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About Wilbon's blast at Ovechkin

Chatting at 11:30. Submit questions here.

As you've no doubt heard if you care about such things, Michael Wilbon launched a few peppy jabs in the direction of Alex Ovechkin during his weekly chat on Monday, and then followed up with a full and strongly worded blog post on the subject of Crosby's superiority to Ovechkin. The reigning MVP has certainly taken a media beating in the past few days, and much of it with merit. And yet, at the risk of hopping completely over the rails of basic objectivity, Wilbon's specific charges strike me as largely unfair. Thus, I'll dispute them.

Now, I do this knowing that Wilbon is way out of my league as both a writer and a hockey analyst. Based on nothing but superficial hokum, a lot of Caps fans have charged Wilbon with being ignorant about the sport over the past 24 hours. That's not at all the case; he grew up following the Blackhawks, keeps up with the game, and knows far, far more about the sport than I, or a lot of our staffers, do.

I also do this with the knowledge that it's easy to get in trouble on these chats. For example, two weeks ago, I opined that Wizards games were more diverse than D.C. United games. Then I was informed that, according to the most recent data, United's fan base is 27.5 percent white, 52.9 percent Hispanic, 12.5 percent black and 2.9 percent Asian. That's pretty diverse. I'd like to think that in print or even in a blog post, I'd have done more research than "Gee, it seems to me...." So these chats are clearly operating with some different standards.

All that being said....his words, then mine:

By the way, and this won't sit well here in Washington with Capitals fans, but Crosby is so far ahead of Ovechkin right now Ovie would need a telescope to see him.

Ovechkin has won two straight MVP awards, and currently leads the NHL in points, goals and plus/minus, while playing for the NHL's best team. Sure, both he and his fans would prefer championships to stats and awards, but it's hard for me to imagine that anyone in his situation could need a telescope to see the dude in front of him.

Plus, Wilbon evidently agreed with this 20 days ago:

"Yes, Ovechkin is the best player in the NHL right now," he wrote in a mid-February chat. "He's sixth in assists and we don't think of him as a playmaker, really. The rage he plays with is irresistible. Goodness....Thing about the NBA and NHL is you want to see the best players in the playoffs, and I can't wait to see Ovechkin in April/May and presumably June."

Crosby, not yet 22, has won the Stanley Cup (by going through Ovechkin), the Olympics (again, by going through Ovehckin) and the World Championships.

Well, he is 22, for one thing. And Ovechkin clearly played poorly against Canada, but I'm not sure Crosby exactly carried the Canadians past Russia in that particular game.

Furthermore, I don't believe Crosby ever won a world championship, though he did win a world juniors title. But Ovechkin was part of the Gold-medal winning Russian squad in 2008. So, instead of 3-0, we're now talking about 2-1. Of course, if we're just measuring world titles, Caps winger Jason Chimera seems to have won one in '07.

And then there's the Magic-Bird scenario. One star can have far more impact in basketball than in football, and after the 1980 season, Magic had two straight titles (NCAA in 1979, NBA in '80), while Bird had none. Could Bird, in 1980, really not see Magic with a telescope? Was Trent Dilfer a better QB than Dan Marino? And on and on.

He's lapped Ovie, who by the way, behaved wretchedly during the Games when he shoved the camera of some woman, reportedly a fan who had traveled thousands of miles to see her heroes on the Russian team play. Ovechkin...is bordering on out of control. He'd do well to get himself under enough control to concentrate solely on leading his team to victory because that's all Crosby seems fixed on.

Can't argue that it's good form to shove the cameras of fans. That's pretty obvious. Whether that means he's so out of control that he can't concentrate on leading his team to victory...well, the Caps have the most points in the NHL, just completed a franchise-record winning streak, and are undefeated against the Penguins this season. Doesn't mean they'll win in the playoffs, and doesn't mean fan violence should be encouraged, but I'd say Ovechkin seems fixed on winning every bit as much as Crosby.

The reports from Vancouver are that the woman suffered bruises. You show me when Jordan or Tiger did that

Again, there's no justification for what he did. It doesn't matter how mad he was or how rude the fan was or any of that. But if there are really reports from Vancouver about the woman and her bruises, I'd love to read them. The bruises talk comes from a YouTube description, as used on Deadspin, for example, which noted that its bruises info was "via Russian-to-English Google translation of a YouTube page." The report goes like this:

Mat overlaid with Alexander the Great fragile girl. Strongest taking forward "Washington" could not stand the camera, the girl was more lucky, she escaped with contusions and bruises.

Please tell me there are better reports than that one. And for the 17th time, what he did was wrong and indefensible, and certainly merits criticism.

Ovechkin, according to other players in the NHL, deals out cheap shots. His own coach, if you remember the stories and stop making up accusations about others, said his star was being out of control. I'll take his word for it, though there will be plenty like you, I'm afraid, who'll try to brush this off as nothing, instead of wondering whether the Capitals star needs to be reigned in.

This one's complicated. Bruce Boudreau's language from December of '09 was certainly open to multiple interpretations, and people interpreted away. Wilbon's take is not at all atypical. But I'd argue that he slightly overplays his hand here. Here were Boudreau's exact words, when asked whether Ovechkin needs to change his style of play. (He didn't bring it up, and he wasn't talking about anything off-the-ice.)

He's pretty reckless. It's hard telling a guy that scores 60 goals a year to change the way he plays. At the same time, I don't want to see him getting hurt. Maybe he has to pick his spots a little better....

You're lining guys up a lot of times and going to hit them, and once they move, everything gets exposed. Human nature is to react; if you've got a bead on them, if you're a hockey player, is to continue to try to hit him. It's something that has to be addressed by us, I guess....As a coach, and someone who admires him, I just don't want to see him put himself in harm's way. So we'll see. I don't think anything said is going to change the way he plays. Who knows?

"He's pretty reckless," makes it sound clear-cut. But adding the rest of it--twice saying that he just wants to preserve Ovechkin's health, and saying he didn't believe that Ovechkin would change regardless, and saying "maybe" and "I guess" and "we'll see"--makes Wilbon's "out of control" charge seem a bit much. If you believe that, fine, but I'm not sure you've got the goods to argue Boudreau believes it.

And again, Boudreau was explicitly speaking of nothing more than Ovechkin's style of play. To use his comments right after the fan-camera story, and to then ask whether Ovechkin "[thinks] the rules of society and the ice don't apply to him," is a big jump from "maybe he has to pick his spots a little better."

