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In Wilbon's World

When Caps and Pens meet, it's not just another game

Alex Ovechkin said before Wednesday night's Penguins-Capitals game that it was just another game, as in nothing special. Same as a game with the Hurricanes or Panthers or Blue Jackets. Of course, it wasn't. And it had better not be, not as long as the Penguins are a direct threat and not as long as Sidney Crosby wears that black, gold and white sweater with a Penguin on it. Of course, it wasn't just another game. At the very least it felt like a Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Penguins-Capitals, even their third matchup of the regular season played in March, is no more "another game" than it was just "another game" when Magic played Bird in the regular season. Ovechkin and Crosby are the NHL's fledgling version of that. Their battles are probably the best thing the league has. The playoffs needs Ovechkin vs. Crosby again this spring. And Ovechkin (sorry, angry Capitals fans, most of whom are in denial) needs to win.

You can have all the individual hardware you want, all the MVPs, all the scoring championships. None of it means anything if you're losing to your rival when it counts, which is whenever a championship is on the line. If you're dumb enough to think otherwise, watch the HBO special on Bird and Magic that's airing these days; it's one of the best sports docs ever produced. And in it, you can see the pain on Larry Bird's face, hear it in his voice 30 years after losing to Magic in the NCAA championship game, even though Bird went on to win three NBA championships and had one of the greatest careers in the history of pro basketball. It still kills him that he lost a couple of championships to Magic. And it should rankle Ovechkin that Crosby is up 3-0 on him in championships (World Championship, Stanley Cup title, 2010 Olympic tournament). Surely, he doesn't want it to become 4-0.

Is this a harsh way to decide a player's ultimate value historically? Yes. As they say, it is what it is. I heard some fans at Verizon Center on Wednesday night say, "The Penguins have to go through us [the Caps] to win the Cup." No, the Capitals have to go through the Penguins, who already have the Cup. If this were sailing, it would be called the "Penguins Cup," because ownership is everything. The Capitals have the best record in the league and will have home-ice advantage again, if and when they play the Penguins. And taking three straight games from the Penguins should only help the Capitals' confidence if and when they meet in the postseason. And any/all advantages, real or perceived, should help Washington in a playoff series against a Pittsburgh franchise which has owned the Capitals in the playoffs. And that, not reputation or perception, is all that counts in professional sports.

By

Michael Wilbon

 |  March 25, 2010; 6:47 PM ET  |  Category:  Alexander Ovechkin , Capitals , NHL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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How's that for you Wilbon. Caps 6 Pens 3. Ovie 2 goals, Crosby 1 goal. You can leave Washington forever now, we don't want you here anymore (We never did).

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | April 7, 2010 1:26 AM
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The Senators aren't good, don't worry about them. Seriously Wilbon, when did you start writing about hockey? Reading Mike Wise is bad enough in this paper, now we have a novice spouting out talking points. And this is coming from a Pens fan!

Posted by: GoPens | April 4, 2010 12:38 PM
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You Caps fans will be disappointed again this year - but the reason is you will win the Cup without beating the Pens in the playoffs. The Pens are not going to advance far enough to meet the Caps. I would be very concerned about the Senators this year in the East if I were a Caps fan.

Posted by: pensfan57 | April 2, 2010 8:50 AM
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Wilbon, you really should check your facts before you submit an article. You're wrong on at least 2 accounts.

1) Ovechkin won the 2008 IIHF World Championship playing for Team Russia. His line (Ovi-Fedorov-Semin) was the dominant line in the tournament.
2) Crosby has never won the IIHF World Championship title with Canada. He instead won the IIHF _Junior_ World Championship playing with the junior team. And that, my bandwagon-riding-friend, is not the same thing at all. Juniors don't count.

So it's Crosby 2, Ovechkin 1. So far. This rivalry is a long way from over. Ovechkin will get 2 more cracks at Olympic gold, and the Caps look poised to be a leading threat to win a Cup over the next several years. Crosby's lead is tenuous at best.

