That Time Pierre McGuire Was Wrong About Everything

Andre Ringuette

Photo credit: Andre Ringuette

Lots of smart and informed people have been dead wrong about Alex Ovechkin this year. Also wrong: Pierre McGuire, who I guess is smart and informed, but the jury is out on if he qualifies as human. Regardless, way back in January when Ovechkin was trying his first stint on the right wing, McGuire gave an interview to an Ottawa radio station where he delivered a litany of Wrong Things He Should Be Embarrassed About Now (if his species is even capable of embarrassment).

I wonder if anyone transcribed this interview. WAIT. THAT’S DAN STEINBERG’S MUSIC.

To set the stage: The Caps have won just one of their first four games. In those games, Alex Ovechkin has just one assist and one goal– nothing at even strength. Aaaaaand go.

face4“He’s a left winger with Nick Backstrom. That’s the best place for him. That’s where he’s comfortable. He likes to fly in the zone, he likes to get up the ice, he likes to do that one-on-one where he cuts wide, goes to his left and then can cut back to the middle and try to beat the defenseman. But everybody in the league’s aware of that move, so he’s gonna have to come up with a different move, or he’s gonna have to trail the play and look for one-time chances…”

Ovechkin switched back to left wing for a few games before making the right wing a permanent change. Then he scored 21 goals and 31 points in 20 games.

face1“I don’t think Ovechkin’s ever gonna [get goals by crashing the net], so you’re gonna have to just play off of what Ovechkin’s good at. And what he’s good at is shooting the puck and leading the rush. That’s what he’s really good at, and he’s probably gonna have to go that way.”

Ovechkin is definitely not leading the rush. He now typically allows his linemates to make the zone entry while he gets in position to score. And his slapshot distances on the power play have dropped by more than 10 feet since last season.

face3“Do you think he’s capable of scoring 50 goals in this league again?” McGuire was then asked.

“No. I do not,” he said.

Alex Ovechkin would be on a 55-goal pace in a full-length season, and that includes his blue period at the beginning of the year.

face5“[Ovechkin’s] lost a gear. He’s about a half-gear to a gear short of what he used to be with his speed. He used to have that one extra burst that could get him free for a lot of open opportunities. He does not have that anymore.”

And yet, Alex Ovechkin is getting more shots on goal than last year (4.62, up from 3.88).


Quick reminder: Pierre McGuire actually gets paid to talk about hockey. There are actual, non-reptile humans across the continent who consider him both insightful and uncreepy.

I despair.

P.S. Read DC Sports Bog.

  • Bradley Spies

    To be fair, being on pace for 50+ goals and scoring 50+ goals are very different things, given how much of his production is from shooting 20% on the PP.

  • I fully support Peter’s statement in the PS.

  • Rhino40

    The insight and relevance of McGuire’s analysis are on a par with the credibility of Eklund’s “insider rumours”.

  • Chris

    I kinda mentally lump Pierre and Mike together into one giant inane windbag that creeps people out while he beats them with a shoe.

    Nice use of the different headshots, BTW.

  • abrlcklnthewall So er uh, NHL14 voting underway. Lets see Nick on the cover?

  • Fedor

    Had we been talking about an 82-game season, you’re right. In the current circumstances, you can’t come any closer, so that counts.

  • I resent that.

  • yv

    After late big outburst by Mike Milbury on NBC against Cooke in favored by him and PMg Pens, maybe, at-last, we would be spared to hear their ‘insightful’ comments about Ovi and Caps.

  • blondinwrx

    Pierre was far from the only one wrong. Caps fans, bloggers, media all thought he was but a shadow of his former self. Cue Oatsey. Ovie owes him, had dale been coaching this year, they would have all been right.

  • This article wasn’t too biased (minus some snippets here and there), but the comments in response to it are, and ridiculously so.

    I think a lot of the hate for Pierre is unwarranted and little unfair. The guy is an extremely knowledgeable hockey mind, and even if he never saw success as a player (and was downright disastrous as an NHL Head Coach) his expertise is far and away deeper than that of his detractors.

    Where Pierre fails, in my opinion, is the way that he presents himself to the public. He’s like some kind of Hockey Rain Man and were he a little less awkward he’d probably be more well liked. A great example of this is Jeff Marek. The guy has just as much vast knowledge of obscure hockey minutiae, but doesn’t come off as weird or Asperberger’s-ey (and is more photogenic to boot).

    Both these gentlemen were wrong about Ovechkin at the start of the year btw (as were several of the esteemed contributors to RMNB this season, if I recall correctly).

    It’s fun to pile on Pierre, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really accomplish anything other than ridiculing someone that is for all intents and purposes more learned than you are.

    RMNB, I am disappoint. When I have the opportunity to discuss the relevancy of blogs as legitimate journalism Russian Machine is one of the first examples I provide. This is beneath you.

  • I hate him, but he’s right.