(More reaction from RMNB.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 2, 2010; 1:35 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Shaone Morrisonn on whether he hates Crosby
Next: Nyjer Morgan on the ice

Comments

FIRST! Pinecrest Golf Course representing! Oh yeah, OVI ROCKS - S#CK IT WILBON (though not really since I really like Wilbon but come on)

Posted by: gcastle1 | March 2, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Boudreau's comment reminds me of when Kobe said Gilbert was "unconscious" when he went for 60 on Kobe. Everyone blasted Kobe for that comment...poor sportsmanship, blah blah blah...but if someone said that to me on the playground, I would take it as a compliment. It's like saying Gil played out of his mind. That is two different interpretations of the same comment (when it is pretty obvious which way Kobe and in this instance, Boudreau) meant it.

Posted by: merajc86 | March 2, 2010 1:47 AM | Report abuse

REINED in, Wilbon. Like the reins of a horse, not the reign of a king.

Also: the Ocho > Sid.

Posted by: wjjw | March 2, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse

of course, wilbon stuck up for his pals Jordan and Tiger. I guess WIlbon chose to ignore all of Stevie Williams' goonery on Tiger's behalf.

And I think we all know Wilbon will likely not show up at the Phone Booth to see any stanley cup games since he will be on NBA playoff duty for his main employer (the four letter). I guess he might make some hockey games if the Coyotes can squeak into the playoffs, since he seems to be in Phoenix or Bristol more than DC.

Dan,

As someone who grew up in a hockey region like BUffalo, I would probably put your knowledge of the sport against his.

Posted by: metatext | March 2, 2010 2:28 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon is a HATER . He has always HATED Washington and the people who live here and the teams that play here and the fans of those teams. Why he does not even LIVE here.

And since when having once been from Chicago make you an expert in hockey.

WHY does the Post continue to present this man as a part of DC sports and it's reporting is beyond all reason at this point.

Remember this is the person who was HAPPY that Washington had to deal with the biggest snow fall of all time while he was in ARIZONA.

Posted by: CBinDC | March 2, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon is paid to be reactionary, don't expect any evidence of research or depth of thought in his articles

Posted by: Longgoneposter | March 2, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

A little perspective on the TV ratings of the hockey game Sunday afternoon from the NY Times:

"The Canada-U.S.A. gold medal hockey game was seen by a huge audience of 27.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched hockey game on American television since two games in the 1980 games from Lake Placid, headed by the famous U.S. upset over the Soviet Union.

The 27.6 million viewers put the game ahead of such recent high-profile sports contests as the Masters golf tournament (14.3 million), the Daytona 500 (16 million viewers), the top game from last year’s N.B.A. Finals (16 million), the N.C.A.A. basketball final (17.6 million), Game 4 (the most watched) of the 2009 World Series (22.8 million) and the 2010 Rose Bowl (24 million).

And most of those games were played in prime time. The hockey game went on at 3 p.m. Eastern time — noon Pacific. The audience reached a high point of 34.8 million viewers from 5:30 to 6 p.m. when the game was sent into overtime by the U.S. team."

Posted by: croftonpost | March 2, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon and Kornheiser are both DC sports haters! I don't even bother to read his columns anymore. He doesn't live here and I too don't understand why he is even a writer for the Washington Post. Him and Kornheiser's really love to blast the Wizards. He is a turncoat and a bandwagoneer and I am not surprised at the venom he spewed towards Ovie. I am sure Gil isn't either since he too was on the receiving end many times (justified or not) of Wilbons poison pen. Who gives a crap what Wilbon think. If by some way the Capitals win the Stanley Cup, he will then be praising Ovie. Again, who gives a crap what Wilbon or Kornheiser thinks!!!

Posted by: ivyleague | March 2, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Compared to almost any other sport, hockey stars (other than goalies) are in the game for a much smaller percentage. Even the best forwards are on for slightly less than half of a game while top defenders are on the ice for slightly more than half of the game. Therefore, it is much harder for a non-goalie in hockey to influence his team than in almost any other sport. Comparing players by comparing team achievements is always a little bit of comparing apples to oranges, but in hockey, the comparison is even worse.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | March 2, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

This is definitely a Bird-Magic or Peyton-Brady type discussion here.

Ovi is the goal scoring winger with a mean streak that can change a game not only offensively, but by laying someone out as well (Just ask Jagr).

Crosby is a gutty center who was largely a playmaker before this season when he's even gone so far as to change the type of stick he uses (2 piece to 1 piece) to try and score more goals ala Ovechkin.

At the end of the day they are both immense talents that any team would love to have.

I really don't see why so many people feel the need to hate one or the other.

I'm a Sabres fan and a hockey fan and I love to watch both of them play.

Although, I won't be rooting for Crosby tonight or for Ovi tomorrow!

Posted by: jamesweise | March 2, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Look, Wilbon used to be a smart, level-headed sportswriter. But he has been ESPN-ized, meaning that the louder and more strident his views, the more he thinks he is being edgy and advancing his "brand."

Surprising that one ESPN buddy is suspended for two weeks for obnoxious comments about a female coworker and now Wilbon says stuff like this? No, unfortunately.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | March 2, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Stein, you left out the best part, when Wilbon pulls the race card when trying to defend Tiger and Jordan. Sure, they've never shoved a camera out of someone's face, (Tiger's caddy's probably done it for him, and worse...funny that the American golfer needs a hit man...) but neither of them have a spotless record, particularly the pill chomping lecherous Tiger as we've recently discovered. He pulled the race card and said that this isn't getting the attention it should because Ovie's white. Classy Wilbon, though we should expect no less from you.

His "accounts of bruising" is down right dangerous journalism. No one really knows what happened before or after the video was taken except that it found it's way to the interwebs (surprise surprise). Did Alexander Ovechkin shove the person? No. Did he break the camera? No. He did a move that celebrities have done for paparazzi for years now, covered up the camera and moved it away. For all we know it could have been a Flyer's fan who knew just enough Russian to insult Ovechkin's mother and homeland before he started filming in which case Ovechkin showed a remarkable amount of cool.

Should this single act cancel out the mountains of good will he's built up before the games? He's one of the single most outgoing local sports players we have, friendly, nice always ready to sign autographs...not that Wilbon would know any of that since he's too busy to cover the most successful and exciting team in the area...So his country asks the entire team to stop talking to the media (Russian media included) and suddenly he's enemy #1. I don't think he's got much to worry about.

Thanks for pushing the word of hockey and the capitals, Mr. Wilbon! Don't let the door hit you on the way out

Posted by: remain | March 2, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon is talking out his ass. Crosby's gold medal does NOT make him a better hockey player than Ovechkin. If you put Ovie on Team Canada, they'd be a better team than they would with Crosby.

Posted by: Langway4Eva | March 2, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon is an idiot for that blog post. If a white writer had linked a black athlete to marital infidelities, he (Wilbon) would be the first to cry racism. So how can he do the same to Ovie (by comparing him to Tiger Woods)? What a stupid stupid post.