PS- The next two Winter Olympics aren't likely to be on the smaller, NHL sized ice. And definitely not in Canada either, so Team Canada will once again be playing outside it's comfort zone. And we've seen how well they do when the games aren't in Canada. I'll say it again, Crosby's lead is tenuous.

Posted by: Hordedog | March 27, 2010 2:07 PM
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Seriously Mike, do you give a rats behind about Hockey? Did you lose a bet and have to write something about the Capitals?

Posted by: bottlerocket | March 27, 2010 12:58 AM
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PrinceBuster21:

you sound like Mike Wise, you should quit acting high and mighty. 32 years as a Washingtonian, that's great. if you're not a hockey fan, why are you reading this article? Maybe because you're actually Mike Wise looking to see what people say to Wilbon's article since you're still upset about something about a winning streak. crybaby.

Posted by: 50Eagle | March 26, 2010 4:54 PM
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Stick to basketball Wilbon.

Posted by: jwh37 | March 26, 2010 4:35 PM
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Should the Caps even want to meet the Pens in the playoffs? http://dneckel.blogspot.com/

Posted by: klofton798 | March 26, 2010 2:37 PM
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I say this with all due respect...and as a Washingtonian of 32 years:

CAPS FANS ARE SOME WHINY B!TCHES. You'd think Wilbon smacked your grandma the way some of you are acting.

Most of you are a bunch of frontrunners anyway. You weren't (or wouldn't have been) around when times were tough, and won't be if we suck again in the future.

Get that 10 pound chip of your shoulders.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | March 26, 2010 1:36 PM
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Wilbon raises a number of interesting points. (1) For Ovechkin, Wednesday's game was "just another game." On the one hand, Wilbon is right - it's not just another game. It's a game against Crosby, the reigning Stanley Cup champs, and arguably their most bitter rival. On the other, if you're focused on winning the Cup, why wouldn't this be just another game? Didn't the Caps take 7 out of a possible 8 points in last year's regular season series; yet lost to the Pens in the playoffs? So what's the third regular season game between the Caps and the Pens? Just another game. (2) "You can have all the individual hardware you want . . . . None of it means anything if you're losing to your rival when it counts, which is whenever a championship is on the line." For Wilbon, this is the measure of a player's ultimate value. I disagree. If presented with a choice of who was a better player - Russell or Chamberlain - how many would choose Russell? Hard to say, but I don't see Russell as a consensus pick. (3) And unlike Wilbon, I think that Crosby winning a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold does "rankle" Ovechkin. He doesn't seem as pre-occupied with scoring as he did before the Olympics. Ovechkin has 9 points in 10 games since the Olympics, or less than a point per game. In 54 games prior to the Olympics, he had 89 points, or about 1.6 points per game. If anything, it seems like Ovechkin came away from the Olympics with a different focus - with a different set of priorities. If the Caps play the Pens in the playoffs, don't be surprised if we see a never before seen Ovechkin - someone no longer concerned with outpointing Crosby as with outwilling him and the entire Penguins team. I don't know who will win if they meet, but I feel confident that if they do, each game will not just be another game for Ovechkin.

Posted by: 4thand1 | March 26, 2010 1:26 PM
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The IIHF World Championships are only for the players whose teams are finished for the year, so the better the club the less of their players you will see - that is why these teams are always full of Islanders, Oilers, Maple Leafs, and Lightnings. As for Wilbon, if you really want him fired stop responding to his posts, the more controversy he stirs up the less likely he will be removed; and by the way he is one of the best in the business. Finally, he is right about the Stanley Cup. Unlike MLB and the NFL it is super easy to get in the playoffs in the NHL (and NBA) so the real measure of how good a team is comes down to Cups. The Caps MUST win one with Ovie to solidify his legacy, Wilbon knows it, Boudreau knows it, and belive me, Ovie knows it better than any of them.

Posted by: np2131 | March 26, 2010 1:20 PM
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"If the Caps were in the West, they would be a middle of the pack team."

Dominic: this part of your otherwise idiotic post was the MOST idiotic.

