Alex Ovechkin

Photo credit: Paul Chiasson

Over the next five days, the Capitals will finish the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season with three home games. The Caps’ match-ups with Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Boston will not only determine if Washington wins the Southeast Division and makes the playoffs, they’ll also sort out the trophy races that Alex Ovechkin is involved in. Ovechkin, after not winning any hardware since 2010, is in contention for four awards: the Ted Lindsey trophy for players’ MVP, the Art Ross trophy (for most points), the Maurice Richard trophy (for most goals), and the Hart trophy (for most valuable player).

While The Great Eight and his peers control his destiny with three of these four awards, the esteemed members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association will decide the Hart Trophy. This is the same media that in the last three years has literally flogged Ovechkin with a spiked 2 x 4 painted with a red maple leaf and dripping with Tim Horton’s coffee. Because when every great player gets older and his team becomes less aggressive, it’s the media’s moral obligation to antagonize him to casual fans and excoriate him at every turn.

I mean, look at some of this stuff.

Despite there being strong evidence that Ovechkin has carried his team and done exactly what the Hart trophy entails, he still has detractors. I’m not blind to the fantastic seasons of Sergei Bobrovsky, John Tavares, Sidney Crosby, and Jonathan Toews, but if the Capitals make the playoffs after such an awful start, Ovechkin deserves the Hart trophy. Period.

Here’s something you can do to get Ovi over these last three games. Every time he scores a goal, makes a big hit, or hell– any time his name is growled by Wes Johnson, chant M – V – P! Because optics matter. A Captain with uniform support of his fans looks ever slightly more attractive to the media members who pick the Hart.

So create your own signs, or print out the one I made below.


Let the NHL world know that Ovi deserves recognition. He’s successfully switched to right wing, changed his game, revolutionized the power play, and scored like it was 2008 or something. Seasons like this can’t happen every year, so enjoy it and cheer it on. And while you’re taking it all in, shout like a madman.

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  • Clare

    But, but, but, the Hart isn’t for the MVP! You have to make the clear distinction!!! DUH IAN!!!

  • “And the Hart trophy (for most valuable player).” **to his team**

  • Do I really have to go on and on about that after Peter wrote 1,000 awesome words about it over the weekend?

  • apparently I have shifted the debate or some shit like that

  • My favorite part of the Whyno’s piece: “By the true definition of “most valuable player,” Ovechkin is it.” Yet he’s still #2.

  • Phil

    “…literally flogged Ovechkin with a spiked 2 x 4 painted with a red maple leaf and dripping with Tim Horton’s coffee.”

    This is the best sentence on the internet.

  • my favorite part is the end

    because then it is over

    and I can read something else instead

  • James T. Paterson

    Where some claim his slow start prevents his candidacy, I feel it actually endorses it: he sucked, the team sucked. Now he’s awesome, the team team is awesome (please excuse the generalization and paraphrasing). Meanwhile, Crosby misses 25% of same season yet his team barely skips a beat… This logic is also the same reason i believe Oates should be at least considered for the Jack Adams award, too.

  • GuestZ

    Yay Washington! Where politics and knives in the back are as common as cicada’s will be this summer! “Et tu, Whyno?”

  • Clare

    This was me being a butthead BECAUSE Peter wrote about it already.

  • yv

    As an example of huge bias against Ovi and Caps is/was the panel of 5 CBC commentators during the first game in ‘Peg when Caps, still in search of their game, beat them 3:0 on March 2. First time I watched CBC feed of Caps game and was amused by what they all said about Ovi, especially by no-name, former player PJ Stock. On the Milbury scale they were ahead of founder. I wonder what CBC said during next Caps trashing of Jets.
    Southeast is the last division in the league without crowned winner and 3+point night by Ovi would be perfect for this and other hardware matters.

  • Jeff

    I’m sorry, but if you think Alex hasn’t deserved the media flogging he’s received, you’re just a tad delusional. He deserved it every bit as much as he deserves the plaudits he’s receiving for his recent play. This media scrutiny comes with the territory for these so-called “superstars,” and that includes the “Good Eight.”

  • See, you and I differ. I think he deserves NEITHER the criticism I’ve been deflecting all year NOR the hyperbolic praise he’s getting from some now.

    His poor performance before made a lot of sense based on his teammates, deployments, and team system.

    His success now owes a ton to a possibly shaky power play and Nick Backstrom’s excellent setup work.

  • Rhino40

    flogged Ovechkin with a spiked 2 x 4 painted with a red maple leaf and dripping with Tim Horton’s coffee.
    More mastery of metaphor from my favorite folks on the interwebz. That’s one of the reasons I keep coming back here.