Posted by: tundey | March 2, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon sucks. Crosby and Ovie are peers in the game of hockey. Take Malkin and Fleury away from Crosby and he doesn't win the cup last year. Canada was one goal away from choking in the Olympics to a less talented US team and Crosby had a crappy tournament but for a lucky game winning goal.

Posted by: boot1 | March 2, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

First of all Crosby's goal was not lucky, but he was not particularly visible for much of the tournament.

Ovechkin and Crosby are on the ice for less than half a game, so to impute the fact one is one a better team as indicating one was a better player is nonsense.

Wilborn always likes to throw around he grew up being a Black Hawks fan, but the only time he seems to write about hockey is when there is something negative. If he cares about hockey why hasn't he talked about USA hockey, winning the World Juniors or writing about the Frozen Four. More than half the time he writes about sports its about players on non-DC teams anyway.

Screw him.

Posted by: rbluesw | March 2, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

stein, you forgot the most clueless statement from wilbons blog post:

"Ovechkin, apparently, is for whatever reasons, beyond their reach. He's untouchable. All these folks writing and talking about the Winter Olympics and I haven't seen a word of criticism directed at Ovechkin, famous as he is."

is he crazy? ovie has been SAVAGED by the english press for not talking to the media (just like his russian teammates). some of those complaints came from guys who WORK FOR HIS EMPLOYER ESPN. some dude on the hockey news called for OV to be suspended by the NHL for six games for his camera incident. not sure what wilbon was reading or watching, but you didnt have to look hard or long to find critique of OV at the olympics. very sad.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 2, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Stein over bon!

Posted by: alex35332 | March 2, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday at the Post it was all raining Wilbon-bon, and I am glad to see Steinz is busy this morning reining him in; the tyrannical reign of Wilbon-bon must end!

Posted by: hithere1 | March 2, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon and TK (love em, or hate em) have become two of the most famous sports writers in the country by using this tactic over and over again. Their job is to make erroneous arguments backed by one or two handpicked "facts" while ignoring the big picture. In many cases, the topics Wilbon and TK choose to talk/write about aren't black and white. You simply can't expect to compare Ovi and Sid to any other athletes accurately unless you also choose to ignore the many qualities that make them completely unique athletes in their own unique situations. Yet Wilbon and TK are paid to break complex arguments down into a crystal clear "right and wrong" within 90 seconds with limited knowledge on the topic.

It's simple... Wilbon is fishing for attention right now. Caps fans will call into his radio show, write him emails, and ultimately pay a little more attention to him for the next week or so.

Posted by: MillBurray | March 2, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

A few things on this.

First, Wilbon is a columnist so he is paid for his opinion. However, his opinion should be based on facts and quotes taken in context. What I think happened here is a case of Wilbon sticking up for his buddies who were upset that Ovechkin blew them off in Vancouver. Wilbon is in the fraternity and his boys got shafted. Sound the alarms - the press is a vengeful lot. It's a shame Ovechkin didn't get support from the Russian team as a whole who could have easily said players were off limits for interviews. Funny thing is Herb Brooks didn't let any of the 1980 Olympians speak to the media. Nobody called Jim Craig "out of control".

Another thing that happened is two of Wilbon's man crushes, and truth be told meal tickets/claim to fame were attacked. If anyone dares attack MJ or Tiger, Wilbon will defend them til the end. He has to. So Wilbon basically went overboard attacking Ovechkin in a quick tempered defense of MJ/Tiger. Like Stein said, its easy to get in trouble in these chats because they take a conversational tone, but in reality it is print media...particularly when published on Wapo.com. However, taking Boudreau's quote out of context and using it as an indictment not only on Ovechkin's playing style, but personality in gerneral is irresponsible. It makes you wonder if perhaps Ovechkin did the right thing by not speaking with English media in Vancouver. As with the Boudrea quote, the media and Wilbon in this case take quotes out of context and use them to make their own arguments. Now, add someone who doesn't speak English fuently and it's a recipe for disaster.

My affinity for Wilbon has slowly wained over the years...much like Kornheiser. I think the same "out of control" argument could be made about both of these guys given recent irresponsible comments. Perhaps stardom has gotten to them and they need to be reigned in as well.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | March 2, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Steinz, give yourself a little bit of credit -- the only person's league Wilbon is out of as a hockey analyst is Kornheiser.

Posted by: HowdyDCU | March 2, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Hey Wilbon, you suck! Ovie is way better than Cindy and as a DC resident, I would hope you knew that. Guess you haven't been watching enough Caps games.

Posted by: futbolclif | March 2, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon, leave DC. Stop "writing" for the Post.

Posted by: jtheisman | March 2, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon is paid to appear on a popular television show and give a thirty second reactionary soundbite to a sports news topic of the day.

That's his and Tony K's schtick. All they know how to do is (over) "react" to the latest bit of stimuli placed in front of their face. They are not capable of measured analysis or giving an opinion that reference events that took place more than one week prior.

Maybe that's a little bit harsh, but I'm sick of hyper-reactionary sports analysis that's incapable of any perspective.

(Yes that may be harsh, but

Posted by: jbanks979 | March 2, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the main point of the column by Mr. Wilbon was really about Ovechkin vs. Crosby and who is better, instead it was more to try and make a point about black athletes being held accountable vs. white athletes. He just used Ovechkin-Crosby to get attention.

That being said, I think it was stupid of Mr. Wilbon to include both of these subjects in one column. If he wants to make a point about black athletes and accountability vs. white athletes, then write a column about only that subject and leave Sydney Crosby out of it. Instead, what could have been a valid point about a lack of accountability for Ovechkin and the camera incident (although the evidence is far too circumstantial to make any conclusions yet) is lost with his ridiculous claims that the league MVP the last two seasons running is miles behind his main rival.

I agree with the post that ESPN has really forced some of the best sportswriters of the last decade to make far out and biased claims to get attention. It sucks that the ESPN culture has eroded the kind of deep thinking, unbiased and objective journalism that might actually be worth printing.

Posted by: rademaar | March 2, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

It was mentioned earlier, but his "Blackhawks fan" cred is in question. I honestly doubt he could name 3 Blackhawks on the current roster, let alone 5 from when he was a kid and such an alleged fan.

His focus on championships betrays this. That's clearly viewing Hockey through a basketball (his wheelhouse) lens. In basketball, literally one player can make an entire team. One player can make up 10% of the entire roster, and be on the court for 75% of the game. It's the reason why NBA is "star focused" instead of "team focused."

In Hockey, one player is less than 5% of the team, and maybe skates for 50% of the game, if that? Especially considering that Hockey is a 3-2 type of game and not a 108-124 possession exchange type of game.