The Caps 3-1-2 against the WC Central, 3-1-0 against the Northwest, 3-2-1 against the Pacific.

Middle of the pack, my arse.

They are also 13-3-3 against the EC Atlantic, 10-4-3 against the Northeast.

So much for overinflated win totals. I will be waiting for you to return here in June to eat crow. /sarcasm

Posted by: Chase4 | March 26, 2010 12:50 PM
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I love when a know nothing like Wilbon spouts off about hockey. Stick to the NBA, jack.

Posted by: poguesmahone | March 26, 2010 12:29 PM
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dominic10464, either you're $hitsburgh fan or Wilbon's twin

Posted by: admir81 | March 26, 2010 12:27 PM
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Caps fans are so funny. Biggest whiners I have ever seen in Washington sports history.

Face the facts, your team in the Phoenix Suns of the NHL. Have the MVP of the league on the team, win a ton of regular season games, scored a ton, play no defense, and never win a championship.

18-3-2

That is the Caps record against the worst division in hockey. Add in 6 more games against the Leafs and Islanders and you have the most inflated W/L record in the NHL. If the Caps were in the West, they would be a middle of the pack team.

All the Caps fans are really setting themselves up for severe disappointment in June. Enjoy the fantasy ride of being the best team in the NHL while it lasts.

Also, Wilbon's last article that all you Caps fans cried about was vindicated by Ovie's recent suspension. Quit crying and get out of your box Caps fans.

Posted by: dominic10464 | March 26, 2010 11:57 AM
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Spoken like someone who knows jack about hockey! You can't even keep your references within the realm of hockey. Who the fcuk cares about basketball circa 110 BC!

If you get that basketball out your a** you may have noticed that Cindy Crosby doesn't do so well without certain players by his side (ehem Malkin). Despite everyone's balking about Ovie's aggressive style of play, Cindy leads the NHL in stick penalties and those are the ones that get called. There was more slashing by the Pens in Wednesday's game than a horror movie. Additionally, bad Ref-ing and two power plays is why the Pens advanced to an OT Wed night, not good playing. Mangina Crosby didn't have a single assist, let alone a goal.

There is much ado about Ovie because he is, singularly, a phenomenal hockey player unto himself. The Capitals as a team have been a work in progress since after the 2004-05 lock out. The progress they have made as a team is unmatched in the NHL. They have flown up the standings since 2006 and they are consistant. Pens were good last year but they didn't earn the cup. They lucked out.

Pittsburgh has had a hockey team in one form or another since 1920. Washington established their first hockey team in 1974. I'll take our 35 year rise to their palsey showing for almost 100 years. And... when we do EARN the Stanley Cup... after taking ALL the prizes this year, Division, Conference, and League President's Cup. We can finally give everyone a nice cup of shut the fcuk up for breakfast.

Read a freakin book about hockey before you talk about Ovie v. Cindy or the Caps v. Pens!

Jeez.

Posted by: etriscari | March 26, 2010 11:48 AM
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I've been a loyal Caps' fan for 35 years - but no matter what happens in the regular season, pens' fans will always be able to say: "we have 3 cups and have owned you in the post season." the ONLY way to diminish that noise, is to win a cup...but then they will still lead us 3-1.

Posted by: dingram3 | March 26, 2010 11:46 AM
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Uh.... Wilboob. How many players on a basketball team and how many players on a hockey team. Ovechkin is winning all the player competitions and Crosby is winning all the team competitions. Unless Ovechkin becomes the GM and Crosby becomes the GM you cannot use team stats to compare them as players. Ovechkin is CLEARLY the better player.

I do agree that it will haunt him for life is the Caps are not able to rally around him and help him win a cup though. Considering they have a MUCH MUCH better player on their team that should make it easier.

Wilbon if you knew anything about hockey you would see Malkin was a bigger reason for the Cup win. There were 7 other players on the Olympic team that won that Gold medal not Crosby despite the "golden goal."

You are right though this is one of the best rivalries in sports history. Not just hockey.

