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.
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