Hockey is arguably the biggest "team" team sport of the 4 majors, and honestly, likely one of the reasons its such a tough sell to most Americans. It's so much easier to market "Stars," and to follow "stars" than it is an entire team. That's likely a lot of the reason why the league has been pushing the Sid v. Ovi thing so hard - it's easy marketing.

As for Wilbon? This is his shtick. Say outlandish, absurd things that are at most half true. Feed off the reaction. Play the race card. I'd care more if he hadn't been pulling the same stunt for two decades. He's basically the Rush Limbaugh of sports journalism.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

It is somewhat ironic that Wilbon rips sports blogs for their lack of reliability, and then actually quotes one as fact on the Ovechkin camera story (when even Deadspin, in the post, questions the reliability of the information itself. Then again, I doubt Wilbon actually read that on Deadspin--I'm sure somebody just told it to him and he ran with it. Good journalism.

Posted by: TheFingerman | March 2, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon is turning into Billy Packer. Give him another 5 years...

Posted by: peterandmeredith | March 2, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Ovie won a World Championship in 2008? Siting this nothing tournament that is played during the Stanley Cup playoffs shows complete lack of hockey knowledge. The best NHLers are still playing for the ultimate prize, that would be Lord Stanley's Cup. In fact, in the past when better players got knocked out in the early rounds or their teams never qualified for the playoffs they used to refuse to go. Canada and the US had to beg their stars to go.
Didn't the Redskins go 4-0 in the preseason a few years ago? Preseason World Champs. Snyder must be so proud of that accomplishment.
Ovie and Crosby are two great players that were reduced to role players in the Olympics. Sid just played his role a little better. They're both very young and if both careers ended today they wouldn't be considered top 25 of all time. Give them both time. Enjoy both their games and stop the hatred on both sides. Sid is a tough Kid. He takes a lot of punishment around the net and along the boards. Those who say otherwise are dilusional. And Ovie - well we get to see those hits every night. The one problem I have with Ovie is his maturity off ice. Ted needs to work with him to make him a better ambassador for the game. Hockey players are known as the most approachable pro athletes out there.
I'm happy that he is proud of his country but the Caps pay his wages. Lord Stanley comes first.

Posted by: neversurprised | March 2, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for this, I'm glad the newspaper let this happen.

I grew up watching football, but dont really follow the sport anymore. I still know quite a bit about the game.

Wilbon claims he grew up watching hte blackhawks, but based on what he says about hockey, I just don't believe it. Maybe he watched when they were in the playoffs, or 3-4 games a year, but there is no way you can grow up watching a sport and be that ignorant.

I grew up reading Wilbon's articles and I thought he was an intelligent, respectable writer. He's gone way down hill these last few years, and he really should just stop writing about hockey, unless its about DC becoming a hockey town (which is the result of who? #8)

Posted by: salparadise661 | March 2, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon always seems pretentious, angry, and from another town. He hasn'tbeen on my radar in a decade....

Posted by: Hattrik | March 2, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I am not a hockey fan - or a Capitals fan (although I hope they do well) but I am a HUGE Redskins fan and Wilbon lost me FOREVER when he basically wrote that Sean Taylor "ask for his death" - I am paraphrasing here.

Can't STAND Wilbon and his stupid, inaccurate opinions. He does live in Bethesda though - at least half the time.

One of his best friends is Charles Barkley and if I remember correctly Barkley spit on a girl and also shoved people around.

Posted by: Lisa_R | March 2, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"Sid is a tough Kid. He takes a lot of punishment around the net and along the boards. Those who say otherwise are dilusional."

Please, you can't really believe this. I admit he is a very good player, but he's certainly not very "tough" - he literally whines to the refs after every single time he's touched.

My wife, who literally knows nothing about hockey was watching the first WAS/PIT game with me this season even commented out of the blue, "Why is that one guy complaining to the referees after every time he gets hit? Isn't hitting a part of hockey?"

She doesn't even know his name, just refers to him now as "That whiny guy we don't like."

"And Ovie - well we get to see those hits every night. The one problem I have with Ovie is his maturity off ice. Ted needs to work with him to make him a better ambassador for the game"

What complaints do you, specifically, have with his "maturity off the ice?" He's a great ambassador for the game and this team, and does a ton of community outreach work. What problems do you have?

FWIW, I understand the futility of arguing about fundamentally specious terms as "toughness" and "maturity." I just gotta be honest, you sound like a Wilbon-esque sports pundit when you talk in generalities like that.

Please, be specific.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to do what Steinberg does and instead of writing an original piece, I will just write responses to the delusional comments left by many of DC's biggest hockey "fans"...


"Take Malkin and Fleury away from Crosby and he doesn't win the cup last year."

All Stanley Cup winning teams have to have a consistent, quality (if not spectacularly talented) goaltender. The Caps will find that out when they don't reach the finals due to shoddy goaltending.
And Malkin may have one the Conn Smythe, but it was Crosby who lead the NHL in postseason goals.

"Canada was one goal away from choking in the Olympics to a less talented US team and Crosby had a crappy tournament but for a lucky game winning goal."

Stats don't equate to hard work...Crosby created numerous chances for his linemates and played an efficient two-way game. He also won a game for Canada in a shootout (something a certain prominent Russian player couldn't accomplish).

And "lucky game winning goal"??? Watch the game and not the two-second SportsCenter highlight! Not only did Crosby split two defenders to bring the puck into the U.S. zone, he also fought along the boards to keep possession of the puck and then beat the best goaltender in the Olympics.

"If you put Ovie on Team Canada, they'd be a better team than they would with Crosby."

Ohhhhhh...I must have been mistaken. I thought Ovie was also playing on team filled with talented professionals. I had no idea he's playing with a bunch of farmhands. No wonder Russia didn't win the gold. Here all along I thought Russia was also one of the favorites in Olympic play.

I could go on and on.....

Posted by: LonnieBeale1 | March 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Steinberg is on a roll and he shows way too much humility when comparing himself to Wilbon.

Wilbon is a wind machine, in love with his own voice and is belligerent when challenged in his opinions. Read his weekly WaPo online chats and he will frequently berate people who send in questions with a different take on things. Maybe he thinks it's all in the spirit of a couple'a guys chatting sports over a beer but it often just comes across as obnoxious. Since I dont know what reporting he does these days, calling him a sports reporter is a bit of a stretch. There is also just a small whiff of Wilbon trying to capitalize on web hits based on DC's growing hockey and Caps obsession.

Steinz on the other hand has done tons of reporting. This may be a blog, but time and again, there is real leg work and fact checking going on here. Granted the story lines may be more about the sports experience than the results of specific sporting events, but they are almost always interesting and entertaining. And I see no gap in his hockey knowledge. (Well that might be hyperbole. I don't think he's ready to coach yet.)

Wilbon may be more firmly established at the Post, but I'll more than just read what Steinberg has to say, I'll search it out.

