Those were Alexander Ovechkin's words, not mine...(50 seconds in) video at the bottom...
Let's pretend it is 1996. Michael Jordan is the best player in the NBA and possibly the greatest player to ever play the game. If he went 1 for 19 from the field for the first 47 minutes of the game, and in that final minute the game was on the line, Michael Jordan wouldn't just be on the floor, he would be taking the final shot no questions asked.
If Phil Jackson decided to take Jordan out in that final clutch moment because Jud Buechler had a better game and was 6 for 6 from the field, not only would Michael Jordan go ape sh*t but Phil Jackson would probably have been rushed to the hospital for a brain examination. After the game there would be some serious beef between Jordan & Jackson, and it probably would have lasted throughout the season.
Ovi Was NOT "Benched" Sportscenter, Chill Out!
Everyone is throwing around the word "benched". Ovi sat out for 1 minute, and returned to the game. Thats more like "not being played" than "benched". It is actually worse than being benched because it shows the coach didn't have confidence in him in the clutch.
There are plenty of reasons to bench a superstar. They don't listen to the coach. They aren't giving 100%. There are some off the ice/behind the scenes issues. Performance should never be one of the reasons, especially in crunch time. (Notice I didn't say a player, I said a Superstar)
Performance was the reason Boudreau gave for his decision. He said that the other players were better than Ovi that night. I don't really know how hockey works, or how coaches are supposed to motivate players, but taking out one of the best hockey players in the league for performance reasons does not sound like motivation. It sounds like a power-move. And don't give me that "it worked" garbage.
Stars Vs Superstars:
Benching a good player for performance issues can be good motivation. The player will get the message that they have to improve on whatever reason they were benched for. Donovan McNabb was benched in the 98 season and the next week came out strong and ended up leading the Eagles to the NFC Championship. Notice who that was. Donovan McNabb. A good quarterback...not an ELITE quarterback. It was not Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, or Peyton Manning. You don't bench elite players.
I guess in order to figure out how I really feel I need to answer one question. "Is Ovi one of the top 5 players in the NHL. A player that nobody has seen the likes of before and probably never again?" If that answer is no, then I have no problems here. If the answer is yes, then I don't care if its the worst game of the players life, he better be in the game at the end. If you throw in Ego of superstars & problems with coaches, then that expands this issue even more...another time perhaps...
And maybe its just a hockey thing...if so, I'll stop...