During NBC Sports’s Thanksgiving telecast, analyst and longtime Caps nemesis Mike Milbury said the Alex Ovechkin-Bruce Boudreau relationship was “on thin ice,” and that Boudreau had ventured into dangerous territory by benching his captain a few weeks back.
Then Bruce Boudreau got fired. And Milbury let Ovechkin have it, both online and on-air. Highlights from his CBC Sports article:
* “Alexander Ovechkin and his sidekick Alex Semin killed their coach. Chalk one up for the bad guys.”
* “Whatever blame falls on the coach pales in comparison to the responsibility Ovechkin must shoulder. (I will not bother to talk Semin here. He is a lazy, overpaid talent not worthy of the time). It is time for the brilliant but playoff-challenged Ovie to grow up.”
* “Ovechkin will now have to face up to the fact that he got the coach canned. If he is smart, and I am very skeptical that he is, he will change.”
* “For every fan's sake, I hope he gets it. If not, he will become a serial coach killer and the Caps will be trapped with a fatally flawed captain and team.”
Milbury also let Ovechkin have it on Versus, during a panel discussion on Boudreau’s firing:
“The guy was underachieving. Where we were once comparing him to Crosby, now we don’t have that discussion. He’s a HUGE part of the reason why there’s no more Bruce Boudreau in Washington, and it all started from a moment — or at least the clock started ticking — not long ago, when Boudreau put him on the bench....
You can’t tell me losing your best player’s confidence is not going to hurt you. It killed Bruce Boudreau. And Ovechkin has a lot to explain for this. Now, with Dale Hunter, he has to become a professional. First to the rink, last to go away. Don’t get caught out late. You can’t be any place but thinking about hockey. Be a student of the game. In other words, become a professional hockey player. And if he doesn’t, they’re gonna have trouble with him....I’m worried about whether Ovechkin has the willingness, and the ability, to learn.”
Other than that, though, I’m pretty sure Milbury is a huge fan.