Posted by: md268 | March 2, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

why get your panties in a bunch about wilbon? steinberg laid out the holes in his article and that's that.

and people like lonnie could go all day nitpicking. all i know is i got better things to do.

Posted by: MNMNT | March 2, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Wow! From what I can see, Caps fans have a wierd, unhealthy obsession with Crosby which Wilbon is obviously feeding. You need to get over it. As for Ovechkin, he's a great player, His hit on Jagr was highlight reel, greatest hits of all time stuff. As for his behavior, well I guess he's another athelete who won't be a candidate for canonization anytime soon.

Posted by: Ottawaguy | March 2, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

As for the World Championship, it's a consolation prize for guys whose teams didn't make the playoffs or were eliminated in the first round.

Posted by: Ottawaguy | March 2, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon est mort pour Washingtoniens

Posted by: Kev29 | March 2, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"Wow! From what I can see, Caps fans have a wierd, unhealthy obsession with Crosby which Wilbon is obviously feeding."

---

As opposed to Pens fans who harbor no similar "obsession" with Ovechkin?

Dear Pot,

You are Black.

Love,
Kettle

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

VTDuffman - Sid plays in the trenches while Ovie plays the perimeter. Both are tough just in a different style. You gotta be tough to play hockey, period.
Who's tougher Wes Welker or Laron Landry. I'd bet Laron wouldn't go over the middle like Wes does. Yet Wes never gets to hit anybody so would you question his toughness.
The complaint on Ovie's off ice behavior is shoving a phone in a fans face( a women) - nice move tough guy and refusing to do interviews at the end of the game or between periods with NBC. Grow up a little. I remember a Russian interview he gave while I was in Moscow last September and he was asked who he preferred more Russian or American women. He said Russian women are much better. Guess what Ovie, video goes worldwide. He should have said I like them all. These American fans, female included, pay his wages. I'll put American women at the top every time.
And while I'm sure your wife is a nice lady don't use her inexperience with hockey as fact.

Posted by: neversurprised | March 2, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"As for the World Championship..."

The only reason World Championships are mentioned is because Wilbon himself brought them up.

I agree with you, but Steinz was just fact-checking Wilbon's statement. The statement itself really only serves to highlight Wilbon's lack of knowledge about hockey.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Dear Pot,

You are Black.

Love,
Kettle

-----
Dear Kettle, As my name indicates I'm actually an Ottawa Senators fan. I don't have a dog in this fight.Just reflecting on what I see around here. Love to you too,

Posted by: Ottawaguy | March 2, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"The complaint on Ovie's off ice behavior is shoving a phone in a fans face( a women) - nice move tough guy and refusing to do interviews at the end of the game or between periods with NBC. Grow up a little. I remember a Russian interview he gave while I was in Moscow last September and he was asked who he preferred more Russian or American women."

---

That's really the best you can come up with? He was upset after a game, didn't talk to the media, and answered a question honestly?

What a child! How immature! He needs to GROW UP! Those three insignificant things completely negate his large body of charity and community outreach work, he needs to learn to be a better ambassador of the team and the game!

Lulz.

And I was using my wife to illustrate a point. I couldn't help but notice the fact that you didn't actually argue with her observation.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Dear Kettle, As my name indicates I'm actually an Ottawa Senators fan. I don't have a dog in this fight.Just reflecting on what I see around here. Love to you too,"

---

I don't care what team you are a fan of, the fact that you note this alleged "obsession" on the part of one team's fanbase and conveniently ignore it from the other illustrates the point.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I wish Wilbon and his girlfriend Toni would get out of town.

Posted by: ridgely1 | March 2, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

what does wilbon know about hockey? his entire premise is based on not even an amateurish appreciation for the game. most hockey shifts are a minute or less. sid has a great team around him in pittsburgh and team canada. luckily, now ovie has one in dc. one player in hockey cannot have the impact you see in a star in every other sport. ask any nhl coach and they'll take ovie 10 times out of 10.

Posted by: papple | March 2, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

neversurprised: Please give female Caps fans a little credit. We couldn't care less if Ovechkin prefers American, Russian, or Martian women.

Posted by: gmg22 | March 2, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the post that ESPN has really forced some of the best sportswriters of the last decade to make far out and biased claims to get attention. It sucks that the ESPN culture has eroded the kind of deep thinking, unbiased and objective journalism that might actually be worth printing.

Posted by: rademaar | March 2, 2010 10:11 AM

It's no coincidence that Tom Boswell stays out of the TV limelight and continues to write well.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 2, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon a hockey analyst? Isn't this the same guy who said in a Post chat he was done with hockey and was now spending that time watching NASCAR ?

Posted by: boywaja | March 2, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon, you're an idiot. Eat your own words, brutha:

"Yes, Ovechkin is the best player in the NHL right now," he wrote in a mid-February chat. "He's sixth in assists and we don't think of him as a playmaker, really. The rage he plays with is irresistible. Goodness....Thing about the NBA and NHL is you want to see the best players in the playoffs, and I can't wait to see Ovechkin in April/May and presumably June."

Posted by: buster_c | March 2, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

VTDuffman - Wilbon brought up the Junior Worlds which OV never got. Steinz made the dumb mistake here of presuming he meant the lame May Tourney.
Since I gave you specifics now give me Ovies specific charity and outreach work. As for arguing your wife's opinion. Sid is Captain and will jaw with ref all game. Now that OV is capt does she think he whines too every time he speaks to the ref. You don't know what either talks about so don't presume that they are whining. That's just bias. Uninformed bias. Opinion if you will.

Posted by: neversurprised | March 2, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman. Do the Pens fans obsess about Ovechkin? Dunno, I don't read Pittsburgh newspapers. If they do they should get over it. But I do believe you need to give credit where credit is due. Trust me, as a Sens fan I have a deep and abiding loathing for anything connected with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but I have to aadmit that Burke and Wilson did an amazing job with Team USA. As a Canadian I wished they would have done a less amazing job. The Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry is good for hockey and as a hockey fan I'd enjoy seeing a rematch. Although I'd be happier if the Sens eeeither either or both.

Posted by: Ottawaguy | March 2, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon's exact quote:

"Crosby, not yet 22, has won the Stanley Cup (by going through Ovechkin), the Olympics (again, by going through Ovehckin) and the World Championships."

Where in there did he mention junior worlds? Please highlight it because my aging eyes can't quite make it out.

And of course my opinion is biased. Every opinion is biased. That was my whole point from the beginning. Arguing "Toughness" and "Maturity" is arbitrary because it's all opinion. There's no real facts to back it up.

I was offering my wife's opinion as an unbiased, uninitiated, completely neutral source. That was her unprompted observation. It's an observation that's echoed by half the players in the league when polled about who the whiniest player is, to boot.