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but Ovechkin has 2 whole goals where he carried the puck in the zone and scored. 2nd goal in Devils hat trick and 2nd goal in Panthers hat trick.

    Its been a while since I watched them all and tallied them up, but there isn’t many goals this year, where the puck touches Ovechkins backhand before he slams or slings it in the net.

  • Last night, I combed through every single recap I wrote this year: All I’ve written was defenses of Alex Ovechkin and encouragement about his climbing shot totals.

    Our prediction post at the beginning of the year was very, very sunny.

    I’ve been very critical in previous seasons, but not this year.

    Lots of people were wrong about Ovi. I could write this post 200x over using different media people. I singled out Pierre because I think he’s a bad hockey pundit. I like Marek, but I think he’s got the same blinders as McGuire.

    Anyway, I stand by what I wrote here, but thanks for writing in.

  • I don’t have the zone entry numbers, but Pierre seems to be saying the opposite:

    “And what he’s good at is shooting the puck and leading the rush. That’s what he’s really good at, and he’s probably gonna have to go that way.”

    Ovi is NOT leading the rush, he’s letting others do that and finishing it off.

    Let me know if I misunderstood you.

  • Ash

    Awesome. Any time I can enjoy schadenfreude at Pierre McGuire’s expense is like sitting back and drinking a tasty milkshake. Mmm.

    (And big props to RMNB for basically writing this article as a much classier way of yelling “SCOREBOARD.”)

  • stevem

    Hey guys – I’d be really careful not to poke the Chara bear. I mean – you keep poking that Chara bear…. (anyone remember his million references made last post-season??)

  • GuestZ

    His old move was off the left wing, and his new move is letting others handle it while he gets set up. When he doesn’t have the puck, he can’t get it poked from beneath him. This is bad because….?

    Seems to me AO knows how to coach his players to do what they need to do to win.

  • yv

    A lot of writers have been wrong about Ovi and Caps, but what separate them from PMg and MM (and CBC panel), that those two are on national TV and maximum objectivity should be synonym of their job, and they both failing in this greatly.

  • Ian

    OMG, I’m that troll guy that suggested an article needed to be written about this while simultaneously inserting inappropriate terminology. Thanks RMNB! I forgive you for deleting every post I every make.

  • Yeah but a 45-game sample from which to derive 82 games isn’t crazy.

    Now, if I were to take the last 20 games and say he’s on an 86-goal pace, that’d be crazy.

    He’s only shooting 1% above average at 5 on 5 this year (based on last three years). But to your point: yeah, he’s shooting like 7% above average on the PP.

  • haha thank you

  • jennrubenstein

    i have a man-crush on dan steinberg.
    i also have a man-crush on peter hassett.
    i was disappointed that steinz didn’t make it to the puck buddys party on saturday, but now that i think of it, it’s probably for the best… =)
    also, i have a friend who can use a ball point pen and his middle finger to create an extremely lifelike representation of pierre.

  • Rhino40

    If the choice Is Bäckis or JC74, it simply has to be Bäckis.
    Got huge respect for JC74 as a player, but if it was Carlson (particularly the pre-reverse-Samson Carlson) on the cover, I’d have to check twice to make sure I was buying:
    and not
    Fast TImes At Kettler Rink (with JC74 in the role of Jeff Spicoli)
    …just sayin’

  • Rhino40

    So what, Derek.
    If you a real person and a hockey fan (like the rest of us) whose last name just happens to be Eklund, then no offence was intended.

    However, if you are the same guy who posts “insider rumours” on “hockeybuzz” under the pseudonym of “Eklund”–rumours of player transactions that are (at best) highly unlikely to ever happen–then I pity you, sir.

  • seconded on Backstrom

  • Jeremiah

    Pierre Mcguire always reminded me of Golem from lord of the rings. the way his head is shaped it seems all you would have to do is put tiny glasses golem and you would have a good doppleganger.

  • Plus have you ever seen Pierre eat a raw fish? It’s eerily similar.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    “Troy Brouwer – he doesn’t make any mistake at all.” – the only true thing Pierre McGuire has ever uttered, or just the truest thing?

  • Who listens to McGuire? who likes McGuire? He failed as a coach, He’s inside the glass not really an announcer but still finds his way to butt in. He tries way to hard for Eddies approval when he’s upstairs. I personally watch the game on mute when he’s there.

  • Screw him and the NBC crew. I want my playoff games called by Joe and Craig.

  • This is a fair rebuttal, and to be honest I still lump Neil in with you guys (even though I should know better). I mean no offense, I’ll keep reading every word on this blog, though I will respectfully disagree with you about Pierre.

  • scott

    MY biggest issue with PMg is the bias that he seems to express on a nightly basis, where is your name isn’t sidney crosby your not worthy of being called one of the best in the league. Same thing with Milbury, there’s a blatant bias when there should be objective reporting of the leagues best players. RMNB can be bias because they are a blog based mostly on the Capitals.

    While i agree the guy has tons of insight when he is being objective the problem is that he isn’t.