I wish you would stop working for the Post and move somewhere else. It's clear you hate D.C. because your boy Jordon made himself look like a fool here. Go away just like that guy did.

Posted by: Mike4169 | March 26, 2010 11:40 AM
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Like others have posted, again Wilbon fails miserably at even getting his facts straight, but we're all used to that. Maybe he's too busy writing another fluff column for his gangster boy Gilbert.

As for having to beat Pittsburgh...nah. Say Pittsburgh gets knocked out before a potential meeting with the Caps? The way Pittsburgh's been totally mediocre the last few months (like Brooks Orpik himself said the other night) it wouldn't suprise me if they do go down first. I suppose then if the Caps go on to win the Cup, Wilbon will be the first one to write "It doesn't mean anything since they didn't beat Pittsburgh on the way!!"

Stick to whiny pieces about poor Gilbert and Tiger Wilbon.

Posted by: southside721 | March 26, 2010 11:37 AM
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I agree with just about everything Michael said. He's right about the Cup. Winning the President's Trophy will be nice but until the Caps win the Stanley Cup there is no true success. Having said that, I don't agree about the playoff issue.

There is no true playoff onus or playoff history with these players. Right now the count is 4 games to 3 with this group of players. Hardly dominating if you're a Penguin player and hardly intimidating if you're a Capital. What happened 10-20 years ago is a fan issue. They don't identify with those series because they weren't a part of it. To them it is just history in a media guide.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | March 26, 2010 11:07 AM
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I guess Hank Aaron is a slug too?

Posted by: dezlboy1 | March 26, 2010 11:04 AM
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Wilbon, stick to writing about basketball. You know about hockey as much as I do about synchronized swimming.

Posted by: admir81 | March 26, 2010 10:24 AM
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Of course the Pens won a cup first. They had the first or second pick in the draft every year from 2003 to 2006. The Caps have only had a pick in the top two (Ovie) once in the past 30 years. Hockey is a team sport. Crosby's great, for two out of the five years he's played, he wasn't even the best player, statistically, on the team. Ovechkin has more MVPs, more points, and more goals, and a better +/- than Crosby. He's been voted the most outstanding player by his peers two years in a row. What more do you want? a +80 goal differential? oh, the Caps have that. But I'm sure the Pens' +16 will win them another cup. Why does the Post keep around writers who just like to slam the local teams without actually paying attention to the stats?

Posted by: anonymous78 | March 26, 2010 10:23 AM
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Wilbon knows alot about football, basketball and some college sports but nothing about hockey.
Thanks for stating the obvious and changing the names in your Rivalry Rant template I'm sure you probably used when Bird and Magic were actually playing.
Stay away from hockey, Wilbon, and you'll look alot smarter.

Posted by: coolcraig | March 26, 2010 10:13 AM
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Couple other facts about cindy crosby and his direct involvemnt of winning the cup last year. Wasn't he hurt in second period and missed (all but one short shift) the last 30 minutes of game seven. So when his team was in game seven and needed him most, he was hurt on the bench. Think Ovie woulda pulled that? didn't seem too hurt when he skated with the cup. Oh yeah, the cup that he complained that it was heavier then i thought....little B eeaatch...But wilbon is correct about the cup goes threw pittsburgh. Would i want to make the finals as a Caps fan- sure! Would it be sweet to knock off the hated gwens to get there. Oh yes...just be careful what you ask for and be kind to history because if you are a true caps fan, it just won't be right and just if we can't beat this team in the playoffs when it counts. I would take someone else knocking them out of the playoffs before we get to them but I want to play them. I want the high drama and excitment of that series. it's a monkey that has to catepulted off our back... It's the only thing Hockey has that equals other sports rivalries and the shame of it is that this great sport is waisted on versus and local tv where it can't grow these rivalries and such. The poorest run league in sports. they finally have something to sell and don't know how to do it...and oh yeah, a reminder...we were 3-0-1 and had home ice against the gwens last year and how did that help us in game seven ? It didn't !Can't use the US mail to win the cup, you gotta play the games and when playoffs start...everyone is 0-0-0...Go Caps, rock the red!!!

