When you are one of the best players in the NHL, the spotlight is on you in the playoffs. When you have never made it past the second round, give up a 3-1 series lead and guarantee a win in Game 7, there is going to be some scrutiny when you fall short of that mark. That is where Alex Ovechkin stands after Wednesday's Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers.
The Great 8 did his part, scoring the Caps' lone goal of the night and recording six shots on goal and three hits. To some, Ovechkin backed up his words with his stellar effort.
NBC announcer Pierre McGuire had high praise for the Caps' captain saying he was "valiant in defeat." ESPN analyst and mullet enthusiast Barry Melrose also was passionate in his defense of Ovechkin.
"[Ovechkin] was great in [Game7]," Melrose said. "He got the goal, he hit everything that moved, he had the most shots, he was tracking down every loose puck, he just worked and worked and worked. And yet, he's the guy who's going to be nailed tomorrow in the press. I don't think it's fair."
Melrose went on to say Ovechkin gave his "heart and soul."
Shockingly, NBC analyst Mike Milbury was not impressed.
"It'll be long forgotten that he scored a goal in this one," Milbury said. "It'll [just be] remembered that he promised the victory and it wasn't delivered."
Milbury also said, however, that Ovechkin gave the Caps a chance to win and that the game could have gone either way. That's about as close to praise from Milbury as you're going to get.
You can see Milbury's full reaction here:
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USA Today's For the Win page had a more definitive take in their article published Thursday with the headline "Alex Ovechkin is the most underachieving MVP in NHL history." You can guess whether or not there was a positive spin on this one. As a three-time MVP winner--possibly four if he wins next month--Ovechkin is the only multi-time MVP to never win a Stanley Cup which statistically justifies their claim.
Rangers fans of course had their own reaction.
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