Early in Alex Ovechkin’s career, the national media was critical of the Capitals captain for several moments of, what I’m going to call, defensive give-up-ness.
Twice, Ovi’s supposed selfishness was seized upon by national media and overblown by certain analysts as he was caught on replays gliding back on an opponent’s breakaway and showing no effort backchecking on an obvious two-on-one goal.
Fans responded to the highlights by applying the “controller disconnected” meme to them. (Video game controllers are wireless so this replicates the experience of the battery dying randomly during gameplay.)
Nearly a decade later though, after Ovechkin has won a Stanley Cup and is nearing Wayne Gretzky’s goals record, the meme is being applied to Ovi in a more friendly and respectful way.
For instance, during Ovechkin’s 812th career goal, he stood motionless for approximately 10 seconds in the left circle waiting for a one-timer to develop. Once it did, he came back to life and scored instantly on Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith.
Alex Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer of all-time*
*moving not included 😂 pic.twitter.com/ns8CePDdZQ
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) January 27, 2023
Nasher, a gamer who collaborates with the NHL, acted out the play in a video.
Ovi tries playing NHL 23… pic.twitter.com/oczs4SPQ97
— Nasher (@TheNasher61) January 27, 2023
Of course, what really is happening here is that Ovechkin, who is the NHL’s all-time record holder in PPGs, is conserving his energy because he usually stays out on the ice for entire power plays.
To me, the new controller disconnected treatment just shows how much Ovechkin’s consistent play and his accomplishments on the ice has worn down (and even outlived) his most ardent haters in hockey media.
His career has truly been a journey and this is more evidence of it.
Now here’s a fun montage of other NHL “controller disconnected” moments.
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