NHL Superskills: Alex Ovechkin the Cowboy?

Matt EichelSenior Writer IJanuary 25, 2009

Did my eyes deceive me or did I see Alex Ovechkin try to pull off his best John Wayne impression at the NHL Superskills Competition in Montreal Saturday night?

Wait, he's Russian. So what's John Wayne in Russian?

It will probably be spelt Alex Ovechkin after that display.

This kid can play and he loves to play. He truly is one of the best the game of hockey has to offer.

He displayed such exuberance when he took to the ice as the last shooter in the Breakaway Competition by pumping his arms up and down trying to get the Bell Centre faithful up and on their feet cheering.

When's the last time a player smiled this much while playing the game he loves?

As spelt out in Jill T's slideshow about Ovechkin, there is so much passion inside the 6'0"-plus frame of the famed Russian.

"Hockey is my life, you know. If I do not play hockey, I do not know what I do."

Never did we see Wayne Gretzky try and pump the crowd up and get them in game. Never did Mario Lemieux or Mark Messier get excited after scoring every one of their goals during their illustrious careers.

Yet here is a player, a young player at that, who loves to score, loves to win, and loves to play at the best level with a great team chemistry.

He's got that in Washington.

But what a display in Montreal!

Two sticks? Sunglasses? And Gatorade fed to him by fellow Russian and sometimes heated rival Evgeni Malkin?

What's the deal?

There is no deal.

There is simply a boy turned into a man who loves to play hockey.

Oh, and have fun while doing it.

The NHL needs more Alex Ovechkin's.

Matt Eichel is the Community Leader for the Montreal Canadiens here on Bleacher Report.  Matt also co-hosts Habs All Out Radio, a in-depth talk radio show devoted to all things Montreal Canadiens.  It airs weekly at www.youcastr.com/shows/habs-all-out and is hosted by Matt and Miah D.