In the words of one GM, this great player is “out of control.” He has given the NHL no choice but to get tougher on him. If he continues the recent pattern of slew-foots, boarding penalties and knee-on-knee hits, he will spend even more time out of the lineup.
'Out of control' Ovechkin is coachable
The only question will be if it’s due to injury or suspension.
Boudreau has said before that Ovechkin is very coachable. There’ve been occasions where he’s informed his superstar that he’s going to make an example of him in front of the other players because it sends a better message.
“He just says, ‘Bring it on.’ He knows what I’m doing,” Boudreau said once.
Well, this is going to be the truest test.
Like most superstars, Ovechkin’s greatest asset is his personal pride. He is self-motivated, determined to succeed no matter what. Like Sinatra, he does it his way and that’s to be admired.
But, what the best also understand is that there’s a time to change and adapt. (See Steve Yzerman and Scotty Bowman.) And there are a few people he has a responsibility to listen to:
(One other interesting aspect to this story: Ovechkin’s agent is his mother. We’re working on a feature about agents for HNIC, and one of the reasons some GMs hate the idea of players being without them are situations like this one. They like filtering a tough message through agents to their clients. However, the Eric Lindros fiasco in Philadelphia taught that you can’t do it with parents. This is one case where Ovechkin having an agent would help the Capitals.)
Ovechkin deserves every penny, but it’s not a one-way street. He has a responsibility to treat his teammates, coaches, GM and owner just as well as they treat him. It’s not like they’re asking him to become a softie. They want him to go 180 instead of 200.
Today, Alexander Ovechkin is very lucky he’s not seriously injured. He’s one more dangerous play from a lengthy suspension. From the above quote, it doesn’t sound like he wants to listen. Hopefully for the Capitals, that’s just an immediate emotional reaction. Because, if he isn’t, Washington won’t reach The Holy Grail.
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