Better Late Than NeverPosted on March 12, 2012
It was frustrating to read this weekend’s Washington Post story on Alex Ovechkin because it contained so many references to unnamed sources. My assumption is (or should I say “my sources” tell me?) that many of those comments came from disgruntled former business associates and those who aren’t fans of Alex. We all have detractors, and high-profile athletes have more than others. That’s the nature of the business, and Alex recognizes that comes with the territory. But it was interesting to see the Post blog George McPhee’s comments today. In many ways I thought this was an important part of the story that didn’t find its way into Saturday’s online version or the feature in Sunday’s paper. Too much to include? Too favorable? Too inconvenient? Not sure, but I’m glad George’s comments saw the light of day. I won’t debate each point that I believe to be inaccurate or unfair, but I have to set the record straight on one thing: Alex’s parents have not meddled in our franchise. We have nothing but respect and admiration for them, and they always have been supportive and a positive influence. It is what it is – there was a storyline to fulfill and quotes, anonymous as they may be, were needed to support it. In addition to talking with George, one of the reporters sought a comment from me. Below is what I conveyed (in its entirety) via email while traveling. When asked about how my interactions with Alex are different now than when he was a 19-year-old, I responded: “Alex has constantly displayed an enthusiasm that is contagious, and his zeal for the game and life in general always has been present. But now he has become more aware of his impact not only on the ice but also with our fans and in our community. His responsibilities have increased significantly throughout the years, and he has embraced that role.” I also was asked that since the season “hasn’t gone as planned,” how concerned am I that Alex won’t return to his pre-2010 level of production. My response: “The game has changed since Alex entered the league, and we are looking for him to be a better all-around player. We want him to adapt his game to be productive within the framework of our team, not necessarily in comparison with others in the NHL. The ultimate goal is to construct a team that wins a championship – that’s Alex’s goal too. That said, he still is a two-time league MVP who has scored more goals and more overtime goals than any other player since he entered the league in 2005.” Better late than never.