    IMO, it is in these final 3 games that the interests of both Ovie as an individual and the Team as a whole can receive maximum benifit from a very simple philosophy. One which is really always applicable, but is especially relevant now. A philosophy embodied in three words which, though small looking, nonetheless loom enormous:


    Do that, me buckoes, and everything else will take care of itself.

    Do that, Ovie, and three other words will crescendo until they are shouted, roared, screamed from rooftops League-wide:


    BTW, Love the sign , Ian. I wish I could go tonight, but I’ll be there in spirit.
    GO CAPS!!!

  • dcvibes

    Are you saying Oates sucked as a coach at the start of the season?

  • wait we can use bold and underlines and italics in comments??

  • good point about media and analysts.
    i always knew the word “Anal-yst” is a polite form of “Ass-hole”

  • Maybe we need to write the comments in Word and copy it over? I was wondering the same thing! haha

  • Thanks, Rhino! I really appreciate it. 😀

  • Adam Vingan

    How DARE you call me out for being shortsighted! 😉

  • I think some players on the team were out of shape at the beginning of the season and they had trouble grasping the system. That doesn’t mean the players are stupid. After having three different systems installed over the last year, it came a little slow. That’s understandable.

    With 48 games this season instead of 82, that bad start really hurt them. But it’s important to say this: no one sucked. I think it’s the opposite. The team has really done a great job getting the system down 100% and being open to Adam Oates changes (Ovi RW, Alzner broken up with Carlson, etc)

    In fact, I think Oates has done such a tremendous job this season, he deserves strong consideration for the Jack Adams trophy.

  • MY BAD

  • i don’t know how i would get through this day without RMNB. AGH!

  • JJ

    Why is it that when I read what Lovarro said, it was in a high-pitched voice?

  • Ash

    I’d consider thinking that if I ever actually saw a reasonable amount of criticism given to the other super stars, or even just the other stars. But I honestly don’t think I have ever seen the level of vitriol and viciousness and downright contempt that Alex Ovechkin gets in comparison to other players like Crosby, Giroux, Toews, Kane, Malkin, etc.

    And each of those players have done things that warrant severe criticism, whether it’s, you know, captaining a team that completely falls apart in a shitshow of a playoff series, public drunkfests, dirty play on ice, etc.

    So, no, I don’t think he deserves the media flogging he’s gotten. While criticism was certainly warranted, I can’t agree that it was in the amount and type that was given.

  • Thank you for saying that.

    I absolutely agree that Ovechkin has merited criticism, and I’ve tried to offer it at times as well. But the bile that has come out of NBCSN and some of the sources in Ian’s post this AM was way out of scale.

    And now that they’re wrong, hell yeah I’m gonna point it out.

  • ChuchutrainLA

    …new word for me “bile.” Getting my knowledge at RMNB. #AmeriKanRusskies

    I did not like OV in the early season either. He was slow in KHL in the early season too, but the then –> BOOM+SICK+UNBELI-M-ABLE

    NHL: same thing. Slow, but then–> BOOM+SICK=UNBELI-M-ABLE

    I think this whole lock-out just left him confused.

    OV is a finisher. You can’t finish if the BB’s conveyor belt stopped working and supplying him with pucks to burry.

    It’s easy to be the “best player in the world” when there is a dude on your SECOND (DUO, DOS, SECONDARY, VTOROI, NOT-FIRST) line scoring more points and goals that you. #livinginSC87world

  • ChuchutrainLA

    same goons that called my team EURO-TRASH during the Olympics, not some beer tourny, the effing Olympics, where people of different nations come together to promote international friendship and understanding….


  • Great article. Love the sign. Wish I could print it out and be there to wave it in person, but living in Los Angeles makes that tough. Instead, I will watch on tv and hopefully scare the crap out of my cat with screams of triumph.

  • maveric101

    Apparently, yes.

    I've known you could do that for a while, but I never bothered looking it up until now:

    what is strong text?

  • Now you’re just showing off.

  • Thanks, David! I appreciate it a ton! Print out the sign, hold it up to the TV, and tweet it to us. I might do a post on the signs at the game later if enough people do it!

  • JenniferH

    My poor cats. They sit next to me when I watch the games and every time the Caps I score, I scream with joy, the cats go running. Every time. Poor things. 🙁

  • Will do!

  • Yeah, I think my cat dreads me watching the games. I honestly think my reaction to last year’s playoff win over Boston scarred him for the rest of his 9 lives.