To properly describe Alex Ovechkin and his career with the Washington Capitals, one must utilize a wide range of adjectives:
Amazing. Shocking. Brilliant. Gravity-defying. Jaw-dropping. Head-scratching.
There is one word, however, that accurately sums up all of those adjectives to fully and completely encapsulate the man known as Alexander the Great:
And now, here are the 25 most ridiculous moments from Alexander Ovechkin's career with the Washington Capitals.
Not all number one draft picks can live up to the hype in their professional debut, but Alex Ovechkin did.
On October 5, 2005, Alex Ovechkin debuted with the Washington Capitals, and gave the organization, its fans and the entire league a taste of the wide array of skills he brings to the hockey rink.
On the very first shift of his NHL career, Alex Ovechkin hit Columbus Blue Jackets defender Radoslav Suchy so hard into the boards that a beam came loose, and the game had to be stopped for a couple minutes to complete repairs. Ovechkin also scored two goals, including a blistering one-timer for his first NHL goal. He became the first Washington Capitals player to score twice in his NHL debut.
Capitals owner Ted Leonsis was immediately impressed, as he told ESPN:
The first check he threw to start the game, I said, 'That's my boy. That's what we want. We want our star players to work hard and be a part of the team. Every time we got down, he answered, and that's what superstars do.
Ovechkin was pleased as well, saying "We win this game, and I scored the goals. And I'm very happy."
Ovi's career was off to a flying start.
Alex Ovechkin is a very emotional person, and he’s no different on the ice.
He has many different variations to his standard goal celebration, which for obvious reasons, he has been able to both perfect and modify over the years.
Ovechkin kisses his ring finger and points to the sky with all goal celebrations, paying tribute to his late brother. For a brief time last season, he did an odd belly pat and rub display.
His most well-known goal celebration, however, is when he slam dances with the Plexiglas after scoring.
Unique? Yes. Ridiculous? No.
But seeing this goal celebration imitated by on-ice enemies Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin is pretty bizarre.
So, Alex Ovechkin scored in his regular season debut. Impressive. But he couldn't possibly score in his postseason debut, could he?
Oh yes he could!
On April 13, 2008, the Washington Capitals were hosting the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. After giving up three second period goals to Philly to fall down 4-2, the Caps had scored two goals of their own in the third and the score was tied with about five minutes remaining.
As Philadelphia attempted to bring the puck out of their zone, Ovechkin poke checked the puck away from one defender, and then stole the puck from a second defender who was attempting to control it. Ovechkin then skated in on goalie Martin Biron and rifled it past him from point blank range.
Ovechkin's first career postseason goal proved to be the game winner.
Alex Ovechkin has a lot of nice toys, including a Porsche Cayenne GTS and a modified BMW M6.
But the crown jewel of his collection is the Mercedez Benz SL65 AMG Black Series (pictured). It costs $250,000, and only 350 were produced worldwide.
When asked how he was able to secure such a coveted piece of machinery, Ovechkin replied, "because I'm Ovie."
HBO's cameras were at Madison Square Garden on December 12, 2010 to cover the Washington Capitals as they played the New York Rangers. The Capitals were participating in the 2011 NHL Winter Classic, so they were being taped as part of HBO's "24/7: Road to the Winter Classic." This meant a little more attention was paid to just another regular season game between two conference rivals.
The Capitals were already trailing 4-0 late in the second period when Ovechkin and a teammate both hit the goalpost on the same shift. The Capitals captain then hip checked old foe Dan Girardi as the Rangers defenseman attempted to clear the zone. The otherwise clean hip check caught Girardi by surprise.
He crumpled to the ice.
Rangers captain Brandon Dubinsky saw the hit, and stared Ovechkin down, expressing his displeasure. Ovechkin immediately dropped his gloves, and the fight was on. It was a pretty good scrap, as Ovechkin acquitted himself well in only his second career fight against a more experienced opponent in Brandon Dubinsky. But the fight was immediately billed as a frustrated Ovechkin taking it out on Girardi, Dubinsky and the Rangers.
It was not until the next episode of HBO's 24/7, which showed Ovechkin skating to the bench and yelling at his teammates, that the hockey world realized Ovechkin was trying to light a spark.
