Photo credit: Scott Levy
Okay, the subject line is a joke, but some people are being silly about Derek Stepan‘s game-winning goal last night. They’re saying it was Alex Ovechkin‘s fault– that his laziness on defense is a problem.
Here’s how it really went down.
After a long shift in the defensive zone, Marcus Johansson failed to clear the zone and pass to Alex Ovechkin, who was skating toward Lundqvist at center ice. A scramble for the puck ensued, and Stepan scored from the weak side. Ovechkin skated lazily towards Stepan as it happened.
Bad visual, but that’s all.
Deadspin’s headline for the play is Alexander Ovechkin Would Prefer Not To Play Defense because it fits cozily into a pernicious media narrative, but it’s not actually true. Recall if you will minutes earlier that same game when Ovechkin’s defensive backcheck was so enthusiastic it turns Martin Erat’s wrist into kindling.
Here’s the very first frame of the video of the play:
Ovechkin is hauling ass away from the play because he’s expecting a breakout pass so that he can enter the offensive zone on a rail and score the game-tying goal. He’s expecting competence from his linemates, which was the real tragic error here– not some dubious distaste for defense.
But that doesn’t stop media folks from using this an opportunity to lambast Alex Ovechkin for the same old thing. Media is a business– I get that, but let’s be honest: those writers and pundits are serving an agenda, not informing their audience.