Mike Milbury praises Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin has continued to represent good business for Mike Milbury. When the analyst pops off about the Caps star, people pay attention, as evidenced by this Google Trends chart of searches for “Mike Milbury” over the past 90 days. You can probably guess what happened when the chart goes straight up.

So naturally, people have been curious to hear Milbury’s thoughts now that Ovechkin has surged to the top of the NHL’s goal-scoring charts, and now that the Caps are solidly in playoff position.

So here was Milbury on Tuesday night, about Ovechkin’s goal.

“The move in itself was unbelievable, so quick,” he said. “The hands are looking good.”

And here is Milbury at a different point in the highlights.

“Look who’s in front of the net: Alex Ovechkin,” he said. “How often do we see him there? Not as often as we should have until the last three or four weeks. He’s doing the right thing.”

The full-fledged mea culpa will likely come next week. Anyhow, for a more nuanced examination of what’s going right in Ovi-land, here is analyst Craig Button, speaking with TSN 1050.

“When you’re being asked to score goals, and you do it as brilliantly as Alex did, and you’re trying to readjust your game, I’m telling you what, there’s gonna be some hiccups,” Button said Wednesday morning. “And there’s gonna be some games where you don’t look so good as you’re trying to transition. I do believe that Adam Oates deserves a tremendous amount of credit, because it’s not just about Alex. I think he’s made Alex now multi-faceted in the way he attacks.

“It used to be here he comes down the left wing — I’m powering over you, I’m cutting to the middle,” Button continued. “And he had a great shot. He scored 300 goals — why are you gonna tell a guy don’t do that anymore? He’s going, wait a sec, nobody’s scored more than me. Even the goal he scored last night against Michael Ryder, he’s coming down the right side, I think he’s managing his speed. I use the analogy of a fastball pitcher. Everybody can hit the fastball in the majors. But if you change speeds on ‘em, you have success. If you’re just gonna throw the fastball all the time, you’re in big trouble, and I think that’s what happened to Alex.

“And I think he got frustrated — okay, what’s happening here? — and I think that’s part of it. I think Adam Oates has done a terrific job in trying to find a balance. And I think the benefits of Dale are paying off for him too, because he has an understanding of defensive [concepts]. So that’s what I see that’s happened with him. And one other factor that I’ll say too, I think Mike Green’s playing like he did before he ran into his bad luck. And somebody told me his hair cut has helped him too.”

That’s a lot of stuff. George McPhee, in a recent Hockey Central at Noon appearance, mentioned the right wing thing, if not the haircut thing.

“I guess, for lack of a better word, he might have been a little bit stale on the left side,” the GM said. “He was doing the same things, coming down and cutting to the middle, and it got old and wasn’t working. And now, coming down the right side, he penetrates a lot more. We don’t get the turnovers at the blue line that we were getting on the left side. And now he’s scoring from the right side. He’s really snapped some nice goals recently.”

Also, here is the search chart for “Ovechkin and Milbury” over the last 90 days. Ovechkin’s surge has coincided with renewed interest in the topic.

(Top image via Reddit.)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Sarah Kogod · April 10, 2013

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