An open letter to Alex Ovechkin
You are probably frustrated by the suspension the NHL handed you for your hit on Zbynek Michalek, and rightfully so. I knew as soon as I saw the hit that it’d draw the attention of the league but I never expected three games. The hit was a bit reckless but by no means did you target the head and Michalek wasn’t hurt on the play. In fact, Michalek was feeling so good that he doled out a questionable hit of his own just a few minutes later, but I digress. I thought you’d maybe get one game and never imagined you’d get three. That being said, I think your decision to not attend the All-Star Game as a result of the suspension is shortsighted, selfish and spiteful.
Personally, I don’t buy your explanation that you didn’t want to be a distraction by attending the ASG. I think all along you preferred (like a lot of players) the three days off and the suspension gave you a great excuse to bail. I think it comes across as “Oh, you want to suspend me? Fine, I’ll show you!” I get that. I have reacted in a similar fashion plenty of times. That doesn’t mean I think it’s the right reaction.
Say a child is grounded by his parents and that child decides in response to stop doing his chores around the house. Perhaps this is a reaction you’d expect from a child but, from an adult, it seems like a shortsighted and spiteful reaction. That child (or in this case, you) fails to realize that he/she benefits in countless ways from being a member of the family other than just the freedom granted when not grounded. The child has a place to live, food to eat, etc. This child has a life because of his/her family. The NHL is your family that has given you so much and the ASG is one of your chores. Being grounded does not excuse you from your chores.
You’re also either failing to realize or failing to care how many other people your decision affects. You’re one of the most recognizable faces in the league. Your energy is contagious. People are drawn to you and genuinely excited to see you play. Some of those people are fans and some of those people are sponsors (and some are both). All of these people are essential to you having the life you have. The ASG is generally considered THE showcase for these people to gather and marvel at your skill and personality. Now they don’t have that chance through no fault of their own. They don’t have that chance because you have let your current grudge from your suspension let you lose sight of the bigger picture here. And please, spare me on the whole bit that you are doing the league a favor. The league put you in the ASG, so let the league make the decision if you shouldn’t attend (and yes, I know they said they understood your decision. But you are still the one making a decision that is not really yours unless you are injured or notify the league in advance of being selected).
I’m not saying any of this to attack you or because I don’t like you. The truth is, I really do like you. I love watching you play. I’ll still be cheering and rooting for you. That being said, I have investments in you and the Capitals, both financial and emotional, and, for what it’s worth, I feel disappointed that you have handled this in such a childish manner. Enjoy your break. I’m looking forward to watching your return in Montreal.
Let’s Go Caps,
- Alex Ovechkin pulls out of NHL All-Star game (Puck Daddy)
- The Ovie Rule (Nick Kypreos)
- Andy McDonald Says Skipping All-Star Game A “Classless Move” For Alex Ovechkin (tracking.si.com)