Mad as Hell, and I’m Not Gonna Take it Anymore!
Earlier this morning, I saw a tweet about the Caps and it has consumed me ever since. Rarely does something I read on Twitter throw my mind into state of anger, but this tweet really got to me. Here is said tweet.
Come on, really? What about the other guys on the TEAM? It’s all up to Ovi? What do you think he has been doing for the past two months? Ovechkin has been busting his ass trying to carry this team; and for all you people who complain about his lower goal totals, THERE IS MORE TO HOCKEY THAN SCORING GOALS. How about finishing your checks? How about attracting the attention of defenders allowing others to get open? How about jumping all over your best friend on the team for making in ill-advised pass that led to a turnover? Clearly since he isn’t getting 4 points every night, this is all on him. I mean c’mon man. Ovi has been playing so hard, even Mike Milbury is commending him for it! By the way, clearly the world is ending this season.
Here’s another thing. Before people criticize the play of the team, or the actions of the coach. Learn about the game. So Recker didn’t get in a fight against the Lightning, and didn’t play against the Habs. The coaching staff and front-office had their reasons for bringing him up. In case you didn’t notice, Matt Hendricks was promoted from checking line duties to scoring line duties. Scoring line guys aren’t enforcers, as their SKILLS are needed other places. Also, did you happen to notice any Bolt taking liberties with a Vokoun or any other Caps player post-whistle? I sure as hell didn’t. So before you blast Dale Hunter for bringing up an enforcer who doesn’t fight, learn the NHL game.
I’m also getting really sick of people criticizing the play of many members of this team. There is more to hockey than scoring goals. (Read that sentence again.) People seem to think that the only measure of how a player’s season is going is by looking at 2 things, goals scored and projected goals scored. While this gives one a glimpse on how a guy’s season is progressing, it in no way encapsulates a player’s season. Case in point: Matt Hendricks has 3 goals this season. Do you think this he plays empty minutes because he isn’t scoring every night? Joel Ward is in a bit of a scoring drought. Not shocking given that he has been spending most of his time on the 3rd and 4th lines this season. 3rd and 4th line guys aren’t paid to score goals. They are paid to defend against the top offensive lines of opposing teams. Just like Alex Semin and Ovi aren’t paid to play defense. They are paid to score goals. I’ll give you that they are lacking in this departent this year, but blasting a guy for leaving the d-zone early to open up the ice is just dumb.
Back to my original argument, it’s not all up to Alex Ovechkin to get this team into the playoffs. Yes, the team is riddled with injuries and losses are more common this season. Yes, the team isn’t meeting the lofty goals set at the start of the season. Yes Ovi and Sasha aren’t scoring goals as often as they have in the past. So the fuck what?
Playoff caliber teams have the testicular fortitude to overcome setbacks and win games. The Caps have been doing this. So what if they are not running away with the division and conference lead? They are consistently in the playoff hunt, and guys are stepping up to fill voids. (Not so fast John Carlson). This team, with the absence of Mike Green, Nick Backstrom and possibly Brooks Laich, could easily fold and wait to rebuild. I don’t see that happening. I see most of the players on the team stepping up with fierce determination. Look at Columbus. They have talent, yet they are in a slump from which they won’t recover. Do you see the Caps signaling retreat and not putting forth any effort? Do you hear about players demanding to be traded? Do you hear players complaining about a lack of fan support? Have the fans stopped showing up to Verizon Center and are the ratings on CSN plummeting? I haven’t noticed any of this.
I see guys like Mathieu Perreault scoring hat tricks. I see Matt Hendricks hustling his ass off. I see Joel Ward still camped in front of the net taking all sorts of punishment for defenders. I see Mike Knuble working his ass off. I see Brooks Laich on crutches on Sunday then lobbying the coaching staff to let him play on Tuesday. I see Jeff Schultz putting forth his “best effort” when he gets a jersey. I see Dimitry Orlov slamming his equipment down in anger when he broke his nose (again). I see Ovi supporting his team on and off-the-ice during his suspension.
So no, it isn’t all up to Ovi. Wayne Gretzky and Maurice Richard couldn’t do it on their own. Mario Lemieux wasn’t on his own. Sidney Crosby needed Malkin. Jarome Iginla hasn’t done it on his own? Shit, there are two identical Sedins, they haven’t done it on their own. Why makes you think Ovi should?
The onus is on every member of this team to step it up, and make the run to the playoffs. I see almost every guy on the team busting his ass trying to win hockey games. I don’t see them looking at Alex Ovechkin looking for guidance and leadership. I see a team all trying to elevate their game to match the passion and intensity that Alex Ovechkin shows every night.
It’s a good thing too, because we can’t afford Alex Ovechkin to be day-to-day with a back injury.
Let’s Go Caps!
Minny Caps Fan.