A few weeks ago, every hockey analyst in the world minus Ron MacLean was reveling in Alex Ovechkin‘s epic gr8ness. Would Ovi score 50 in 50? Could the Russian machine become the ninth player in NHL history to score 70 goals? A fourth Hart trophy looked like a sure thing. Things could not have been better.

Four goal-less games later and on just a meager 65-goal pace, Ovechkin is enemy number one again in hockey.

Today’s hater, Marty McSorley, hails from the great province of Ontario, Canada, where he is a TV analyst for Sportsnet. Wayne Gretzky’s former protector had a simple message for the kids: this Ovechkin is all hype (whatever that means). Just look at that plus-minus!

Okay, I’m gonna say it. I have tons of guys that played in the National Hockey League for years and we get together and we say this is hype. Alex Ovechkin is hype. Would you trade him for Sidney Crosby? [No!] Would you trade him for Jonathan Toews? [No!] Anze Kopitar? [No!] Ryan Getzlaf? [Absolutely not!] No, you wouldn’t do that! Alex Ovechkin is a hype. There’s too much there. He’s minus-14 on a team that’s 20-14-5. I think he’s got a lot to prove to guys. Yes, he’s very, very talented. Yes, he can skate. Yes, he’s got courage. We saw with Dale Hunter. Dale Hunter, look at him, he’s blowing a gasket there because Alex Ovechkin plays through everybody else’s shift, he cheats on the ice, 5-on-5 he’s atrocious. He’s a minus player. He’s got a long way to go to get hockey people to believe that he’s in the MVP category.

You know, lot of guys, and I try to do it too, we spend time with these young kids that are learning the game. I do not think this is an example that the young kids need to watch. A Toews, a Crosby, so many great players in the game. Let’s talk about those guys. Let’s talk about how they play.

Now let’s talk about how Ovechkin actually plays, since clearly Marty hasn’t been paying attention.

Ovechkin was a two-time MVP before Adam Oates even arrived, yet Ovechkin trusted his new hall-of-fame coach and changed positions. He abandoned The Move, he stopped carrying the puck into the opponent’s zone Rambo style, and reduced his turnovers. He checked his ego, changed his game, and grew as a player.

Ovechkin began trusting his teammates more, letting them carry the puck while he got in position and put more shots on net.

The results have been dramatic. Ovechkin has forestalled the decline that comes for all scorers in their late twenties and is now on pace to have perhaps the greatest season of his career at age 28.

That’s unheard of. That’s praiseworthy.

Now onto you, Marty. You took Ovechkin down a peg by citing plus-minus. I’m not sure what you’ve been reading since ’99, but now we all know plus-minus is one of the most contrived and meaningless statistics in the NHL.

Here’s a photo of Jeff Schultz.

In 2009-10 Jeff Schultz led the NHL in plus-minus. Now he’s a wash-out.

Don’t use plus-minus to evaluate players, Marty. It makes you look silly.

If you were a serious analyst and not a washed-up dilettante, you’d have learned about how Alex Ovechkin‘s plus-minus rating came to be. You see, 13 of the 16 goals Ovechkin has been on the ice for during 5v5 came right off his stick. His linemates, on the other hand, are on an epic cold streak through no fault of their own– or Alex’s for that matter.

After your plus-minus thing, you showed a clip of Dale Hunter “blowing a gasket” at Ovechkin. Looks more like coaching to me, but whatever. It’s just another part of this bizarre, shoddily-assembled story you’re building.

And then, the children! Won’t somebody please think of the children?! Thank you, Marty, for looking out for the youngsters. You’re such a good role model.

Hype. That word means “extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion.” As in undeserved fame. As in the kind of fame one might gain from riding the coattails of Wayne Gretzky, who, by the way, thinks Alex Ovechkin is just swell.

You’d trade him for Getzlaf? Really?!

Transcription by Chris Gordon

Tagged with:
  • Jack Conness

    Ooooo kill ’em!

  • Cooper

    Am I the only one who unknowingly applauded when I finished reading this article?

  • Owen Johnson

    “Would you trade him for this Canadian?” “No.” “Would you trade him for THIS Canadian?” “No.” “Would you trade him for this token European I threw in there to prove I’m not racist?” “No.”

    Guess what McSOREly, I wouldn’t trade my captain for anything. You must have missed all those games he SINGLE HANDEDLY WON FOR US THIS YEAR.

  • Sweedish Meatballs

    If we are talking about people who should be role models for the kids, McSorely would be the last one I’d want a kid to have

  • Greg Girard

    Absolutely absurd the level of prejudice these old school guys have for non-Canadiens. The only reason they get away with it is because its not a difference you can see when you look at a person (i.e. race, gender). It’s appalling.

  • Michael Reschly

    I’m always conflicted as to whether it’s better to stand-up to trolling (and give them more pageviews) or to ignore them and hope they go away.

  • Mike Lunsford

    You destroyed Marty’s point and made me lol at work. Bravo!

  • Ceelo

    Not really sure just what came out of his mouth, but it sure was not very good hockey analysis. You keep teachin em’ on the good ways Marty. I’m sure it takes tons of video break down to show the kids how to swing your stick at someones head. BTW: He has aged terribly.

