As a player, analyst and now as a book author, Jeremy Roenick has never been shy to share his opinions. In his latest book, “Shoot First Pass Later: My Life, No Filter,” Roenick throws his support around Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.
In fact, Roenick opens his book by comparing himself to Ovechkin, saying he is the current NHL player who most resembles Roenick in style and personality.
But what may be most interesting is what Roenick has to say about what Ovechkin had to say – specifically during last season’s playoffs.
“The media blasted Ovechkin during the second round of the 2015 NHL playoffs when he guaranteed a victory in Game 7 of a playoff series against the New York Rangers,” Roenick writes. “Ovechkin’s haters said that given his poor playoff history, he had no right to channel his inner Mark Messier and guarantee a victory.
Of course, I loved what Ovechkin said, because it reminded me of something I might have said if a reporter asked me what was going to happen in a Game 7.
Remember, I’m the guy who predicted Team USA was going to win the gold medal in the 1996 World Cup. I didn’t end up playing because I didn’t have a contract, but I’m the guy who first said we were going to win the damn gold medal. Team USA general manager Lou Lamoriello wasn’t happy that I supplied Canada with bulletin board material, but as far as I was concerned, the prediction needed to be made publicly. We needed to be on record saying we intended to beat Canada.
Here is what Ovechkin said before his Game 7 against New York: ‘We’re going to come back and win the series. We’re going to play our game, and we’re going to come back and we’re going to play Montreal or Tampa [in the conference final].’
Those words, by themselves, would have created only a small bonfire, but earlier in the series he trash-talked Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist after scoring a goal against him. ‘All series, baby,’ Ovechkin said.
Later in the series, he said the Rangers were afraid of the Capitals’ offensive might. When you pile the guarantee on top of Ovi’s previous comments, his body of work suddenly became the target of media criticism. The prevailing sentiment was that Ovechkin should keep his mouth shut.
Maybe it’s media members who are anti-Russian. Reporters and analysts used to celebrate when I opened my mouth and let the cockiness flow. Why don’t they have the same level of enjoyment when Ovechkin has something to say? It makes you wonder.
I respect Ovechkin’s rants and I wish he would do it more often. It would be good for the NHL, and it would be good for his teammates to be reminded regularly how passionate he is about our sport.
What I enjoyed most of all was Ovechkin’s reaction when he was told that fans and some members of the media disapproved of his guarantee.
He said he didn’t care what other people think of him.
As the team’s captain Ovechkin should go strong to the microphone. His coach, Barry Trotz, said he appreciated that Ovechkin was breathing fire before a game. And I guarantee you that his teammates were fired up to hear that Ovechkin believed that they were going to kick ass and take names.”
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