But I gotta say that I'm not really buying that you are a Caps fan if you are questioning Ovechkin's Charity work and Community outreach efforts. There is this thing called Google and you should check it out.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Also, because i'm feeling generous:

"
ARLINGTON, Va. – Reigning NHL most valuable player Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals took to the ice Monday night, hosting nearly 100 youth hockey players age 6 to 14 in the Crazy Eights Skills Session at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. Ovechkin skated for an hour with the youth hockey players, joining them in drills, passing the puck and sharing tips on how to one day make it to the NHL.

“The kids seem to be having a good time, which is the best part,” Ovechkin said while signing an autograph for each participant after the on-ice session. “The people here in Washington have been so supportive of me and our team; it’s fun to get out on the ice and maybe help them a little bit.”

For Ovechkin, who turns 23 on Sept. 18, the event marks the second year of what he intends to make an annual tradition of celebrating his birthday with a unique community service program. Last year he led a beautification project at Shaw Junior High School in Washington, D.C. It also marks the first of many community initiatives he will support throughout the 2008-09 season."

Seriously, first Google hit for "Ovechkin Charity Work."

How immature! Hosting annual charity events for local youths as part of a grander community outreach and charity effort! What a child! He really needs to learn how to be a good ambassador for the team and sport!

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"
Pulte Homes, a proud Capitals team partner, underwrote the Skills Session as it looks to partner with Ovi’s Crazy Eights on other D.C.-area initiatives. “We think Alex will continue to contribute to the youth in the Washington, D.C., area and we couldn’t be happier aligning Pulte Homes with such a great ambassador,” said Lou Baker, Mid-Atlantic President, who was in attendance for the event.

Ovi’s Crazy Eights is a program Ovechkin established in 2006 to give back to the Washington, D.C., community. Ovechkin purchases eight tickets to every Capitals home game and donates them to Most Valuable Kids (MVK). MVK, in turn, distributes the tickets to needy children and soldiers in the Washington, D.C., area. The group sits in a special section at Verizon Center and Ovechkin regularly meets with them personally after the game."

That Monster!

Here's the link, it's a good article.

http://alexovetjkin.blogspot.com/2008/09/ovechkins-charity-event.html

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Ask yourself this. Do you think Ted was happy about his Olympic behavior? Do you think Ted isn't concerned when OV says he doesn't care if the NHL lets the players go to Sochi in 2014 and that he's going anyway? Ted and the fans pay his wages. They deserve a little better.

Posted by: neversurprised | March 2, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

This is just typical Wilbon: All bluster and no substance.

Posted by: theamazingmouse | March 2, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon has been contradicting himself, in print and elsewhere, for years! The contradictions you could dig up would be endless....

Posted by: tmilt27@aol.com | March 2, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

how do we even know it's girl that got shoved anyways? what happens if it was just a girly man making faces at Ovechkin?

Posted by: MNMNT | March 2, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Dan... If Wilbon was a better hockey analyst or writer then you he wouldn't have made so many mistakes in his column. He also would not have let his emotions fuel his opinions... something analysts probably shouldn't do. Don't discredit yourself. Great reasonable angle on this story!

Posted by: thiefalwyz | March 2, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"Ask yourself this. Do you think Ted was happy about his Olympic behavior? Do you think Ted isn't concerned when OV says he doesn't care if the NHL lets the players go to Sochi in 2014 and that he's going anyway? Ted and the fans pay his wages. They deserve a little better."

---

Honestly? I'm tired of you. You're moving the goalposts now. Every time you get proven wrong, you just change the subject. It's tiring.

Oh noes, he had a small outburst after losing in the olympic tournament. It happens. I can't speak for you, but I am not a robot, I have ups and downs. I imagine professional athletes do as well. I don't think that erases years and years of great work both on and off the ice (Which you implied never happened, until proven wrong, whoops) to label someone as "immature."

"Was Ted Pleased?" I dunno. I don't really care. I'm sure he could have been pleased...er, but I doubt he was displeased.

Immature Ovechkin also participated in the closing ceremonies, hopped on a Red Eye and was on the ice for Practice the next morning. I can't speak for Ted, but that pleased me.

I'm sorry if you don't feel the same way, but that's your loss.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon is just about the most hypocritical, contradicting, smug, simpleton, elitist you'd ever want to meet. Like many big shots in the media, he can say whatever he wants and never be held accountable for how incredibly wrong he was.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 2, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Do you think Ted isn't concerned when OV says he doesn't care if the NHL lets the players go to Sochi in 2014 and that he's going anyway?"

---

Quoth the Great 8: "My GM (George McPhee) agrees with me, but I didn't talk about it with Gary," Ovechkin said. "It's still four years to go."

So, GMGM is on board. As an employee of Ted, I imagine that Ted is on board as well.

Have any more straws you care to grasp at?

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea why anyone would watch or read anything wilbon does or writes. I don't give his blog a single click.

Posted by: WrongDog | March 2, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"Was Ted Pleased?" I dunno. I don't really care. I'm sure he could have been pleased...er, but I doubt he was displeased
You are an idiot. of course he was displeased. Ted will be the first to tell you Fan first. Behavior counts.
OV flew out to represent Russia at the closing cerimonies. He cares more about Russia than Caps. Which goes back to part of my opening remarks. Sorry to make you think. Its so tiring. Next thought for you - Ov goes to Sochi and gets injured and is out for the rest of the year. you going to like that? Meanwhile ted has to pay him. Hockey is a business why would you pay for someone else to use your player. Especially when its the Russians. If he was at least American I could see. This is why the owners haven't committed.
And Goodnight.

Posted by: neversurprised | March 2, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

@neversurprised. Ted said he'd fly Ovi over to Socchi himself if the NHL players aren't allowed to go. Ted and GM give Ovi their full support.

And once again, stop believing this one report from YouTube that it was a fan. If she was shoved, did you see her fall back? If she was shoved, why did she start filming back again? He put his hand over her camera. He should have, but let's not make it out to be worse than it was.

And we have Crosby punching another player where nobody wants to be punched. How is that good behavior?

Posted by: dfe1 | March 2, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"I'll match my credentials as a journalist with John Feinstein anytime. Junior has often mistaken his opinion with fact and with legitimacy. Thing is, my father didn't raise me to be subservient to Junior, or anybody else. My opinions about Tiger Woods or any other issue are mine and I could give a damn about what Feinstein or anybody else things about them. The only thing special about Feinstein's opinions is that they're his. And I let him know that in very specific language that best belongs on HBO."

God. What a blow-hard. Take out the name "Feinstein," plug in "Wilbon," and the weak points are valid.

