Tonight is a DEFINING MOMENT for Alex Ovechkin. He needs to STEP UP and be a GAME-CHANGER. If he’s really the greatest goal-scorer of his generation, he needs to PROVE IT.
Hands up if you’ve heard something along those lines the past couple of days.
Perhaps on PHT!
Over to Ovechkin’s teammate, Joel Ward, with the rebuttal.
“People talk and debate about it. I get it. I’m just trying to tell you: Hockey’s not that game,” Ward said, per the Washington Post. “People don’t understand, the sport of hockey is a different beast compared to other sports. You can’t just throw that deep ball in the corner, and it’s up to you to just go and grab it. Things happen. You make a pass, it banks off the boards differently, it goes off a guy’s skate, bounces over there. There’s a lot of variables that go into it. … Hockey is the ultimate beast, man. It’s a crazy sport.”
Indeed it is. Here’s how author Michael J. Mauboussin ranks the randomness of hockey compared to other sports:
This isn’t to make excuses for Ovechkin before the game is even played. He obviously needs to play well.
But even if he plays well and does all the right things, he might not score and the Capitals might not win. That’s just the reality of the game. Especially these days. It’s why you hear stuff like this from the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh:
McDonagh on keys for Rangers: "Trust our structure, trust our strengths, and it's a matter of us getting to our strengths."— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) May 13, 2015
And it’s why coaches focus on process over results. The process can be controlled. The results, for the most part, can’t.
“Obviously we’d like to score and produce out there,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “I think we had some good looks last game that we should have put in. But we’ve just got to keep working hard and play the right way and hopefully it will help us.”