Leading up to the 2010-11 NHL season, Alex Ovechkin began a hilarious ad campaign for skate manufacturer CCM, in which he appeared as a head without a body.
The CGI animators obviously did most of the visual work in this commercial, causing Ovechkin to appear without a head.
But only Alex Ovechkin could supply the megalomaniac laughter.
Alex Ovechkin loves the big stage, and on February 4, 2010, he was back on Broadway, playing the Blue Shirts.
In the dying moments of the second period, Ovechkin got a head man pass from Nicklas Backstrom and streaked down the left wing. He put a sick move on the New York Rangers defender, going between the player's legs to retrieve the puck with his stick, then in his left hand. But he was not able to get his right hand back on his stick, so naturally, he shot the puck one-handed, with his off-hand.
He scored, of course.
That's a pretty sick way to earn point number 500.
Alex Ovechkin caused quite a stir this summer while cheering for serious girlfriend Maria Kirilenko at the 2012 London Olympics, as she competed in both the singles and doubles competitions. When Kirilenko won bronze in the doubles competition, Ovechkin was enthusiastic, to say the least:
Thats my prize for Olympic games...we going back to Moscow. We gonna have a gr8
Ovechkin's typically enthusiastic reaction is not ridiculous. But the thought of him dating the same woman for close to a year is.
One goal may sum up Alex Ovechkin's overall ability on the ice better than any other—and it didn't even count.
The Washington Capitals were playing the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal on February 10, 2010. In the second period, Mike Knuble had a shot saved by Carey Price on an odd-man rush. Montreal defender Hal Gill entered the area in an attempt to protect the puck as it was secured by Price.
Before Price could do so, however, Alex Ovechkin came roaring in like a cruise missile and destroyed Hal Gill, causing the 6'7" 241-pound Gill to crumble to the ice. Ovechkin hit him with such force that Gill and the puck went crashing into Price, and all three went into the net. The play was called a goal on the ice, but was later overturned.
TSN color analyst Pierre McGuire said Ovechkin was "an android, he's not human", and described the collision as "a nuclear eruption."
In January 2011, ESPN released another one of their wildly popular "This is Sportscenter" advertisements, finally getting Alex Ovechkin in on the shenanigans.
Now, the most ridiculous part of this commercial is not that Ovechkin's then-teammate Semyon Varlamov was hiding in the ceiling, or that Ovechkin was hoisted up into the ceiling on a remote control winch.
The most ridiculous part of this commercial is that the Cold War has been over for 20 years, and so the premise of the ad is mildly offensive.
On January 12, 2010, the Washington Capitals played division rivals Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa. Late in the third period of a blowout loss to the Bolts, Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay forward Steve Downie went to the penalty box for matching minors after a heated exchange. When they exited the sin bin, neither wanted to let the incident die, and quickly reconvened. Words were exchanged, and both agreed to settle the dispute with their fists.
At the time, Alex Ovechkin had only one career fight in his fifth NHL season, compared to 16 for Steve Downie in only his third NHL season. But more importantly, Ovechkin was the team captain, and had just earned the title less than a week earlier.
Capitals enforcer Matt Bradley was well aware of both facts, and came screaming in from the Washington bench to engage Downie, despite the fact that his actions could earn him a "third man in" penalty, based on the NHL rules for fighting.
Due to the long distance Bradley traveled to engage Downie and the fact that Downie and Ovechkin had not yet thrown any punches, Matt Bradley's fight with Steve Downie earned him an instigator penalty.
The most ridiculous part of this donnybrook may have been hearing the Tampa Bay TV announcer claim that "Ovechkin didn't answer the bell." Matt Bradley never gave him a chance.
Alex Ovechkin has had some memorable battles with bruising defenders throughout the NHL, giving as good as he gets with the likes of Zdeno Chara, Brooks Orpik and PK Subban, to name three.
But one such confrontation that was particularly memorable came during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in Boston.
Bruins defender Dennis Seidenberg measures only 6'1", 201 pounds, but packs quite a wallop, and loves getting physical with opponents. He looked to do just that during the second period, as Ovechkin attempted to enter the Boston zone. Ovechkin saw him at the last second and counter-checked Seidenberg. The result was an impact of a seismic scale, as Seidenberg went flying to the ice and Ovechkin went crashing into the boards behind him.
