With Alexander Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals in Toronto to face-off against the Leafs tonight at the ACC, one might think that this may heat up the feud that is ongoing between the Russian superstar and Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry.
Ovechkin, having recently scored his 50th goal of the season, has been taking some heat over his celebration for said goal, where he put his stick on the ice, and made hand motions over top indicating that his stick was 'too hot' to pick up.
This event only added to a discussion that has been ongoing over the past month between Cherry and Ron MacLean on Coach's Corner.
For Cherry, he believes that goal celebrations should not be as exuberant as those performed by Ovechkin after most of goals.
Whether it be jumping into the glass at top speed, or flying across the ice on one skate with your arms flailing behind him, Ovechkin has made a name for himself with these type of antics. However, Cherry feels that these type of celebrations do not belong in hockey at all.
In fact, Cherry believes that these celebrations show that Alex the Great does not respect the other team, his own teammates, or the game of hockey itself. Ovechkin has been quick to dismiss Cherry and his claims.
"Everybody right now doesn't like my celebration when I score a goal and jump to the glass or do something like that. But I only do something now. It's just my thing. I was just happy that I scored 50 goals."
As for the issue of respect, Ovechkin doesn't feel as though he is doing anything wrong, and that he is just having fun out there.
"I respect everybody. I don't want to show bad things. I show my thing. It was not disrespect."
I think that this whole series of events has been completely blown out of proportion. Alex Ovechkin brings passion to the game of hockey, passion that I think has been lost by many players in this new NHL.
Should we really be condemning a man because he loves to play the game? Of course not. Ovechkin jumps to the glass after a goal because he is genuinely thrilled that he just scored a goal. He doesn't do it out of disrespect. I mean look at his face after a goal, the young man couldn't be happier.
Alex Ovechkin loves the game of hockey, and he loves the NHL. For me, it makes me smile every time I see one of his celebrations, and hockey in general needs more characters like Alexander the Great.
In a lot of markets throughout the U.S. teams are struggling to fill arenas. Washington was one of those markets before Ovechkin arrived. Now they have a lot more fans in the seats each night.
It's because they love watching a young man play his heart out for the game he loves, and he has fun doing it.
Their should be more Ovechkin-like goal celebrations throughout the league, it would make hockey much more fun to watch for those that normally wouldn't.
I know when I watch the Capitals take on the Leafs tonight, even though I will be cheering for the Boys in Blue, if Ovechkin scores a goal, I'll be clapping when he jumps into the glass to celebrate.