Today on the second installment of "The Hockey Voice," we take an up-close look at why Alex Ovechkin deserves all the criticism he’s been receiving from the media lately, why Corey Perry deserves to receive a lengthy suspension from Brendan Shanahan for the late head shot he delivered Tuesday night and the amazing shootout attempt by Ottawa's Kaspars Daugavins on Monday against the Bruins.
Remember, this is also a place to share your views of the biggest issues and news items facing the NHL today. Feel free to comment and join the conversation.
It seems that everybody's "picking" on Alex Ovechkin these days. You can't watch a nationally televised NHL broadcast anymore without somebody taking a shot at the Caps captain and pointing out what he's not doing right or, more importantly, what he's doing wrong.
The parade of critics includes Pierre McGuire, Ray Ferraro and Mike Milbury and that's just the short list.
But let's face it, "The Great Eight" isn't so great these days. He's just not doing the little things that you expect a superstar (let alone a captain who is supposed to be a leader) to do. He's supposed to lead by example but right now he's just not doing the job.
Watching Ovi allow a Rangers player to skate past him without checking him or slowing him down in any way was just one of many examples. It led directly to a goal and a Washington loss.
So now Caps coach Adam Oates is defending his star player, saying among other things that, "I don't like when ex-players talk about players," and saying the media, "focuses on the mistakes" that Ovi makes.
Well, guess what? That's the media's job. To analyze the game and break it down so fans can understand the good plays and mistakes that players make during a game. It's also to help point out to fans what they don't necessarily pick up on while watching the game.
The same way it's Oates' job to protect his star player when the media is critical of him.
But here's the biggest enemy Alex Ovechkin is facing: Alex Ovechkin.
Ovechkin has nine goals and 20 points in 24 games, not horrible numbers but nowhere near the Alex Ovechkin that dominated the league for the first five or six years of his career.
That Alex Ovechkin played the game with unabashed enthusiasm and reckless abandon, throwing body checks as often as he scored goals. The Alex Ovechkin on the ice today is just a shell of his former self.
The media isn't creating the problem, they are merely pointing it out. If Adam Oates wants to get to the root of the problem, he doesn't need Ovechkin to watch TV or read the newspapers. He needs him to look in the mirror and find the fire that used to burn within him and made him a special player.
It's not too late for that to happen, but if Oates and the Capitals are going to make the playoffs this season, it better happen soon.
Most pro sports leagues are criticized for giving star players preferential treatment. I mean, did Wilt Chamberlain really never commit six fouls in an NBA game?
That being said, when they violate the rules and commit a more serious violation that should result in a suspension, star players should be treated the same as anybody else.
Tuesday night, Anaheim's Corey Perry delivered a late hit to the head of Minnesota's Jason Zucker. The video of the hit is shown above.
Perry received a five-minute major penalty for interference and a game misconduct after the play.
The big question is going to be intent. It is clear that contact was made to Zucker's head, but was that what Perry intended?
The hit was clearly late and even though Zucker was admiring his pass on this play, Perry should have been able to let up a bit and did not need to leave his skates and launch himself into Zucker the way he did.
Perry is a repeat offender, although it happened a long time ago. The Ducks star was suspended for four games in January of 2009 for elbowing Claude Giroux.
Brendan Shanahan should give Perry at least three or four games for this hit. Will Perry get preferential treatment because he's a star? Shea Weber of Nashville seemed to get some when he wasn't suspended in last year's playoffs against Detroit. Let's hope Shanny treats Perry fairly in this case and doesn't let him walk because he's a goal scorer and not a grinder.
I have to give credit to Ottawa's Kaspars Daugavins for his original shootout attempt Monday night against the Bruins.
Daugavins put his stick down on top of the puck and controlled it along the ice before trying to beat Boston's Tuukka Rask on a Spin-O-Rama. Rask made a skate save on the play.
Hey, why not try something different? The element of surprise often works in the NHL. In fact, Daugavins actually tried a similar move in the AHL earlier in his career, and he scored on it there.
Critics can say he shouldn't be taking chances like that during a game that counts in the standings, but why not be bold? If he did the same exact thing and it worked, the same media members who criticized Daugavins would have been singing his praises.
Hey, it's interesting, original and entertaining. What's not to like?