February 25, 2010
It's been a rough past 24 hours for Alexander Ovechkin and the rest of his Russian teammates. With high expectations for their team, Russia's performance last night in their 7-3 loss to Canada was a shock to the entire hockey world. The thought of possibly defending a goal medal in Sochi come 2014 was something that each Russian player and fan wanted to see happen.
One small side story to the Russian team this entire Olympics has been their lack of access to the press, outside of Olympic rights holders and members of the Russian media. ESPN's Pierre LeBrun pointed out this morning that access to the Russian team was tough to come by with few players, not including Alex Ovechkin, willing to speak to the press after games:
"Wednesday's elimination also ends a controversial Olympics for Ovechkin, who -- for reasons that remain unclear -- decided to clam up with the media in Vancouver and rarely granted interviews. For a guy who is so publicly imploring the NHL to send its players to Sochi in 2014, his behavior here with the media and his decision not to help showcase these Olympics are mind-boggling to say the least.
Once again Wednesday night, he answered just a few questions for TV rights holders and Russian media and just two questions for the wire news services before blowing off the media at large. Twice. No matter how you spin it, it's unacceptable for a player of his stature not to fulfill his obligations as a spokesman for the game.
When asked by a news agency reporter whether he was disappointed with Wednesday's outcome, Ovechkin said, "What do you think? I'm disappointed." He then walked away."
Ovechkin is obviously very much upset at Russia finishing sixth in the tournament after all the expectations and he being the leader of the team. So much so that from Deadspin this evening comes video of Ovechkin taking his frustrations out on a fan filming him outside of Russia House in Vancouver:
That's definitely not the normal, fun-loving, toothless-smiling Ovechkin we're used to seeing. While it's not appropriate behavior for an NHL captain and one of the globe's best players to be caught on video doing, it just shows how hard he took the loss and how much of a disappointment it is for Russia to be going home without a medal.