Time To Move On From Alex Ovechkin?

Re-hashing who is at fault for the current NHL lockout is well worn territory, especially from people who are far more connected to the people and issues related to the lockout.  I think both sides share in the blame and an extended lockout was inevitable with Gary Bettman sitting across from Donald Fehr. 

What has been a bit of a revelation to me is that the outspokenness of Alex Ovechkin and his actions during this lockout, which make it clear he still doesn’t understand what it means to be a leader of men and it might be time for the Capitals to part ways with him.  There was a segment of the Capitals fan base that has argued that Alex Ovechkin was the wrong choice for the teams captaincy from the day he received it and thought that Brooks Laich was the better choice.  I wasn’t part of that group of fans, but in the last month or two it has been clear to me that Alex Ovechkin just doesn’t get it. 

Alex Ovechkin has been one of the more vocal players in support of the NHLPA’s position against the league in the current negotiations, going as far as threatening to stay in Russia if there is any rollback in players salaries.  Perhaps it is better said is he is threatening to stay in Russia if there is any rollback in HIS salary.  Because his actions have shown the only person Alex Ovechkin cares about is Alex Ovechkin. 

Here is a player who has earned $9 million dollars a year from playing hockey for the past 4 years and was on his entry level contract before that for 3 years earning millions a year.  That doesn’t even account for any off ice money he earns from advertisers and other promotional events.   I’ve written before that I didn’t like the fact that the NHLers were jumping to Europe so I won’t belabor that point.  But what he has done is left the likes of the Jay Beagles and Matt Hendricks of the league and also the likes of Thomas Kundratek to stand up and fight for the league while earning nothing.  Guys like Beagle and Hendricks are making really nice money for the average person, but it isn’t money you can retire on for life.  Then there are guys like Kundratek who may see spot duty in the NHL over a season or two and they are losing opportunities to even appear in the NHL.  And here is Alex Ovechkin running off to the KHL to earn $6 million and fighting the battle from his cushy castle in Russia.

I know if I were one of the guys holding the fort I’d be highly resentful of Alex Ovechkin speaking such a big game while he was pocketing a large percentage of his salary (probably tax free as is often the case in the KHL).  Conversely, there are other superstars…dare I say it…like Sidney Crosby that have stayed here in North America and have been present at the NHLPA meetings and the negotiating sessions. 

This is your leader of your Washington Capitals leaving the rank and file to fight for his salary.  And look who has joined Alex in Europe, Brooks Laich and Nicklas Backstrom.  Wow, a trifecta of supposed leadership on this organization who is absent from the fight as they line their own pockets.  We’ve gone years with great regular season team to flame out dramatically in the playoffs supposedly on the shoulders of players like Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich (and also Alex Semin who is on something like his second or third European team already).

If what we are seeing very publicly about Alex Ovechkin’s leadership qualities in these negotiations is who Alex Ovechkin truly is, then I don’ have any faith he can actually be the leader to lead this organization to a Stanley Cup. 

Then again this could just be the rantings of a fan upset that the NHL is locked out and that first spectacular goal by Ovechkin everything can changed.  Only time will tell.

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6 Responses to Time To Move On From Alex Ovechkin?

  1. Bestpilot says:


  2. Gin and Tonic says:

    Are you kidding?

    The Beagles and Hendricks of the NHL are fighting against the league, not for it. Never mind that it would take me decades to earn as much as they get for a couple of years. Sorry, not worrying about them and their livelihood. If they manage their money wisely and prepare for life after hockey (which they would have to do anyhow) they’ll be fine.

    And do you think that they are not playing in another league because of principles? Get real, it’s because it’s because they haven’t been given an offer to do so. And it’s not like there is another league in their respective home countries for them to play in.

    And personally, I don’t think that the Hendricks and Beagles of the league mind that Ovi, Nash, Thornton, Malkin, Zetterberg, Tavares, Spezza, Giroux, Chara and others are playing in Europe. Why? Because it’s a reminder to the owners that they aren’t the only game in town. As the lockout drags on more players will sign in Europe.

    As for Crosby, the only reason he isn’t playing in Europe (or Max Talbot’s charity league) is that he isn’t willing to pay the $400K it would require to insure his contract and hasn’t found a team willing to pay it either.

  3. Forrest Smith (@spork27) says:

    I’m having a hard time following your thought process. It seems that you think that if a player is playing in Europe that aren’t NHL Captain material. That seems like a very big leap to me without any hard evidence. I do understand that categorizing how well I Captain is performing is very subjective though. You spend the majority of the article specifically targeting Ovechkin, but then lump Laich and Backstrom in at the very end. I would also mention that Kovalchuk, who has previously worn a C, has been more outspoken about the possibility of staying in the KHL than Ovechkin has.

  4. Tim says:

    Terrible, ignorant article. Ovie’s not abandoning the rank-and-file – players who go to Europe are helping, because they’re showing the NHL that there are other places to play besides here. Back in 2004, the players had no other options to get even close to a NHL salary. That was one of the reasons they caved in. Now, that leverage is majorly reduced. The last paragraph is the only one that’s accurate.

    • I welcome all comments to my blog, even those that disagree with my opinion. However, this is not a message board or a thread where the louder the voice and more demeaning language is used to put down others opinions, mine or other commentators. That lack of civility is what drove me away from the message boards. While I leave this comment up, I am making clear now this type of comment will not be approved in the future.

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