1 Calgary Flames loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in February of 2010 (NHL Network is terrible in the summer, if you haven’t picked up that sentiment yet), there was a documentary called “Alexander Ovechkin: The Gr8.”
And now, I think I want to see him win a Stanley Cup.
The documentary is from 2010, but you can catch it on the NHL Network nearly a dozen times over the next three days. Here’s the trailer:
The documentary takes us to Moscow, where Ovechkin spends time with his friends and family at their country home. They swim, play basketball, and of course, do the 24/7 style interviews with each individual member of the family. There’s a lot of cool behind-the-scenes-y footage.
His mother was by far the most interesting character – apparently she’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist in basketball who appears to be unfailingly honest, at one point saying that “Alex’s career won’t be a success if he doesn’t win a Stanley Cup or Olympic gold.” (She forgot to add “No pressure, though,” I assume.)
In the early days of Ovechkin’s career, he somehow managed to be at the same time electric and carefree (I wish he spoke better English in those days), but the latter trait has taken a beating with each season the Caps don’t win the Stanley Cup. In a way, he reminds me of Lebron James – a fun-loving guy who’s had life beaten out of him by the media and his inability to reach own expectations for the Caps.
People have said that since Lebron helped the Heat capture an NBA title, he’s rediscovered his former, lighter self. He never liked being the villain, and he’s put the bad days behind him.
I think a Cup would do the same for Ovy.
Somehow when it came to Crosby vs. Ovechkin early in their careers, I viewed him as the black hat in the relationship. Just bigger, meaner, and worst of all, foreign.
But there’s an awkward exchange in the movie between Ovechkin and Crosby where Ovy is playing reporter that made me question how I could’ve possibly reached that conclusion. Sid, the Golden Boy, is guarded, serious, and often a little salty. Ovy’s a playful puppy that we’ve run through media obedience school, but he still wants to go run through the flower beds and chase gophers at heart.
Whether it was because the doc takes place in 2010, or because it’s not during the hockey season, you get to see the Ovechkin of old in that video – funny, charming and light-hearted.
So then, I say to hell with it: I’m jumping on the Alex Ovechkin bandwagon. I can’t be certain why his production has fallen off in recent years, but I hope he finds a way to get it back. I want Ovechkin to have his Lebron moment. After everything he’s put into his NHL career, he deserves to be perceived as the good guy.