Aftermath of an Upset
Well, unlike me, Olivier called it.
I’m certainly not saying that Ovechkin should be beyond criticism in the wake of his team blowing a 3-1 lead to a significantly superior team. On the other hand, it’s way too early to question whether his status within the game is justified, even leaving aside the fact that if you’re going to make anyone the goat it should be Green. It should also be remembered that at Ovechkin’s age Lemieux had played a grand total of 11 playoff games. (Orr did have two championships by age 23, although God knows he and his much greater supporting casts also lost a lot of series they should have won.) And while this loss was pretty bad, and despite the fact that Ovechkin doesn’t (to put it mildly) have any Messier, Kurri, Coffey, or Fuhr alongside him, he was never part of something like this:
And for reasons I can’t explain, this somehow seems less surprising seeing that the Canadiens are involved. While I suppose they’re the Yankees of hockey, while the Yankees are in the midst of yet another period of dominance comparable to the Ruth, McCarthy, and Stengel eras, the Habs haven’t had a great team since Dryden retired and Lafleur got prematurely old in 1980. For the next fifteen years or so, they were more like the 80s Dodgers — not every really that impressive, but somehow able to pull some pennants/deep playoff runs or championships out of their ass every once every few years. The ’88 Dodgers are probably the weakest World Champion of my lifetime, and the ’86 Canadiens and ’93 Canadiens are the weakest NHL champions of my time (and also, as far as I’m concerned, settle the question of who the greatest non-Hasek goaltender of the last generation was.) And since Ronald Corey decided that to go Adam Bellow — putting two guys in the charge of the team, despite a completel lack of qualifications, solely because they were part of the last great team — they’ve been just another organization. And yet…it’s somehow less surprising when the Habs do something like this. And using having someone do his best Roy imitation didn’t hurt…