Thanks to Puck Daddy for the original story and reaction, and a happy birthday to Wysh as well.
I know a lot of people are getting upset about the goal celebration, and as a decidedly “old school” hockey fan I know I should be upset about this, but I don’t object to what Ovie did. In fact, I’m kind of a big fan.
There are a lot of arguments that can go both ways, and the interesting thing is that I tend to agree with a lot of them. It may be disrespectful to Tampa Bay, but I suppose you could easily say “don’t let him score.” There is also the “Don Cherry/Old School wouldn’t stand for it” angle, and to them I present this video:
Clearly he wasn’t permanently damaged by any repercussions, unless Scott Stevens took it out on Paul Kariya instead. I guess the jury’s still out on that one.
The above will have plenty of play today, but the most important issue for me is this: where was that video pulled from? That’s right, Sportscenter. Sportscenter almost spent almost 90 seconds on just one hockey game. No, not the entire slate of NHL games, just one. Now I suppose you could claim they would have talked about Ovie’s 50th either way, but I bet it sure helped that they had a reason to show the replay six times with an interview, right? To quote the birthday boy:
There’s something to be said for hockey players finally exhibiting an honest-to-god personality and sense of showmanship like Ovechkin does.
I think the “something” is that Ovechkin’s goal celebrations are good for hockey. This isn’t Miroslav Satan pretending to make a trade with his hand-phone, showing up his team and his GM; this is a guy excited about scoring 50 goals. Sure it’s premeditated, but if a guy wants to take exception with him I’m sure he would be accountable for it. This isn’t a guy that shys away from hits and can’t handle a few bumps; Ovechkin is a completely different breed of NHL star.
If you ask me, I can handle it if that breed ruffles a few flamboyant feathers in a CBC studio. Ovechkin puts fans in the seats, puts the game on TV, and makes hockey look fun in the process. When was the last time a player has done that all at once?