Sportsnet has a debate segment on its NHL coverage called “To The Point” in which Nick Kypreos and Glenn Healy argue different perspectives on hockey’s most pressing issues. Or if they run out of them, “Is Alex Ovechkin coachable?”
That was the topic on Wednesday night* during the Washington Capitals’ game at the Edmonton Oilers, one of the few games this season in which Ovechkin went scoreless.
Kypreos took the “I believe in Ovie” side, although he said Ovechkin is “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” and said it’s “his last chance to prove he’s not a coach killer.” Which sounds really ominous, until you consider that it doesn’t really mean anything except that he’ll get another coach or two or 10 before his contract runs out.
Healy attempted to make that point, although it was like giving a filet mignon to a hot dog vendor to cook. Here’s Healy on Ovechkin’s coachability:
“He is NOT coachable. Here’s the number that matters to me: $124 million that goes to 2021. The only one that’s got a longer deal than that is Rogers, OK?
"Last year, 51 goals, minus-35. He didn’t listen to Hanlon. He didn’t listen to Boudreau. Hunter, Oates, Trotz … this same owner fired all those five guys, and there are three more that are going to get fired before it’s over.”
So we have the following points:
1. Ovechkin has a really long contract worth a lot of money, and that may have affected everything from his coachability to his maturation as a complete player. This is actually a sound, reasonable argument that we’ve debated before here.
Of course, it was Ted Leonsis that gave him that contract with that wage at that age, but yeah, totally Ovechkin’s fault.
2. Fifty-one apparently isn’t greater than minus-35.
3. Where the hell did this idea come from that he didn’t listen to Hunter or Oates? He modulated his game to the detriment of his offense under Hunter; did Healy really miss all the “OVECHKIN BLOCKING SHOTS OMG” stories from the postseason under Hunter?
And under Oates, all Ovechkin did was play on a different wing than he’s played his entire NHL career. Also: He loved Oates, because he found his offensive mojo under Oates. Alex Ovechkin is not the reason Adam Oates was fired.
4. Apparently, if he's fired all five of Ovechkin's coaches, Leonsis already fired Trotz. Or Healy sucks at math. One of the two.
He wasn’t finished with Ovechkin. Or his agent. From Healy:
“You know what? Call his agent. Get his agent to talk some sense into him.
“IT’S HIS MOM! HIS MOM’S HIS AGENT! No chance.”
A LADY DOING HOCKEY THINGS THAT INVOLVE, GULP, CONTRACTS? AND SHE’S, GULP, RUSSIAN!?!?
Now, you might be wondering why Ovechkin being repped by his mother has to do with any of this. Or if anyone representing Alex Ovechkin, man or woman, would tell him anything other than, “Hey, we have endorsement deals from here to Omsk and none of them care about your minus-35, so keep hitting 51.”
The answer is that it has nothing to do with any of this outside of the speaker being Glenn Healy.
Healy is an NHLPA guy, to the point where he briefly worked for them. The NHLPA, for those that don’t know, is an organization run by several player agents who allow their clients to occasionally attend meetings and pretend they have a voice on collective bargaining matters.
Just spit-ballin’ here, but I imagin a hardened union guy like Healy, who has worked with many a powerful player agent over the years, can be none too pleased that the second most marketable player in the world didn’t play ball with the old boys network, and opted to keep his representation in the family.
But hey, that’s just a theory. Just like Ted Leonsis already fired Barry Trotz is a theory.
(* TSN allowed U.S. fans to view its video content. Rogers does not. I had to use some plug-in that plugged into another thing to watch this thing. That's a long way to go for forced banter.)
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