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.

Comments (11)

  1. For me it was a Caps video where Mike Green took Ovi, Backstrom, Brat Madley, and possibly somebody else for a Segway tour on the Mall…yeah – it went about as you’d expect it :-) My favorite part is when Mike crashes and burns and it takes Ovi a good 30 seconds to stop laughing enough to cough out an “are you ok?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOBiQiAMZH8 (skip to 3:45)

    He’s all sorts of amusing. I wish the rest of the Caps were as entertaining, I’d probably watch them more if they were.

  2. I know this was meant as a light hearted article and although I can agree that Ovi is a good player, I won’t be jumping on his bandwagon just yet. Yeah the press and some fans have been on his case and IMO, it’s his attitude that has caught up with him. I understand that I’m likely in the minority however, I just don’t like the guy. We all have our opinions on players and he’s just one that doesn’t appeal to me. In regards to the media, well, they as usual either have an agenda or don’t have a clue. Anyone who pays any attention and knows anything about hockey knows that his production as well as other Cap player numbers have fallen off in recent years due to coaching style and strict defensive play in contrast to the run and gun offense of the past. The Caps have organizational issues that have lead to many excuses being placed on players and coaches with disregard to the fans. Now my agenda. In the last sentence you say that he has put so much into his career that he deserves to be perceived as a good guy. First, dedication to one’s career doesn’t mean one is a good guy AND second, if you want to use this line of thinking — what about Alex Semin? The bad press A.O. has gotten is nothing compared to that which A.S. has been crucified with. Whether or not I or the next guy like or dislike these players, that’s our perogative but, neither deserves to be trashed on T.V. or in print by the media who are the so-called PROFESSIONALS.

  3. Caps fans (at least dedicated knowledgeable ones anyway) don’t feel that AO or AS have gotten a fair shake by the media.

    We also don’t care that much.

    We love AO8. We loved AS28. AO8 wears his heart on his sleeve. If you think he doesn’t want to win and do whatever it takes to win….. you didn’t watch the Boston series this year. Dude is arguably the best player in the NHL and he is benched once we get a lead. Does he bitch? Does he pout? No. He is the 1st guy to cheer when (insert 4th line grocery stick) gets a goal.

  4. These blogs are good because one can learn some things and develop new insights and it can be fun if people are respectful of eachother and their opinions. I don’t care for Alex Ovechkin’s style whereas you like him alot to the point of saying that in your opinion he is arguably the best player in the league. That’s cool with me but I think it’s a bit of a stretch. I just want to point out that you seem to be speaking for all Caps fans with your use of the word WE. I find it hard to imagine that everyone agrees with your thoughts. I certainly know that some people agree with me in my life and others don’t. That’s fine by me and the way it is and should be. You also say that A.O. and A.S. have not gotten a fair shake from the media and I agree with you but fair shake seems to be an understatement. Totally trashed IMO. Now, is it that you just don’t care much about that or is it that you feel you can’t do anything about it anyways? The later I would think. The way I see it is that yes there is little that can be done however, what those morons said on T.S.N. was an unprecedented personal attack and that kind of media abuse should not be ignored. I believe that you and I can have a conversation and agree or disagree respecting one another’s opinions. But, as public commentators I feel that people like the T.S.N. panel have no business tossing around that type of crap that inevitably has an influence on the way that alot of fans think. Like it or not but unfortunetly, there are very, very many people who don’t think for themselves and take on and perpetuate what they see on T.V. convinced that those guys are the experts.

    • AO8 is clearly one of the best. I’m not saying he IS the best, just you can argue it. Heck, I’d take Malkin as my #1 pick right now if I was allowed anyone…. and I hate Pittsburgh. I’ll put it out there (and the fancy stats totally back me) AO8 is NOT the reason the Caps don’t already have a cup. He has pulled his weight and then some.

      Did TSN trash Semin? Yeah. Do caps fans really care? No. Seriously. The only care is that Crawford was a candidate for Head Coach. Thank the hockey Gods that didn’t happen. I’m not Japer, but I feel like I can speak for the vast majority of Japer’s Rink that we feel the Talking heads on TSN are freaking morons. I’m a member of the Semin Lobby. I wish we had retained him….. I’m not sure we could have paid him more than Brooks Laich though…. that sends a terrible message. AS28 was NOT earning his 6mil+/year the last 2 years. I personally feel that a large part of that was due to BB’s change from offense to defense emphasis and DH’s terrible system…. but as I’ve said over on JP’s rink…. I’m not in the room. I don’t know. Maybe Semin really is/was a cancer. I DON’T KNOW. (and neither does ole baldy on TSN) There are lots of Caps fans at JP’s that are pretty happy Semin is gone. Not for the crap spewed on TSN, but for the stats we can measure. The dumb penalties… the drop in goals… the high demand for pay.