Who else but Wilbon could turn the Ovie Camera-gate into a race issue? It gets tiresome to read the same unenlightened opinions over and over. And the man seems to be under the impression that he is somehow a noteworthy and accomplished individual. He is a sports critic. All opinion, none of it illuminating. Compare Boswell if you want sportswriting that approaches greatness. Wilbon is not even in the same league.

Posted by: eyestreet | March 2, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"Ted said he'd fly Ovi over to Socchi himself if the NHL players aren't allowed to go. Ted and GM give Ovi their full support."

---

dfe, don't confuse him with facts. He's running out of bullspit to support his flimsy positions as it is. It's unfair to introduce even more facts that contradict everything that he says. At this point, all he will have let is "Ovi is immature because I saw him in the grocery store once and I swear he looked at me cross-eyed."

Also, it's probably time to change your name, neversuprised. With the number of times you've been completely wrong in this thread alone, I figure you would be surprised all the time. If not surprised that reality doesn't support what you have invented in your imagination, at least surprised at how consistently wrong you are.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"OV flew out to represent Russia at the closing cerimonies. He cares more about Russia than Caps. ... Hockey is a business why would you pay for someone else to use your player. Especially when its the Russians. If he was at least American I could see."

----------

And then (as mentioned above) he flew back here on the red eye to be in Arlington for practice the next day. Dude, you know, the NHL is really an international league now, not to mention that the Cold War ended 20 years ago. Most of us are fine with Ovie wanting to show some pride in his country. Sorry that you are apparently not.

Posted by: gmg22 | March 2, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon, this trash belongs in Canadian print.

Posted by: wcc118 | March 2, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"And then (as mentioned above) he flew back here on the red eye to be in Arlington for practice the next day"

---

Also, he didn't "(sic) fly out for the closing ceremonies."

He was already there, you know, for the Olympics. He just didn't leave. He stayed for the Closing ceremonies, then too a Red Eye home to make it back on the ice for practice the next morning...

You know, the immature thing to do.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Wilbon is all over the greatness of Kobe who bought his way out of a rape charge.

Wheaton

Posted by: BushH8er | March 2, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Dan,

Good job. If anything you could take it further. Clearly Wilbon may have followed hockey but doesn't understand that hockey is more a team sport than baseball or basketball or maybe even football. Three lines of forwards, two lines of defensement, and goalie all play major share of minutes in every game. That's 14 guys that can have a major impact, but all of which must work together to accomplish anything. Canada and USA had the best third and fourth lines in the Olympics and that's why they made it as far as they did.

Wilbon needs to eat some humble pie. Keep it up, Dan, you ROCK!

Posted by: bermudml | March 2, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't the Washington Post part ways with Mr. Wilbon?

Mr. Wilbon no longer represents the quality sports writing that should be required for this prestigious newspaper. Mr. Wilbon has become an entity for ESPN. ESPN's sports entertainment philosphy provides "cheap" sports writing that encourages provocative and sensationalized commentating and writing. ESPN's brand of sports entertainment does not gel with the philosophy of the Washington Post and its sports writing. Mr. Wilbon adheres to the ESPN philosophy. Therefore, Mr. Wilbon and the Washington Post are not on the same page.

This is why I don't read Mr. Wilbon's articles and I avoid at all costs, absorbing any material from ESPN.

I hope the Washington Post realizes the difference between the two philosophies of sports writing and goes in a different direction without Mr. Wilbon.

Posted by: cthokievex | March 2, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon has an agenda.

Even in the Pittsburgh/Washington series last year - to say that Crosby outplayed Ovechkin is just horse malarkey.

Sorry, Wilbon does not know a darn thing about hockey.

It's time the Caps won the Cup and shut this guy up....

Posted by: CF11555 | March 2, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Who else but Wilbon could turn the Ovie Camera-gate into a race issue?

Posted by: eyestreet | March 2, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

When it comes to racial issues, there is very little difference in opinions between Al Shartpon, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakan, and Michael Wilbon. And they all profit off of their race-baiting.

The saddest part is that in the year 2010, we still give these guys a microphone to spew their pitiful ignorance on racial issues. Wilbon often says he wants an open and honest conversation on race, but that is exactly what he does NOT want. He wants to keep on ignoring all of the valid counterpoints to his old, tired, and well out of date race arguments.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 2, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Dan - Nice work with this blog. It appears that you've done your due dilligence, that is, done some actual research on the subject before putting it in print. Perhaps Mr. Wilbon will get a strong enough telescope so he can see you one day.

Posted by: Jenners | March 2, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

FYI Dan -- and maybe others said it already -- Wilbon is NOT way out of your league in any way. Except perhaps arrogance and puffed-up self-importance. He and Kornheiser are 1-2 in that area.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | March 2, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon is an elitist blowhard who would $#%%!*# Michael Jordan if given half a chance.

What he said after Sean taylor's death was inexcusable and the worst kind of irresponsible journalism.

Posted by: Rocky420 | March 2, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

You should be thankful Wilbon is "way out of [your] league as . . . a writer." Wilbon is one of the crummiest writers ever to have graced the pages of The Washington Post. He seems not to understand English usage, sentence construction and punctuation. Often his arguments are sunk by the obvious ill-logic of his prose. His reporting that supposedly backs up his, to my mind, ill-considered opinions and arguments is often riddled with obvious holes. Unfortunately his stature as a Post columnist seems to prevent Post editors from asking the right questions of Wilbon's work and editing or re-writing it to an acceptable standard.

Posted by: dude_too | March 2, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line:

If Ovie were Canadian and Crosby Russian, all the media would be ga-ga over Ovie rather than fawning over Sid the Kid.

Posted by: InTheMiddle | March 2, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Delusional Caps fans: All hockey players are passionate and tough or they wouldn't be in the NHL; almost ALL NHL players (maybe all) do charity work in their communities...some teams even require it; most of the Olympic/NHL players came home on late or early flights Sun/Mon and went straight to work.....what makes you think Ovechkin is special on any of these accounts? Also, most team captains (not just Crosby, though you seem to be obsessed by him) do interviews no matter what the circumstances...win or lose (unlike Ovechkin), and I really can't think of another captain who has trashed a fan's camera. OV might be God's gift to you, but he really isn't a special human being, beyond his incredible skills, to anyone else on the planet. What a bunch of blind fanboys!

Posted by: vahockeyfan | March 2, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Dan, nice piece, and thanks for writing it. Your logic, facts, and common sense make Wilbon come off pretty silly here. OV and Crosby are both incredibly good hockey players, just that Crosby's teams have gotten him the hardware more. OV has more of the personal awards, no? I wonder if Wilbon would say of his good friend and ours Sonny Jurgensen that Sonny needs a telescope to see Bob Griese or some other contemporary that won more team trophies? I love the Caps and I love the Skins. As a Skins fan, I was a huge fan of George Michael's "Redskins Report" show, of which Wilbon was an integral part. This is very disappointing of Wilbon. Thanks for posting your take.

