High-profile criticism of Alex Ovechkin over his lack of team titles usually veers into hyperbole, generalities and over-the-top mouth frothing. It’s often silly, in other words.
Patrick Roy avoided silliness while dissecting Russia’s Olympic flameout. The Avalanche coach started talking about Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin in the context of the blame being leveled at his own man-in-Sochi, goalie Semyon Varlamov.
“I know that the media will go after Malkin and Ovechkin,” Roy said on his weekly show with Denver’s 104.3 The Fan. “They have to. Because Ovechkin scored one goal and it was in the first moment of the [first] game, and then after that he was shooting from everywhere, except [not] making the right decisions with the puck. I mean, same thing with Malkin, he scored in the first game. And then after, whoop, they disappeared. They certainly deserve to take some heat for the un-success, because they’re the leaders of that team. That was their responsibility, I think, to bring the team to another level….
“Everybody’s going to take their responsibility,” Roy continued. “Because I think the day you’re taking you’re responsibility, I think you already become a better player, better leader. Obviously the next one won’t be in Russia. And there was so much [pressure] put on, but maybe they were not as well prepared for that. But for a guy like Ovechkin, as an example, it should be a great learning process for him. I mean, you can be as good as you want, but if you don’t win a Stanley Cup, if you don’t win a gold medal, it’s a bit like a golfer who [never wins a major]. When you’re the best player without winning a major, it’s like a monkey on your shoulder, and you want to get rid of it. And I think Ovechkin’s going in that direction.”
It wasn’t clear if by “that direction,” Roy meant Ovechkin was acquiring the monkey, or getting rid of it. In any case, unlike many of Ovechkin’s most frequent critics, Roy didn’t single out only the goal-scoring star; he was not impressed with the overall approach of Ovechkin’s team.
“In the games that I watched, I just felt that they were playing individual hockey,” he said. “And you cannot win playing like this. I mean, they have the skills, and I’m a person that love open game where you go offense all in, but sometimes putting the puck just behind the D, it doesn’t mean you’re not playing offense. You just find a different way to get the puck.
“And Malkin would go boom boom boom boom, then they take the puck off him,” Roy said. “Then the next time it’s Ovechkin, and then it’s Voinov, and then it’s Datsyuk, and then it’s Radulov. It doesn’t work like this. You have to work like a unit of five, and the guys need to work together and move the puck together, place it behind, go for it. And I thought that was missing for that team. You didn’t feel that they were playing the game that was required….I just felt that they didn’t play the way they should have played to win a gold medal. And what’s sad is it’s very convenient to blame the goalie.”
(Via All Things Avs)