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Ovechkin SuperSlow in SuperSkills

I spent the minutes leading up to last night's "Fastest Skater" competition bragging to my fellow reporters in the press box about how Alex Ovechkin was going to smoke the competition.

I couldn't have been more wrong. He hesitated a bit at the start, never really caught up, and wound up posting the slowest time of the six competitors - by far, lapping the rink in 15.19 seconds.

I was stunned. The other reporters were stunned. Ovechkin was, too.

"It was bad legs, I think," he nervously joked afterward. "I have no warmups. We have been here three hours, do some interview. If we 10 minutes to warmup, it would be better. I lost, I know. But it's okay."

A proud player who prides himself on being the best at everything, Ovechkin seemed to take his defeat well. But that didn't stop everyone from analyzing what happened. Theories began flying amongst media folks on the ride back to the hotel and continued at the bar an hour later.

One reporter said Ovechkin's small, choppy strides don't translate into flat out speed. Another said he's "quick" not "fast". Someone else said Ovechkin isn't the fastest skater in the league, but because he stickhandles at full speed, it gives the illusion that he's faster than everyone else.

I'm not convinced. I've been watching Alex too long. I still think he's one of the fastest, if not the fastest, skater in the league. So I'm going to cut him some slack on this one.

My theory? He was cold. He got started a split second late. I'm also not so sure he took it very seriously.

As he quipped last night, "Of course you want to win, but you can't win all the time."

That said, I expect Ovechkin to redeem himself on the big stage tonight in the All-Star Game.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 24, 2007; 12:07 PM ET
 
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Comments

According to a Montreal paper, Ovie, Dion Phaneuf and another player had a blast in a shooter bar the night before. I guess I'll have to dig the paper out of the can and post on it now.

The paper didn't critisize the players. They simply stated that All-Star week was a time for fun. It's not like they had a serious game to play or anything.

Posted by: Reality Check | January 24, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

My theory why Ovie was last.

Ovie has very short steps which is perfect for fast acceleration. However after that you need power skating steps and I didn't see it yesterday. He was still using short steps on a straight line after. For example, Fedorov doesn't seem to use short steps and I bet Ovie accelerates faster, but Fed has 2nd best time because he uses power skating.

But... I still think something was wrong with measuring his time because the difference was ridiculously huge.

Posted by: Pete | January 24, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

To me, it looked like Ovie simply took a bad line around the nets. I think he was the only one skating in the corners instead of gliding. He'll get them next year.

And how about Green missing on the breakaway in the YoungStars game? He made a great move in a game earlier this year, I was hoping he could get a goal.

Posted by: tallbear | January 24, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

A stop watch is great for measuring a marathon; pointless when measuring within a second. I'd like to know how fast the players are travelling in the straight aways, not how long it takes to get around the rink. Ovechkin at 570 feet circumference in 15.9 seconds is going about 24.5 miles/hour if my math is right.

Posted by: Hockey1919 | January 24, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

there's no way that brian campbell -- who took tiny strides, didn't crossover in the corners, wove back and forth on the straightaway, and appeared to hit the boards on the straightaway -- had a faster time than AO. I'm not saying AO was fast, but he was definitely faster than campbell (despite what the stopwatch said).

Posted by: jess | January 24, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I think using the stopwatch and not the calibrated clock that wasn't working had an impact in all of the times. Ovie is faster than most defenseman he skates around, but by himself, he's just very quick.

Posted by: Ashburn | January 24, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

> there's no way that brian campbell -- who took tiny strides, didn't crossover in the corners, wove back and forth on the straightaway

True. Even the commentators joked that Campbell should be suspended for zigzaging.

Posted by: Pete | January 24, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Just one comment about Green and missing on the breakaway; along with nerves and his foot injury (whether or not that affected his speed), something tells me Budaj was prepared as a result of the beautiful breakaway goal Green scored on him earlier this season. I'll take the goal that counted in the real game!

Posted by: sk84fun | January 24, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Who cares how fast the stopwatch said he was. His blue visor made his look stylish, which is much more important at an exhibition.

http://www.capitalfanatic.com

Posted by: Capital Fanatic | January 24, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

He didn't have his 5 beers. Nor his Red Bull and Wodka...

Posted by: IJ | January 25, 2007 3:59 AM | Report abuse

I hope the NHL gives the All-Star game to NBC next year, Versus' telecast was awful.

Posted by: zamboni | January 25, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I think the stopwatch was the culprit. Ovie was flying out there. I thought it was sad that the clock wasn't working. Couldn't anyone have thought on the fly and gone to another event while the equiptment was checked out? And thats not just because I'm a Caps fan. I didn't know Ovie was in the event till he came up. And what was with having Ovie in just one event? What the hell? Crosby got 3 shootout attempts. Robbery.

I liked the uni's though. Better than I expected.

Posted by: Kerplunk | January 26, 2007 2:57 AM | Report abuse

I also saw a fan vid on youtube that showed that the stopwatch guy was pretty late in his reaction at the end of Ovie's run. That may have had something to do with it too?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhp6I4YZFIs

Posted by: Burgh | January 31, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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