Posted by: klangley69 | March 26, 2010 9:33 AM
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Did anyone stop to think we might not face the Pens in the playoffs this year? Wilbon is a MORON.

Posted by: hessone | March 26, 2010 9:08 AM
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@TJDemo

You call folks out for their comments like "moron" and then you comment "You folks calling Wilbon a moron, etc. are socially dysfuntional jerks". What's the difference YOU MORON!

Posted by: hessone | March 26, 2010 9:03 AM
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Wilbon = Race Baiter - Black Athlete Apologist - NBA Thug Culture Advocate

Posted by: hessone | March 26, 2010 8:55 AM
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EDIT: 1 , not 2 world championships.

Posted by: Chase4 | March 26, 2010 8:53 AM
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WILBON: Ovechkin has won 2 World Championships(2008). You look like an ignoramus by repeatedly saying Crosby is 3-0. Like another person already pointed out, Crosby has NEVER won a World Championship. A world JUNIOR championship, yes.

So, by my count, it's 2-1.

Next time get your facts straight before you post ignorant scheisse.

Posted by: Chase4 | March 26, 2010 8:50 AM
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Russia actually won in 2008 AND 2009, so if you're counting world championships, ovi has 2.

Posted by: givinstar | March 26, 2010 8:39 AM
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"World Wide Wilbon" Seriously?!? More like "Local Lightly Listened to Wilbon" Get over yourself. You have an ignorance about Hockey that is like a blinding neon light in a dark city night that is so distracting to actual Hockey fans. (The ones that did not just watch their first games in the past few seasons) So you decided because there the Caps are the only thing positive in DC to write about and the guns in the locker room story just does not bode well for your loved sport of basketball. Comparing basketball to hockey is like comparing doubles tennis to football. Hockey is an actual pure TEAM sport. No individual will play 80% of the time on the ice. It takes far more of a team effort to win a game let alone the playoffs or the cup. Individuals in hockey can and should be rated by individual stats. Teams are rated by the winning of the Cup which is why every name gets etched onto it. Ovi has dominated Crosby and everyone else in the league. Stamkos is the real deal as are few other individuals that are on lessor teams. Stamkos will not singlehandedly get Tampa to the cup or near it. Ovi as others have pointed out has bested Crosby when it counted before. The Cup is a measure of a team NOT of an individual. There have been many great cup champions that had neither a Crosby or an Ovechkin. It is because the individual is secondary in this sport no matter how much you cannot see this. Ovi has played 9 less games then the other scoring leaders. Yet he sits at the top with all of them. His Plus-Minus is at the top by a wide margin.This is all you can ask of an individual. To when the cup, the team must get there. Crosby was NOT the reason the Pens won the cup. Actually the case could be made that Malkin was the better man in that season. Just as Crosby was mostly ineffective in the olympics aside from the last goal which would be irrelevant if not for the performance of his team to put him there in the first place. Crosby was not even on the ice for most of the Canadians goals. Wilbon, stick with basketball or write from an honest perspective. That you still do not understand this game.

Posted by: JWBessling | March 26, 2010 8:28 AM
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What makes me the most upset about all of this is that someone PAYS Wilbon to churn out crap like this. Wilbon -- how do I get paid to write about topics about which I have little to zero knowledge?

Posted by: DCinNYC | March 26, 2010 8:22 AM
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Please editors. Fire this idiot - or at least conform him to writing about thug-ball, eh basketball, about which he has some knowledge.

Posted by: pjohn2 | March 26, 2010 8:17 AM
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The Post needs to tell Wilbon to stop writing about hockey or Caps. He brings nothing insightful and seems to upset Caps fans to stop reading anything he writes. Making asinine comments about Caps doesn't help the readers or The Post.