      Anyway… this is an article about Sasha #2 not Sasha #1.

      Bottom Line: I’m not burning my #8 jersey anytime soon. I’m pretty confident that if we can find another top line winger OR Woliski turns out to put up 80-90 points for us… we are contending for the cup. Our Success or Failure does NOT depend on AO8. He is not going to be the question mark going into this season. Give him a #1 center (Backy) or hell even a #2 (Ribs) and he’ll be fine. He had Brooks Laich centering him almost all last season!!!! (and I love Brooks and what he brings but he is a damn good #3 center or #2 wing)

      • Ovechkin is not going anywhere, I know that. Do I think he is one of the top players in the league? Sure I do. IMO, through my eyes, to me, I just don’t care for him. Is that important? No. Like you said, we have no idea who these guys are really. It is merely my perception of him. Look. You hate the Pens. I like the Pens. That’s cool by me. Is Ovechkin responsible for the Caps not having a Cup? No. Does success depend on him? Yes to a big extent but not solely. If he is on the top of his game, big advantage Caps. In regards to not taking the media seriously, I believe that no matter what it is – politics, sports, or whatever, the media has a responsibilty to report FACTS as they can acquire them and report them in an unbiased and unslanted way in order to INFORM the citizens. Lets face it. Most of the public flick on their T.V.’s and believe what they hear, tell others and the info gets regurgitated and perpetuated. Alot of non-free thinkers out there. IMO, we have a responsibility to question them and try at least to keep them honest. Wishful thinking perhaps. I think the Caps will play a better free wheeling game with Oates behind the bench and all the numbers should go up. The Canes should be exciting to watch. Oh. I ran across a site on the web the other day where some German outfit interviewed Crawford and asked him about the comments he made about A.S.. The creep said that he was MISUNDERSTOOD! How the heck can that have been misunderstood? Haven’t heard if McGuire has poked his bald target out of his hole. If you don’t know about Crawfords shady past there is alot on the web about the guy. He is a career killer.

        • We already discussed Crawford’s interview for the Austrian Rag at JP’s rink.

          When you trash someone on North American TV then back peddle in a European magazine…. it pretty much tells people all they need to about character.

          Should the media report facts and not opinion? Well Duh? But the fact that TSN sucks so much is the reason Jason has a job! If TSN didn’t suck I wouldn’t need to come here.

          • Larry, Yeah, Crawford and his smirking mug really irritates me. And, duh, 1- what do you suggest one can do to combat a biased and slanted media then? 2- Who is Jason? 3- What do you mean that you wouldn’t be here if T.S.N. didn’t suck? My son and I are going away for a short while. Maybe I’ll chat with you later. Take it easy.

        • Yeah, about Crawford. Lots of stuff on the web and you tube vids regarding the Bertuzzi incident showing his smug face. You probably have seen them. Zero responsibility and passing of the buck. After Moore when he was coaching Dallas, more incidents took place yet this guy keeps crawling along. Glad he is gone. I just can’t imagine that that league nor the Swiss fans will put up with his goon style coaching. Not even the players. You see, I believe they CAN AND WILL do something about it over there. He will return to N.A. sooner than most think and keep on going where he left off (obviously a member of the old boy’s club). Unfortunetly, he will be back soon to irritate us all some more. Too bad but mark my words, Crawford will be back.

  5. What you’re saying is that you never saw the SC ads during the playoffs about how he celebrates, and “how will he celebrate when he wins The Cup?” What you’re saying is that you’re finally learning what the rest of us have known for years.

    Now stop with the silly Canadian/NBC need to make him the villain and let him play.

    • I sat beside Mama Ovechkin for most of the first period a few years ago at Verizon. She was a surprisingly nervous hockey-mom; covering her face and mumbling “Sasha, oh Sasha!” Every time he was into the boards. Perhaps she was nervous because this was just before he signed that big contract.
      I had some fun with her, and asked “Does your son play for the Caps?” “Yes, he is number 8,” is all she said.

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