Helmets were loosened. Teeth were rattled. Fans were delighted.
One goal celebration in particular got Alex Ovechkin into some pretty hot water.
At the end of the 2008-2009 season, Ovechkin was nearing 50 goals, a significant milestone despite having achieved it twice already. On March in Tampa Bay, Ovechkin achieved the milestone, but then quickly achieved a new low by placing his stick on the ice and acting like it was too hot to handle.
Needless to say, this did not go over too well with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Washington Capitals or the hockey community in general.
Ovechkin had a sit-down with coach Bruce Boudreau over the incident, and was forced to issue an apology. Meanwhile, his celebration was drawing heat around the hockey world.
But despite threats to do so, the Tampa Bay Lightning never sought revenge for the display, whether coached by Rick Tocchet at the time, or subsequently by Guy Boucher.
Very few hockey players are involved in a play so memorable that it's known by a single name. Alex Ovechkin has two such plays in his career.
On February 18, 2009, the Washington Capitals were playing the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center. During a bad Montreal line change in the first period, Ovechkin passed the puck to himself, and then did a spin move around future teammate Roman Hamrlik to beat him to the puck.
He then raced in on Carey Price, before he was upended by another Canadiens defender. While seated, Ovechkin somehow got a shot off against Price before crashing into the Montreal goalie and his net. The puck went in the net and this time, the goal counted.
Comcast Sportsnet play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati described the play as "absolutely brilliant."
Alex Ovechkin makes the most of his time in the spotlight.
Rarely was that more evident than during the Honda Skills Challenge at the 2009 All-Star Game in Montreal.
During the breakaway challenge, Ovechkin donned a floppy hat outfitted with a small Canadian flag, while wearing a pair of garish sunglasses and using two hockey sticks.
Don't even bother asking me if he scored.
You should know better.
As we've already seen on this list, Alex Ovechkin has never been happy to simply reach a specific career milestone: he has to do it in style.
His first career playoff hat trick was no different. It came in Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals against Washington's bitter rival of countless playoff series, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
All three goals were impressive. Plus, they came in front of the home crowd. And, the last of them proved to be the game winner.
But the icing on the cake for Ovechkin—and for the delirious Verizon Center crowd—was that Ovechkin's hat trick outshone another hat trick by the arch villain himself, Sidney Crosby. Ironically, it was Crosby's actions that made this moment truly ridiculous.
The Penguins captain had the temerity to object to the referee about the hats on the ice (5:00 mark of the video). The hockey world would never have known what Crosby said had he not discussed the private conversation in the postgame press conference.
After all, he acts like the NHL is a demolition derby on skates.
But the ridiculous part is that Alex Ovechkin now has a prior history, which will follow him for the rest of his NHL career.
If he does not change his style of play, he may continue to get suspended, thus hurting his team in the process.
If he does change his style of play, it may affect other aspects of his game, thus hurting his team in the process.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
After being suspended for his hit on Zbynek Michalek, Alex Ovechkin decided to skip the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. He explained his reasoning to Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times:
My heart is not there. I [got] suspended, so why I have to go there? I love the game; it's great event. I'd love to be there, but I'm suspended. I don't want to be a target. I feel I'm not deserving to be there right now. If I suspended, I have to be suspended. That's why I give up my roster [spot].
Although one could understand Alex Ovechkin for not wanting to be a negative distraction at such a festive event, he still received harsh criticism from around the NHL.
Players knew the All-Star Game was not the same without him.
Due to the NHL lockout of 2004-05, Alex Ovechkin, who was the number one overall pick of the 2004 NHL Draft, had his rookie season delayed until 2005-06. Thus, he shared it with Sidney Crosby, the number one overall pick of the 2005 NHL Draft. And so the rivalry—both real and manufactured—was born.
These two singular talents also happen to be polar opposites, and the NHL and its advertisers noticed right away. Alex Ovechkin is a flamboyant rebel from Russia; Sidney Crosby is a conservative company man from Canada. These differences continue to be highlighted and emphasized.
But this rivalry has genuine elements as well.