Posted by: PlzGodCome | March 26, 2010 8:15 AM
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I am sad that I wasted 20 seconds of my life to read this column. This reads like an article written by someone who had an assignment to do, waited until the last minute, and then wrote down a few hundred words of obvious, boring drivel.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 26, 2010 8:12 AM
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@TJDemo

if you have read some of mw's columns this year, you would understand why we call him an idiot and a moron.

for example, he said crosby is far better than ovie. now he says its magic-bird. in either case, you can make good arguments why one is better than the other, but if you can do that, then the two are more or less equal. wilbon said, "he can't get his team past Crosby's teams and they're undeniable rivals and will be for the length of their careers. Right now, Ovechkin would need a telescope to see Crosby, who's that far ahead in this race."

wilbon claims to have grown up watching the blackhawks, but frankly i don't buy it. if you grew up watching hockey, you would know that fighting is an important part of the game. wilbon wants fighting gone. i have never heard a hockey analyst or play-by-play guy EVER say this. so either all these other people who grew up watching and playing hockey are all wrong, or wilbon is...which one do you think?

what gets me the most is that wilbon used to be a good writer, i grew up reading him. but it seems he just writes the first thing that comes into his head, without thinking about whether what he is writing is fair and accurate.

Posted by: salparadise661 | March 26, 2010 8:10 AM
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Wilbon should never write about hockey. He doesn't know anything about it! Go back to Chicago!

Posted by: cotmfk | March 26, 2010 8:02 AM
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I just find it ridiculous that clowns like Wilbon penalize Alex for being on inferior teams. The Russian Olympic team was filled with KHL stiffs and last year's Caps team was not as good as Pitt. In fact it was Alex and Semyon's strong play that kept us in that series. This year is the first time Alex is on the more talented team. If he can't beat Cindy now then the Wilbon criticism becomes justified.

Posted by: bukaki23 | March 26, 2010 8:00 AM
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Seriously...get an editor or learn to use the internets.

Sidney Crosby has NEVER won a senior IIHF World Championship (to clarify- he was on the team that won the 2005 World Junior title (held during the lockout year)...this is an U-20 event that NHL clubs typically do not release players for).

Alex Ovechkin, however, was part of Russia's 2008 World Championship team (they beat Canada in overtime in the final- a game played on Canadian soil- Quebec City was the host; normally the tournament isn't played in North America but because of the cenentary year celebrations the IIHF held in the sport's birthplace). You can ask Mike Green about it- he was on the Canadian team that lost. The tournament runs concurrent with the NHL playoffs (most of the European Leagues are done by this time so the NHL contingent is made up of players whose teams did not qualify for the playoffs or were eliminated in the first round).

I'm sure there are more than a few Washington fans who would be thrilled to bits if Crosby, Malkin, etc. got the opportunity to participate in the 2010 World Championships for their country (it would mean a very early exit for Pittsburgh in the playoffs!).

Posted by: jcurrin | March 26, 2010 7:52 AM
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Really? The caps need to win? That's deep, MW. It would be nice if Wilbon could actually write a compelling piece about hockey but that would require him actually knowing something about it.

Posted by: papple | March 26, 2010 7:44 AM
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Wilbon, as he would say IS AN IDIOT!!!

Posted by: riceldi | March 26, 2010 7:12 AM
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Mr. Wilbon, what do you mean by this: "And Ovechkin (sorry, angry Capitals fans, most of whom are in denial) needs to win." Is this Caps' fans bait?

Of course the Capitals need to win the Stanley Cup, DUH. But they need to win the cup to prove Ovechkin's superiority over Crosby? Please stop feeding that media beast, Mr. Wilbon. As other commenters have pointed out, it's a TEAM sport. It is not basketball. If I cared about basketball, I'd follow your columns and watch your show, but I don't. I do read you to see if you are beginning to understand the sport of hockey better. Keep working on it, you'll get there eventually. But it would be better if you'd stop baiting your readers, close your mouth for a while and open up your ears. You just might learn something.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | March 26, 2010 6:37 AM
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I have watched the Caps since their 1st game here at the old Capitol Centre. This year, they will win the Cup. They need fear no team and Boudreau as well as Theodore are part of the reason. Bruce doesn't hesitate to call out players under performing. Unlike the issues other coaches have confronted here, Saunders-Blatche, Zorn-Portis, Boudreau has no such problems. It is not in the nature of any of this current group of players to rock the boat. I believe this is true of the NHL in general as compared to the NBA and the NFL. Players are more team oriented, less "look at me" behavior. Hockey is the penultimate team sport. OV may score a goal because Schultz hussled his butt off to keep the puck in the zone. One game last week, Dave Steckel skated his butt off to get to a dumped puck first so icing was waved off. Steckel then passed the puck to Flash for a goal. I never get worried when they are behind because they never get worried. And they almost always come back. Yes, friends, this is the Caps'year to win the Cup.

