Alexander Semin, forever everyone’s favorite Cap to pick on, is also off the hook — because Sasha just scored three points for Carolina the other night against the Devils and returns to Verizon Center finally absolved of being the root of all hockey evil in Washington.
That leaves No. 8 by his lonesome. It’s all Alex Ovechkin’s fault, right? It’s Ovi’s fault, now and forever.
Call him “Loafechkin,” like some angry anonymous poster the other day. Say he’s a disgrace to the game at 27 years old, that he’ll never win the Hart Trophy again and his 13-year, $124 million contract could end up being essentially Arenas on Ice for Leonsis. Say he is a dum-dum with low hockey IQ, like the puckhead radio guy in Canada.
Add that he frequently plays like he doesn’t care and say he, to again quote the disenchanted among the fan base, “is mentally lazy, childish and a prima donna of a bum.”
Don’t let facts get in the way of slamming Ovi.
Forget, for instance, that a major part of the offense disappeared when Semin and Dennis Wideman didn’t return to the team in the offseason.
Disregard the offense and leadership the Capitals lost when Mike Knuble didn’t come back.
Don’t even consider the loss of Brooks Laich to injury, which hurt team as much psychologically as physically. Forget that Mike Green’s porcelain frame is on the shelf again. Everyone loses Norris Trophy candidates and goes to the Stanley Cup finals, right?
Don’t even give one ounce of sympathy that Ovechkin has never played for an NHL coach who had a lick of NHL head coaching experience before being put in charge of one of the game’s greatest offensive talents.
Certainly don’t give him the benefit of the doubt that Ovechkin, like this depleted roster still trying to find talented healthy bodies and chemistry, is on his third coach — and thereby third system — in a mere 13 months.
No. Just keep bashing Ovi. We can all play Mike Milbury for a day, can’t we?
“It’s easy to go after the Russian guy who still doesn’t have a great grasp of the language, isn’t it?” says Alan May, the Comcast SportsNet analyst and former tough guy. “Fine, but he is still the best player on the team. When they’re playing well, he’s the guy that stands out.
“The NBC guys can’t say enough [stuff] about Ovi. It’s pre-packaged in their shows. And a lot of times it doesn’t even match up to reality with what’s really happening on the ice.”