Posted by: brad40 | March 2, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, worst translation ever. The dialogue basically goes as follows:

Girl: Don't break it, please don't break it!
Guy: Why the f*** are you taking pictures?
Other guy: Don't take pictures [please].

Google doesn't work so well with the Russian swear words.

Posted by: grahamdumas | March 2, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon needs to shut the hell up. Jordan is a compulsive gambler and didn't Tiger bang out like over 20 chicks? Yeah that's much worse than Ovie pushing a girl-(which is still bad but not as bad as those two that Wilbon loves to ride)

Posted by: gr8t | March 2, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon has determined Ovie can't help him make more money or feed his ego. So, what the heck, for once he knocks a popular athlete. He was kind enough to wait for the last one to get shot and killed before knocking him.

Posted by: TheDubb | March 2, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Doesnt tiger woods have his caddie do all the dirty work when comes to fans at golf events speaking and taking pictures of tiger

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | March 2, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Doesnt tiger woods have his caddie do all the dirty work when comes to fans at golf events speaking and taking pictures of tiger

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | March 2, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

To the Pen trolls on Crosby. If Parise had not tied the game, one of the stories about the Olympics would have been about the amber alert on Crosby during the medal round. Secondly, without Crosby, Team Canada would still have been favored to win Gold and probably would have still won.

Also about Crosby, he is a whiny and dirty player who likes to whack people after the whistle sounds. Lets not forget his nutpunch last year. He ain't the second coming of Jean Beliveau. And the fact is, he was on better teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs and Olympics than Ovechkin was, so to cite who won rings as evidence as to who is a better player is nonsense. Wilborn's premise makes as much sense as saying Joe Dimaggio was a better player than Ted Williams because Williams never won a World Series ring.

You take Malkin away from the Penguins and they don't win the Cup last year. Its pretty simple. You can talk about how Crosby led the team in playoff goal scoring. BTW, Crosby did finally become an NHL goal scorer during the playoffs.

Finally, arguing Crosby as a better player is irrelevant to the main point of what most of us are saying. That is Wilborn doesn't give a ratass about hockey, shows his ignorance and 95% of his hockey posts or comments trash the sport.

Posted by: rbluesw | March 2, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I've always suspected Wilbon latches onto a grudge just to get attention since the Florida State - Virginia Tech NCAA Championship game in 2000. Wilbon has always had a thing against Tech because he sees it as a semi-local, rural school challenging teams like the Hurricanes and Seminoles in the ACC. So when there were a series of incidents in the 1990s involving Tech players, he latched onto it and never let up (as if there have never been incidents involving Miami or FL State players). And his column after the 2000 BCS was a journalistic joke -- it was like he'd written the column the day before and just revised the statistics.

The thing is, the guy writes some good, thought-provoking articles on sports-related issues that don't directly involve knowledge of teams, players, or talent. But I guess he couldn't make a career out of that, so give him credit for inventing a new way.

Posted by: greggiebaba | March 2, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

seriously, please, Wilbon, get out of this town. Nobody wants to hear you. You really make me sick. I won't even comment on what you said. Just get the hell out of here. Washington Post is pushing their luck with this jackass.

Posted by: tony28 | March 2, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for that fake goody-two-shoes Crosby to get caught Tiger Woods-ing it or driving drunk into a school bus (luckily no injuries, except maybe to Prince Sid).

Ovechkin is nasty and honest about it -- so that whiner Michael Wilbon ought to deal with it. Crosby is just as nasty -- maybe nastier -- but cleverly conceals it behind this false choirboy facade that the media feeds, and I despise him for it and I despise the pusillanimous Michael Wilbon for falling for it.

It made me sick at my stomach when he scored that goal in Vancouver. ANYBODY but him!

Posted by: FergusonFoont | March 3, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

A comment from a "north of the border" perspective:

-Crosby was beyond dire for large stretches of the Olympics- he had two moments of brilliance (SO winner against SUI, OT winner against USA) and otherwise, was dreadful. Missed shots he should have converted, his decision-making was poor, and he was a liability on defence. If the USA had won in overtime the knives would have been out in force.
-Crosby is a 22-year old who lives with the team's owner despite being in his fifth year as a professional. To the best of my knowledge there aren't any other veteran NHLers living with their club's owner.
-FACT: Crosby has never won a senior IIHF World Championship (he won a World Junior which is a U-20 event). Ovechkin was part of Russia's 2008 World Championship team (winning in Quebec, beating Canada in the final). Is Wilbon Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass? You can devalue the IIHF World Championship tournament as it runs concurrent with the NHL playoffs, but Mike Green was on the 2008 Canadian roster.
-Crosby lost in the final of the 2005 Memorial Cup while playing for Rimouski of the QMJHL. This is a MAJOR tournament that is compared to the Stanley Cup but for major junior hockey.
-Ten seconds of rash behaviour; about the same amount of time Crosby was punching an Atlanta player in the taint from behind.
-Kobe...wasn't he accused of rape and found to be cheating on his wife?
-Jordan...more infidelity, 3am gambling junkets in casinos during the playoffs (which Wilbon ignores).
-With that being said, Crosby has a Cup and Ovechkin doesn't (although lest we forget Crosby played a rip-snortin' 9 minutes in Game 7, including 1 shift in the third period). It didn't hurt Pittsburgh's lot that they had a top-2 pick four years running:

2003: Marc-Andre Fleury
2004: Malkin
2005: Crosby
2006: Staal

That's a staggering four-year run.

Posted by: jcurrin | March 3, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Winning the IIHF World Championship is strictly a consolation prize for not making the playoffs or losing in the first round. If you look at what Crosby has won at this age it's truly impressive. The OT winner is one of the great moments in hockey. It's true that Crosby has won because he played on great teams but winning makes you look like, well,a winner. Before I came on this site I did'nt realize Caps fans were such an insecure lot. If some writer at the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix suggests that any player on the team was in some way deficient they start screaming about how Canadian journalists are anti-Capitals. ,

Posted by: Ottawaguy | March 3, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Is it mean or does anybody who takes on THE GREAT WILBON seem to shudder a bit? Man up, Stein. Wilbon on this one is a gas bag. Just say it. And, really, does anybody know ANYONE who wakes up and rushes to their computer to read World Wide Wilbon? hahahaha. Please. Fade to black, Wilbon; your days are over.

Posted by: caps1974 | March 3, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe anyone even reads that ass clown's columns.

Posted by: dcfan1 | March 5, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Ottowaguy: I didn't realize people from Ottowa were all smug, delusional windbags. Sorry to hear about your unfortunate mental condition.

Posted by: dcfan1 | March 5, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

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