Posted by: TJDemo | March 26, 2010 6:22 AM
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So what if you disagree with Wilbon, what is with the vitriol? What happened to diginity? You folks calling Wilbon a moron, etc. are socially dysfuntional jerks. I rarely agree with Wilbon and have taken a poke at him, a funny comment made at his expense but this anger and name calling does not speak well of the sports fans who author them.

Posted by: TJDemo | March 26, 2010 6:02 AM
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AND the America's Cup (sailing) is named for a YACHT, not a Country........

Posted by: dah1963 | March 26, 2010 5:39 AM
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Michael Jordan (Who in my opinion was better then Magic Johnson) was drafted in 1984. Swept back to back years by the Celtics 85-86, 86-87, lost to Detroit 87-88 & 89-90. Then Michael received the compliments needed to 3 peat twice in the next 7 years. See Wilbon, Its a TEAM GAME you moron.
If you knew anything about the Capitals then you would know the parts are being assembled to have that type of dynasty. This is a different team then last year, just check all the individual stats and compare them to Pittsburgh, if you have the Time to actually do research. Then check out the Hershey Bears and the stats they have created this year.
Don't be surprised if the Caps, under McPhee (for your knowledge, since I know your an egotistical moron who knows very little about hockey, is the Caps GM) pull a run similar to Micheal's in Chicago.

Posted by: rukind920 | March 26, 2010 5:37 AM
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Even if Wilbon, Tracee Hamilton, and other Post johnny-come-latelies often make factual errors and are not very insightful, it's encouraging that they are at least now paying more attention to the Caps and the NHL. The question is whether they will stick around and devote sufficient time to their new pursuit to become as insightful about it as they are in other areas. Maybe someday, for instance, they will come to understand what plus/minus is all about and compare Crosby's rating on that statistic to Ovechkin's. Maybe then they will appreciate that, unlike the Magic-Bird rivalry of two players who were on essentially the same elevated plane, there really isn't any basis to equate Sid Crosby to Alexander Ovechkin when it comes to excellence in all phases of the game.

Posted by: west1805 | March 26, 2010 2:59 AM
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in 2008 Crosby was in the SC finals, so he couldn't have been playing against ovie in the world championships.

i wish wilbon had taken this post to say that he was wrong when he said ovie needed a telescope to get to crosby's game. you can make arguments crosby is better, but marginally so if that.

or he could have talked about how much crosby-ovie are like bird-magic. i watched that show and half the time i was thinking: this is 87-8. but if crosby is so much better than ovie, does that mean wilbon thinks bird was so much better than magic?

Posted by: salparadise661 | March 26, 2010 1:07 AM
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could you at least please write a column addressing your back and forth wishy washiness about hockey?

one minute it's not trendy - so you don't care. then it's trendy - you're writing about it again.

at MINIMUM you need to clarify your position.

if you want credibility - you have to earn it.

i remembr ivan majesky. i was at the game 7 OT game vs. NYI in 1987

this is my team.....this is my love.

this is a joke to you until you prove otherwise.

state your position or leave us real hockey fans alone.

thanks....

Posted by: CF11555 | March 26, 2010 12:28 AM
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Please stop comparing hockey to basketball, basketball is so less of a team sport than hockey anyways and I really don't care about Magic or Bird...its like he is trying to promote basketball while attempting to write about hockey. Usually I'm all for hockey getting a little press but everytime I read Wilbon talking about hockey I get a little bit annoyed.

