You would’ve sworn that Ovi was all but destined to be “that guy” : that all-conquering player who couldn’t conquer the Cup.
No matter how many 100-point seasons, Calders, Lester B. Pearsons, Rocket Richards, Art Ross’, All-Star teams, and everything else besides, #8 and the Washington Capitals team he’d captained since 2010 and de facto led since he was selected 1st overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, just seemed to be cursed in the playoffs.
I’ve always had a bit of a crush on the right-handed left-winger. He’s just the biggest “beauty” in the game, even if only in the hockey sense of the term. For the last decade, whenever the Capitals played the Oilers, which was only every second year on home ice, I’d be there for the token one-game-a-year required of all Edmontonians of even the most modest means in order to maintain citizenship. The Caps were the team I ran the gauntlet with over and over again in NHL09 for PS3, probably the last video game a played with any dedication or joy. I always loved Ovi’s combination of pure talent and vicious physicality, especially since it put him at such odds with the more popular but ultimately soft Sidney Crosby.
In many ways I could care less about hockey, certainly the regular season, but as the Caps took down first the Columbus Blue Jackets, their arch-nemeses, the Pittsburg Penguins, and then the Tampa Bay Lightning, only to find themselves face-to-face with the upstart cinderellas, the Vegas Golden Knights, how could I not pay attention ?i
No one scores goals like him, no one bodychecks like him, no one is more devil may care than him. No one gives less of a fuck about the media circus and more of a fuck about winning than him. No one is less polished and more powerful than him. No one in the last two decades has deserved the Stanley Cup more than Alexander Ovechkin.
So well done, you son of a bitch. It’s yours.
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- Just to make sure I was really paying attention, I put a small wager on the Caps. After all, money talks and bullshit walks. ↩