Saturday, December 22, 2007

Take a number...

Next in the NHL's hit parade of "Where is Alex Going?"...


Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette penned a somewhat delirious essay on the matter of how Alex Ovechkin could find himself in the bleu, blanc, et rouge next season. As these things go, it's a doozy. He doesn't mince words...

"...for the NHL to have a player like Ovechkin in a market like Washington is a crime. Night after night, Ovechkin plays to thousands of empty seats and in D.C., he always will."
Well, DC does have its problems with crime, but the only one we've seen lately with respect to Ovechkin might be his turns on a Segway.

Ovechkin apparently inspires escapes from reality, or at least fact wit:

"This year, he's earning a mere $1.3 million."
Nope...he's earning $3,834,000...below market, to be sure, but certainly not among the hockey working class.

"Ovechkin and Russian teammate Alexander Semin will be restricted free agents and Washington will be hard put to satisfy both..."
Uh, nope again. Alexander Semin signed an extension. $9.2 million for two years, starting next season.

Even the logic seems a bit tortured...

"All it will take is, oh, $120 million over 15 years and a slew of first-round picks..."
Earlier in the article, Todd makes the point that thoughts of an $8.7 million deal along the lines Sidney Crosby signed in Pittsburgh have given way (at least in the Ovechkin camp) to perhaps a $9-10 million/year deal. So why, then, would anyone think he's going to go below market ($8 million a year) to sign an offer sheet in Montreal? More to the point, if these are the terms -- less than that Crosbyesque deal, why would the Caps not match?

"If the Capitals are reasonably certain they're bound to lose Ovechkin, the Habs might be able to swing a multi-player deal, offering Washington any player on the roster not named Carey Price."

Again, earlier in the article, Todd compared Ovechkin to Rocket Richard -- he of the eight Stanley Cups, 544 goals, a Hart Trophy, and a place in the Hall of Fame...the kind of guy folks make movies about. Meanwhile, much as we love Carey Price, he hasn't done anything yet in the NHL, but maybe that's our reflexive fear of goaltenders with "Carey" in their name.

"In terms of sheer excitement, no one in the NHL is Ovechkin's equal."
Caps fans will agree with that...but the league has it's money down on another player.

We've had New York, Detroit, The Hockey News, and now Montreal weighing in on "where -- as long as it's not Washington -- will Alex Ovechkin play next year?" First, it was annoying, but now it's getting to be something of a parlor game in the making...

Boston...a combination of Cam Neely, Phil Esposito, and Bobby Orr...and he should play in an original six town instead of that dump down the Eastern Seaboard...

Chicago...Bobby Hull?...Denis Savard?...Stan Mikita?...pfft...besides, he already looks good in red, and the Blackhawks are another original six team...they could use the boost...and they'd probably pay him now that Bill Wirtz has departed. Well, maybe not.

Philadelphia...He might not be a Broad Street Bully, but he'd be a Broad Street Banger who could score goals by the bushel. Philly sells out every night (well, a lot) ...his style would fit right in to the city's image. And he could rub the Caps' faces in it four times a year.

Pittsburgh...Crosby...Ovechkin...parades ensue, and Gary Bettman doubles his dry cleaning bill from soiling himself in jubilation.

Toronto...loves the town, the town loves him, and the population can spell "Ovechkin."

Ottawa...just because it's Canada, and it's not Washington.

Hey, try it yourself...we're sure just about every other town in the league will be doing it soon, too.

* We have to thank our good friends over on the Penguins' official for pointing out this article. And, we appreciate their heartfelt concern over the Caps' and Ovechkin's future.


DMG said...

I thought the most offensive part was:

Or the Canadiens can go another route: If the Capitals are reasonably certain they're bound to lose Ovechkin, the Habs might be able to swing a multi-player deal, offering Washington any player on the roster not named Carey Price. The Canadiens get Ovechkin, while the Caps get a balanced lineup capable of winning hockey games.

The Caps just outplayed the Habs pretty handily, outshooting them 37-21. That's not the roster I'd be running to pilfer if I were management in D.C. and looking to get better

Focality said...

Coveting Ovechkin is pathetic.

Articles like these fail to ignore that Washington--the town, the team--is fully capable of getting back to playing stellar hockey and putting butts in the seats at VC. To that effect, it's ridiculous to assume everyone in the organization is fine with mediocrity. Let's talk about the poor teams iced for years in towns like San Jose, Anaheim, St. Louis, Chicago, etc., etc. Remember when Ottawa was a basement dweller?

They're going to do what it takes to build a team around Ovechkin, the signs of which we're witnessing now. A few more pieces, some time for development, and you've got a good hockey team. This leads to the money.

What screws all this up is the team owner declaring the rebuild over. This led to some lofty expectations.

Besides, I recall Montreal being a crappy team the past few seasons.

DMG said...

I live/go to grad school in Atlanta, and Center Ice had the Isles feed on tonight. The Islanders television commentators noted Ovechkin's contract running up and then mentioned that Ovechkin liked the team, like the city and that the Capitals had a lot of young talent to play with him. Funny how guys who aren't blinded by an original six/big market sense of entitlement see things so much differently, huh?

Focality said...

Entitlement is right, dmg. I think these hockey pundits write this stuff simply to be please themselves. They believe their doing so pleases the hockey gods: "So it shall be written, so it shall be done."

AO to MTL FTW!!!1!!!

Donald said...

oh apparently the old reliable eklund issued an E1 saying that we were going to trade Ovechkin to the least its not an original 6 hockey city that deserves Ovechkin more than Washington does.

DMG said...

Focality: I think that part of it is that and part of it is pandering to fans who like reading how they're the center of the hockey univerise

Donald: I think that L.A. and Pittsburgh are the only two cities that could put together a package that'd be worth considering for the Capitals. I'd actually heard that rumor too but, like you, I wouldn't give it much weight. Given that the Capitals have a ton of young prospects already and that Ovechkin excels in all aspects and is the face of the franchise I doubt they'd want to deal him for a bunch of young prospects.

I'd heard Cammilari (butchered the spelling, I know) and Bernier as the cornerstones of the deal, which is absurd since Cammillari is a good, but not great player, who's 28 and Bernier is the same type of guy as Varlamov and Neuvirth - a good goaltending prospect a couple years from the NHL.

Do you have the link to that article? I'd love to read it.

The Peerless said...

It is just so patently stupid to even contemplate trading Ovechkin. The package that would have to come back would have to enable the Caps to win next year...and we don't mean a Southeast Division title and a one-and-done in the playoffs. It would have to make the Caps a Cup contender. Anything short of that, and no one will show up. What season ticket holders the club has will exit en masse. No one is excited about another multi-year building plan of uncertain consequence.

Now, who is going to pony up a contending lineup? If they had one, they'd keep in and, well...contend.

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