Posted by: DCCapsfan19 | March 26, 2010 12:18 AM
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Again you have made factual mistakes and you have misidentified the quote and have taken it out of context.

It was Laich who said it was just another game although he went on to add that it was with a team they respect.

Ovi said that the Pens (I'm paraphrasing) are a good team, the team that won the Stanley Cup, and that the game should be a good one for the teams and for the fans. And in his post game interview, he said that it was an important mental win for the Caps.

So I daresay Ovi would agree with you that any game with the Pens is NOT just another game. But neither is it the game on which either the Caps or the Pens will hang their entire season.

At no point in any of the interviews by Ovi or the other Caps players have I heard them belittle or show contempt for the Pens. I can't understand how YOU get that from what the guys are saying, that they somehow don't respect the Stanley Cup champions.

Unfortunately you have decided on your own narrative and will not let facts (such as your omission of the 2008 Worlds championship win by Ovi and his Russian teammates) or full quotes properly identified change your mind.

Ovi and the Caps have said again and again that what they want this season is the Stanley Cup, and how painful it was to lose to the Pens at that game 7. They are using that experience to motivate them much as the Pens used their loss to the Red Wings in 2008 to motivate them to win the following year.

Could you give it a rest please. Or at least come up with a fresh storyline that doesn't involve how you think that Crosby owns Ovi. It's has been tiresome and getting downright disgusting.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 26, 2010 12:09 AM
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Agreed that the Caps do need to win the cup to rival the Pens as a team, but Wilbon is a terrible hockey writer. Stop trying to chime in on the Caps only because every other DC team is terrible. What bothers me has nothing to do with your comments as much as it has to do with the timing of your perspective, and the lack of any real background support. What were you writing 3 years ago when the Caps won 12 of 13 to make the playoffs? All the sudden you know about Ovie being reckless, Crosby "owning the Caps" etc., etc. Stop trying to be something you aren't, and Caps fans will appreciate your perspective a lot more. We enjoy insightful writing, not writing for the sake of trying to be heard...that's for people with inferiority complexes.

Posted by: emc7x | March 25, 2010 11:51 PM
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Ovechkin won the Hockey World Championship in 2008. Crosby has never won a World Championship. I guess it's 2-1 Crosby. Where is stat boy when you need him. If you are counting junior's then, it's 3-2.

Posted by: jeffh11 | March 25, 2010 11:45 PM
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Who's in denial, those of us who've watched the team with dedication for over 30 years or some schmoe who writes about a home team once in a blue moon (and only because they're the best in the league, to date?

Posted by: soloman5000 | March 25, 2010 11:37 PM
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We are discussing individuals in a team sport. Last year, the Pens were largely Malkin's team. Hal Gill and Orpik helped a lot too. Crosby is brilliant, but in head to head matchups Ovie is now + 13 and Crosby is + 1. Some of these points are well taken but the first commenter is right, Wilbon failed to mention the 2008 World Championship which Ovie won for Russia over Crosby in Montreal.

Plus, my money is on the Caps getting three of four cups.

Posted by: dcmusician2 | March 25, 2010 10:48 PM
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wilbon just fails to mention ovie does have team hardware from beating crosby just obviously not the Stanley Cup noticeable and the gold medal this year but 2014 i see a russian gold medal and who knows with stanley cups a little to early

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | March 25, 2010 10:36 PM
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Mike, Wasn't Ovechkin part of the 2008 World Champion and 2003 Junior World Champion Russian Teams? I believe the 2008 team beat Canada in Canada.

Posted by: anna14 | March 25, 2010 10:19 PM
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I agree with Wilbon...to be The Man you have to beat The Man. Plain and simple the Caps need to win the Cup this year. Go Caps!

Posted by: smoothdj40 | March 25, 2010 9:16 PM
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I agree with MW's assessment. This is the year the Caps NEED to beat the Pens, especially since they were put together this year to do just that. I don't want to even think about where we go if they don't.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | March 25, 2010 8:00 PM
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