Reactions To A Fat F**k Benching Ovi

DC Sports Nexus ---- Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Those were Alexander Ovechkin's words, not mine...(50 seconds in) video at the bottom...

Air Jordan:

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...


Gabriel Rockman said...
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Gabriel Rockman said...

Hockey is different from basketball in that there are 15 to 18 normal skaters out there, none of whom ever play even half of the game. All 15 to 18 guys would be considered starters, none of them are considered backups.

I'd say that the difference between Ovechkin and the Caps on the ice - Chimera, Laich, and Ward is more like the difference between Jordan and Pippen then Jordan and a bench player. And on this night, the Pippens of the Capitals were playing better than Ovechkin was. Chimera, Laich, and Ward normally get about as much ice time as Ovechkin does. They are 3rd liners, but they play just as much as the first line. They're definitely not backups.

It might be easier to think of it as three different NBA teams sharing time on the court, with each player playing for about 16 minutes a game. Then you have fifteen starters, but only five people playing at once, and you also have to keep in mind how well the individual players work with each other.

I am biased, in that I don't think Ovechkin is a superstar. I think Backstrom is their best player, I think Ovechkin and Semin are overrated and slack off too much. I'm a big fan of the Caps 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines, and I love their recent pickups of Brouwer, Ward, and Wideman. Not only do I not think of Ovechkin as a superstar, but I think that the Capitals have the best 2nd and 3rd lines in the NHL.

So when I say the difference is like Jordan to Pippen, its partly that I think Ovechkin isn't a superstar like Jordan. But also, if you look at the difference in points per game between different NBA players, and the difference in points per game between Ovechkin and other guys like Laich, Brouwer, Ward, Chimera, Knuble, Mojo, etc. I think the comparison is appropriate. Hockey isn't a game like the NBA that revolves around superstars, and a guy can take over the game like when Lebron scores 20 straight points (well, gretzky or orr could come close to that, but not even Crosby or the Sedins can do that in today's game). But even Gretzky wasn't dominant the way Lebron or Kobe is, because the NBA has turned into a really silly game of 1v1 with the other 8 people standing around, whereas hockey truly is a team game (not to mention the difference between hockey players playing 1/3rd of the time, versus NBA players playing the whole game).

Chris Ford said...

As it was happening I figured Bordreau would go without the first line. Then my normal sports bias came in and I thought Ovi should be in. I have yet to see Ovi take over a game the way an NBA player or Running back could do, so that part must be the sport. I also think Ovi may have better skills & talent, but Bakstrom looks like the better player. Thats one of the hard parts about watching a new sport. I hear everyone say Ovi is the best, but I don't see it on the ice yet. Maybe I don't notice little hockey nuances. I'll figure it out some day.

Unknown said...

Also remember that Backstrom is a centre.

In an empty-net situation like that, you want to have two centres out there in case your first guy gets kicked out of the circle.

If Bruce wanted to ride the Laich-Ward-Chimmer line without subbing in Ovi for one of the wingers, then it makes sense to have Backstrom in there as an alternate centre.

Dave McGowan said...
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Dave McGowan said...

I believe Gabriel made some very solid points. I just don't think that Ovi and Semin are overrated. There's a reason that Ovechkin has the second most GWG in franchise history (52 in six seasons) behind Peter Bondra (73 in 14 seasons... and Bondra didn't have the stars around him that Ovi does). To me, I feel like Ovi goes balls-out when it gets down to the wire. At times I feel like he's almost going TOO hard (he falls down more than any hockey player I've ever seen). So, in a situation like last night, with less than 2 minutes left and the goalie pulled, I was a little surprised he wasn't out there. You expect to see the PP line on the ice in this situation. That line always includes Ovi and Backstrom, and most of the time Semin (who, I feel, has the best puck-handling skills on the team... but sometimes he plays like he's bored). So perhaps, since out PP was useless yesterday and the Ward/Laich/Chimera line played awesome, coach decided to put his faith in them. So, "In Bruce we trust"... Hopefully this won't mess with Ovi's confidence (doubtful that it will), and he'll just go out on Friday and dominate, proving to Boudreau that he should always be on the ice when it matters... And we'll also get to see him take over a game for the first time this season.

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