Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
After a misstep on Long Island, the Washington Capitals hoped to regain their footing while hosting the New York Rangers on Sunday. After a quick start, the Caps lost control of the game. A snazzy goal by Steve Oleksy in the first period gave the Caps the lead, but the Rangers retaliated with four goals– two of them scored after penalties by Alex Ovechkin. Holtby was chased from the net, and the Caps never really mounted a palpable comeback.
Rangers beat Caps 4-1.
Dammit, world. Stop making me defend Alex Ovechkin. I am NOT happy with his play either. Still, there are good ways and bad ways to have this conversation.
For example, if your argument includes the phrases “like a man” or “European-style”, you may benefit from some inward reflection before you turn your gaze out. If your point alternates between demanding that Ovechkin become a pure goal scorer and becoming a two-way forward, there may possibly be some coherence problems. And if your point is just an excuse to advance your own Q-rating or get some ad impressions, you are probably not intellectually honest.
But if you are prepared to acknowledge the inevitable decline that comes with age while leveling criticism at Alex’s backchecking speed, have at it. If you are cognizant of the lower level of talent skating with Alex since 2010 while you question the merit in him handling the puck so much at neutral ice, now we’re on to something. That’s how we’ll have a good discussion– by understanding and internalizing the opposition’s points while refining our own.
Alright, I’m off the soapbox. I am burning the soapbox along with the game tape. This game — this whole weekend– was a stinker, but it’s over now.
This coming week will be the most important of the Capitals season. A home-and-home series with the Carolina Hurricanes could launch them closer to the division leader, or it could put the division title safely out of reach.
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