Don Cherry vs. Ovechkin – Part II

Ok… Following my initial post on this subject, I was going to let that be that… but this morning, a large write-up on the topic appeared on puckdaddy (yahoo’s hockey blog), and I feel the need to address this news further and along a different tangent.

The Puckdaddy post quotes part of Cherry’s ridiculous rant and then writes the following reaction/agreement:

Don Cherry:He’s got a free ride. He runs at guys …”

Puckdaddy:  In fairness, Ovechkin is second on the Capitals in PIM (66). But Cherry’s point is a fair one: Ovechkin leaves his feet on hits and there are times when a charge for another player is a highlight-reel check for Ovechkin. He gets superstar treatment. It’s not wrong, it’s not right … but Cherry’s on the mark here.

So lets analyze these statements and see if we agree… 

Ovechkin:

While Ovechkin does have 66 penalty minutes this season, only 28 of those penalty minutes have come from infractions that are commonly associated with body checks and taking “runs at guys.”  These 28 minutes include all of Ovechkin’s time served for roughing, interference, cross checking, kneeing, charging, and boarding.  The majority of these infractions were roughing, interference, and cross checking though; with only 8 penalty minutes coming from kneeing, charging, and boarding.  Now if Ovechkin really “runs at guys” wouldn’t he have more than just 8 penalty minutes for kneeing, charging, and boarding through 62 games?

Also, consider the following clip of Ovechkin injuring Jamie Heward on January 1st of this year:

Now people may disagree with me on this, but if you really watch closely at Ovechkin’s body language preceding the hit, you can see that he tried to pull up.

Unlike a lot of guys that see people turn into a vulnerable position as they’re going for a hit, Ovechkin really does seem to try and pull up.

It was just an unfortunate coincidence that he even came into contact with Heward’s head, as ovechkin twisted his body to avoid finishing the check strong. By twisting, he transfered the majority of the force of the hit to his left shoulder (which impacts the glass) and away from his right side (which comes into contact with Heward’s head). This hit would have been WAY worse if he had just finished the hit.

I know that Heward was injured by the hit, but the restraint that A.O. showed (as far as I’m concerned) when he saw Heward turn and put himself into a vulnerable position is quite admirable to me, and not typical of the type of player Cherry and Puckdaddy seem to describe.

I encourage you all to analyze the clip above and make your own conclusions. Look at the force at which Ovechkin’s left shoulder impacts the glass, and you realize just what Heward’s head missed out on.

Crosby (and Canadian Players):

Ok… so these are the guys that youth hockey players should strive to emulate (according to Don Cherry).  All of the below clips are that of Canadian players.

Chris Pronger

Chris Pronger 2 (compare this hit to the Ovechkin clip posted further up the page) 

Sidney Crosby

These above videos of Canadian born players are FAR AND ABOVE more worthy of critique then any of Ovechkin’s hits.  A.O. is a hard-working, clean player who likes to hit people, celebrate his success, and have fun playing the game.  If he were Canadian, Cherry would praise him for his work ethic and hard-nosed play, yet because he’s Russian, he takes “runs at guys.”  It’s despicable that this blatant racist is even a public figure in Canada.

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