The two put on a postseason show for the ages with their dueling hat tricks in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which was spoiled by Crosby complaining about the hats being thrown on the ice. And earlier that season, there was an on-ice tussle during a February 22 game at Verizon Center (see video). After the game Ovechkin said this about Crosby: "He's good, but he talks too much."
Perhaps this soap opera should be called "The Young and the Classless."
Alex Ovechkin has a bad reputation in some corners of the hockey world. That is to be expected with a player of his profile.
But the Pittsburgh City Paper took this perception to a new low leading up to the 2011 NHL Winter Classic in Pittsburgh (see picture).
To further a theme of this list, this particular incident was made more ridiculous by the role or influence of one Sidney Crosby.
In May 2012, the Washington Capitals and their fans were already dealing with the heartbreaking seven-game loss to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Then, there was the news that head coach Dale Hunter would be leaving the team, having only joined the team in that capacity in November of the previous calendar year.
But Alex Ovechkin had one more shocker for them.
On locker room clean-out day, Ovechkin revealed to Katie Carrera of The Washington Post that, contrary to previously held opinions, the Capitals locker room may have had some chemistry issues after all:
I don’t know who’s going to be the coach next year but the leaders in this group have to be together and don’t look, you know. I don’t know how to explain better, but sometimes you don’t have to be jealous….I don’t want to say it was a jealous situation for us, but sometimes you just have to be a group together. I don’t want to say persons, I don’t want to say situations, but sometimes you just know like, some guys, if you didn’t play well they just look at you like, you know. Of course, you can see it, I can see it and somebody else gonna see it and it’s not the way we gonna win the game.
The captain of the team is the last person who should have dropped a bomb like this.
Alex Ovechkin may not have gotten Bruce Boudreau fired during the 2011-12 season, but his display on camera on November 2 certainly put Gabby on the hot seat.
In the closing moments of regulation, with his team trailing, Boudreau decided that his captain and leading scorer did not give him the best chance to tie the game. He was correct, as Nicklas Backstrom tied the score.
Boudreau's instincts were also correct later in the game, as Ovechkin was on the ice for the game-winning goal in overtime.
But Ovechkin did not think much of Boudreau's coaching acumen at the time he was benched, and said as much under his breath—with the cameras rolling, of course.
Again, notice the large letter "C" on Ovechkin's sweater.
This was the first of Alex Ovechkin's career tallies that was simply known as "The Goal".
On January 15, 2006, during his rookie season, Ovechkin started a breakaway against the Phoenix Coyotes in the third period of a game played in Phoenix. Ovechkin carried the puck past the defender but could not quite get clear of him, and was knocked to the ice as he skated on goal. But the puck stayed near him, and as he slid on his chest away from the goal, he used his stick to hook the puck behind him, and it somehow found the corner of the net.
The Phoenix Coyotes head coach at the time—none other than the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky—found himself staring in disbelief at the replay.
Alex Ovechkin makes a ridiculous amount of money, plain and simple.
The contract he signed on January 13, 2008 was worth $124 million over 13 years. At the time, it was the only contract in NHL history with a total value greater than $100 million.
Ovechkin's contract is to pay him $9 million for each of the first six years of the contract and $10 million for each of the final seven years of the deal.
He can buy a lot of sports cars with all that money.
Several salvos have been fired by both sides of the NHL labor negotiations since September 4. But Alex Ovechkin dropped the first bomb of the increasingly destructive dispute when that day he told Katie Carrera of The Washington Post that if contracts were cut by the NHL, he may not return to the league:
I think it’s not fair for us. Why they sign us to long-term deals and that kind of money, too, after that, when the CBA is done they want to cut our salary? Why they want to cut 24 [percent]? Why don’t they want to cut 100 percent our salary?
And that's when things became utterly ridiculous.
For the upcoming season, Ovechkin would have made $9 million. Now, let's assume Ovechkin had stayed in the NHL even with the proposed salary cuts he mentioned. A 24% reduction means Alex Ovechkin would earn $6.84 million. Now to be fair, that is a steep cut to one's salary.
But for some reason, Ovechkin became so upset with the impending cuts that he took an even steeper salary cut to play in the KHL. Dynamo Moscow is reportedly paying Ovechkin only $5.7 million per season.
Sometimes I can't make dollars or sense out of Alexander Ovechkin.