  • Bob

    as soon as i read his comment on +/- i was praying for a Schultz picture. You never disappoint and for that i give you a golf clap

  • Dark Stranger

    Great article and rebuttal to McSorely. (Or should be call him McSoreLoserly?) In any case, McSorely, is the pot calling the kettle black and a worse role model for kids than Ovi.)

  • Jonah

    Gotta love csn. Marty Mc-soreloser-y talks shit about ovechkin in 1st intermission, csn shows interview where Wayne Gretzky (maybe you’ve heard of him? he’s kinda a big deal) praising OV in 2nd intermission.

  • Owen Johnson

    Hoping he gives McSorely one of these

  • Lawrence

    I just wanna say I love you RMNB

  • dylan wheatley

    in all fairness i’d probably trade ovi for gretzky

  • Michael, You bring up a great point. This is something I considered before proceeding with the article.

    When “respected” analysts say these types of things earnestly (that’s the key), I do think it’s worth a post because a) Fans in Washington should know and understand how Ovechkin’s perceived away from this area and b) to bring to light a contrarian point of view and see if it holds any water.

    I think McSorely really believes what he’s saying here — which is kind of scary to me. He played a long time in the league, a lot of people are going to believe this mess. It’s worth the time to argue.

  • Yeah that worked out well didn’t it?

  • brian!

    Not a single joke about curve measuring? I am disappoint.

  • Steve

    “Would you trade (legit first-line center) for (any first-line winger ever)?” With maybe one or two exceptions, if the answer to that is yes, you have have no place commenting on hockey.

  • Myan

    Marty McSoreloser, STFU.

  • Buck

    cant wait until we have both ovechkin and kuznetsof so we can piss off canadian analysts even more

  • Cthulu’s Alarm Clock

    Isn’t this the guy whose career ended with a hate crime?

  • Harjot Singh

    you know threes a reason ovis money when he plays in Canada?

  • Harjot Singh

    once again a Canadian analyst is hating on an awesome Russian born player.

  • Owen Johnson

    You wouldn’t trade Getzlaf for him? That is Getz-laffable. (Sorry)

  • boo

    go do 20 punishment push ups

  • Matt McNeely

    Yes. The same.

  • Myan

    Ovi’s like haha )))))

  • Brian Thomas

    Thank you for posting this. I about had a heart attack when I saw this live…and let’s also mention that McSorely, as occurs quite frequently with Canadian nitwits who want to criticize Ovie, compared him to four CENTERS. At least compare him to other wingers/snipers. Compare him to Patrick Kane, Kessel, Perry, St. Louis, etc. Compare Backstrom to Crosby, Toews, Kopitar, Getzlaf. McSorely is a complete and utter clown. He’s almost too stupid to be worth getting upset at, but he deserves to be called out on this one.

  • Whitey Wheeler

    I’m confused… The other guy essentially answers, “no, I would not trade Ovechkin for any of those guys” and McSorely acts as if the guy is proving his point, when he’s not. Right? Sorry I don’t know the other guy’s name.

  • IafrateNoGhosts

    Okay, I’m gonna say it. I have tons of guys that played in the National Football League for years and we get together and we say this is hype. Calvin “Megatron” Johnson is hype. Would you trade him for Aaron Rogers? [No!] Would you trade him for Peyton Manning? [No!] Drew Brees? [No!] Tom Brady? [Absolutely not!] No, you wouldn’t do that! Megatron is a hype. There’s too much there. His team is regularly outscored. I think he’s got a lot to prove to guys. Yes, he’s very, very talented. Yes, he can run. Yes, he scores touchdowns. Yes he is strong. But he doesn’t score more touchdowns than his opposition.

  • Caiphex

    @iafratenoghosts:disqus I loved that you posted this. Not only does it put the whole frustration of the contextual issue to the forefront for those newer fans to hockey but it nicely lays out a correlation that a majority of sports fans in the US will understand. It lets me explain it to my friends who do not follow hockey in an impacting manner.

  • heh, I’m glad that works for you guys because I was totally lost in the NFL stuff!

  • Rhino40

    Alex Ovechkin is a hype.” (sic.)
    he cheats on the ice
    He’s got a long way to go to get hockey people to believe that he’s in the MVP category.

    …says the guy who has won the Rocket Richard, Ted Lindsay, Art Ross, Hart and Lady Byng Trophies….um….NEVER

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Someone’s been hitting the haterade.

  • ndhuskerpower

    Surefire Hart winner? Seems to me that Crosby and Kane are running away with it.

  • Did someone say “surefire”?

    I’m not sure what you’re saying exactly. You seem to be saying Crosby and Kane are running away with it, and that others are saying Ovechkin is running away with it. This is all about perception, but neither of those statements is a slam-drunk.

    If Ovi puts 65+ goals up– years after anyone other than him has done anymore than 60, on a team that doesn’t score much without him– he’s got a real good chance at winning the Hart.

    I don’t trust anyone who speaks in hyperbole. Seems like you feel the same way, except for the whole “Crosby and Kane are running away with it” line.

  • he’s not like those players – yes, exactly. that’s what allows him to do what he does and score more than any of them. you’re not going to score a lot when you play the “right” way like Datsyuk does, etc. Does anyone want to see OV playing defense all game? no, that’d be a waste of a player’s career.

  • PleaseKillMe

    Of all critical articles written about people, I have never wanted so badly for that person to read the article. I hope Mcsorely comes across this and blows a gasket.