Alex Ovechkin is arguably the biggest star in the NHL today and, like anyone on top, he takes his fair share of criticism along with his fair share of praise. Last night, Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season. There's the distinct possibility that Ovechkin may be the only NHLer to reach that mark this year, as New Jersey's Zach Parise is the next closest at 41 goals with 12 games to go. So, for someone who scores so much more than his competition, is it right that Alex Ovechkin celebrates every goal like it is his last?
Buy: Ovechkin's celebrations.
One of the things Ovechkin has come under fire for -- most of the criticism coming from hockey purists -- is celebrating with a certain, um how do you say, flair. For example, take whatever it was he was doing after he scored his 50th last night. He skates around the ice and whoops it up almost like a Theo Fleury Reenacter or a self-centered football player celebrating a touchdown.
OK, so maybe it's not as dramatic as Theo Fleury or Chad Johnson, but it's in the neighborhood.
But honestly, what's the harm in a little celebration? This is a league where, for better or worse, players don't play things up for the crowd and don't act like self-centered egomaniacs. And that's great that they have that humility! But let's get real. If one guy goes around getting excited that he gets to play a game for a living, let him do it. It's not going to be the downfall of society. I mean, way back when folks got all upset about Elvis' gyrating hips and that certainly wasn't the end of the music industry.
For all the belly aching about Ovechkin, it's amazing the hypocrisy that exists. Some of those who think he's making a mockery of the art of goal-scoring are the same people who take shots at the NHL's marketing department for its lack of initiative selling its stars or attracting new eyeballs to the game. In Ovechkin's case, he is part of the NHL's marketing department. The NHL doesn't have to lift a finger while he creates attention and buzz for them. Those same critics get bored when players say the same things over and over again in interviews. That's not Oveckin's style. He makes things interesting and livens up a league that's devoid of personality, all while being arguably the best player in the game.
Whether it's scoring 50 goals a season with flair, riding Segways around Washington or getting creative with his shootout attempts at the All-Star Game, what's not to like? The kid has personality. Heaven forbid this sport have any of that!