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Wilbon takes another shot at Ovechkin


A non-hockey fanatic friend was at my house over the weekend, when the topic of the NHL playoffs came up.

"So, have we all pretty much agreed that Sidney Crosby is better than Alex Ovechkin?" he asked.

Because I'm stubborn, I chose to rephrase the statement.

"I think if you were starting an NHL team tomorrow and you could pick any one player, you'd probably take Crosby first," I said.

Look, no matter how you phrase the thing, it hasn't really been the best 12 months for people who prefer the Ovechkin side in this silly debate. Even so, I'd be reluctant to single out a 24-year old who had just finished his fifth pro season as the symbol of individual success and team failure. Michael Wilbon, though, feels differently. This is from his latest NBA column:

If LeBron James is going to be something other than the NBA version of Alex Ovechkin, which is to say a transcendent talent who collects all kinds of individual hardware but cannot win a championship, he needs to lead his team past Boston, and he should.

Hey now! Well, James is older than Ovechkin, and has two more years as a pro, so if anything, you might want to warn Alex Ovechkin about the dangers of becoming the NHL version of LeBron James. And while Ovechkin didn't shine in Game 7, there are a few names that might be higher on the list of team problems than his. In any case, I'd prefer to turn the floor over to Bog reader Eric Fingerhut, who has a better response to my famous colleague:

"If LeBron James is going to be something other than the NBA version of Alex Ovechkin, which is to say a transcendent talent who collects all kinds of individual hardware but cannot win a championship, he needs to lead his team past Boston, and he should."

Cannot? The guy is 24 and has been in the playoffs three times and now he CANNOT lead his team to the championship? I know there's an instant gratification element to sports today that says if you don't win a championship immediately, you're a choking failure, but this is ridiculous.

Wilbon's buddy Michael Jordan took seven years to win a title. Mario Lemieux took seven. LeBron is on year seven and hasn't won one yet. Elway, who Wilbon says is one of the greatest quarterbacks ever (and I agree), didn't win a title until his final two seasons. Gretzky took five years, and his first three playoff years were eerily similar to Ovechkin (loss in first round, loss in second round, huge upset loss in first round after being winningest, highest-scoring team in the league).

The Gretzky example, of course, is the one that has been used most often in recent days. Ed Frankovic did it well over at WNST:

Reference the 1981-82 Edmonton Oilers. This Wayne Gretzky led club, after being knocked out in the first round in their initial playoff appearance in 1979-80 and then defeated in round two in the post season in 1980-81, set the league on fire scoring an NHL record 417 goals! The Oilers notched 111 points and won their division, over the Vancouver Canucks, by 34 points (sound familiar?) but somehow got bounced in a best of five series by a Los Angeles Kings club that only amassed 63 points in the regular season.....Edmonton Coach Glen Sather stayed the course, made some minor personnel tweaks (added forward Ken Linesman from Philadelphia), and in 1982-83 they went to the Finals only to lose to the Islanders. But in 1984 and 1985 they were Stanley Cup Champions and in 1987 and 1988 they did that again.

Now, did the savvy observers know that was going to happen after Gretzky's third-straight disappointing spring, which ended in the shocking upset to the Kings which sent Gretzky to the world championships in Europe? They apparently did not.

''All those goals and points Gretzky got during the season,'' said Walt Tkaczuk, the Rangers' assistant coach, in the New York Times. ''They don't mean much now.''

UPI reported that the Edmonton papers "headlined the once-heralded Oilers as chokers and quitters." And The Washington Post wrote that "The Oilers learned a valuable lesson while losing their preliminary round series to Los Angeles....[The] emphasis should be on teamwork, rather than individual statistics."

''We've taken two steps forward and one step back,'' Gretzky said in his team's defense. ''It takes a big man to face his mistakes. It takes a bigger man to correct his mistakes. We'll do that next year.''

The Los Angeles crowd repeatedly chanted "Gretzky sucks" during the series, according to The Globe and Mail, which savaged Edmonton's play in the deciding game:

At no time in last night's embarrassment did the Oilers give any indication that they realized the gravity of the situation. They repeatedly ignored the strategy devised for them by coach Glen Sather and were consistently beaten to the puck by the hungry Kings.

Even before the series was over, that paper's columnist, Al Strachan, revealed that the tough questions were already beginning:

The Oilers have been following an accepted format all year and had a great deal of success. But, when they suddenly found themselves on the short end of a 2-1 count in their National Hockey League elimination-round playoffs, the second-guessing began in earnest.

And, when the essence of a team is questioned, the uncertainty usually starts at the top before it filters down. Therefore, the two names that surfaced most frequently were the names of the two men with the highest profile in the Edmonton organization - Wayne Gretzky and Glen Sather....

It is becoming increasingly clear that, at some point, Gretzky is going to have to get into a fight. Abhorrent as it may seem to those with pacifist natures and counterproductive as it may seem to fans who simply want Gretzky to score goals, it is a law of the NHL jungle that you only back down so far before turning and attacking. It has been more than a year since Gretzky's only NHL fight....

Gretzky is a genuine superstar. When you're on a pinnacle as he is, you're highly visible. If you show the slightest flaw, everybody sees it....Hockey, like any sport, can be a brutal business. When things are going well, you can do nothing wrong. When things are going poorly, watch your back.

Co-signed, Al, co-signed.

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 3, 2010; 10:28 AM ET
 
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Comments

Wonderful piece, Dan. I love the parallels to Wayne Gretzky, and the smackdown to the idiots like Wilbon who assume that an individual can will a title into being for their team.
Thanks for being one of the few actual journalists at WaPo Sports.

Posted by: pcalver1 | May 3, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Just because a sportswriter expresses an opinion on a sport, we should not assume that he knows anything about that sport. Wilbon knows nothing about hockey.

Many sportswriters do not follow hockey, or understand the game. Most of them do not throw out uninformed opinions for the sole goal of generating controversy and "buzz".

Guess I fell for this one. Not next time.

Posted by: perspective6 | May 3, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Those 2 should just shut up. Yhey only comment when things are real good or real bad. I wish they were both out of this town.

Posted by: ridgely1 | May 3, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I like the comparison with Oveckin and Jordan, in that Jordan didn't win his first title until 6 or 7 years in the league, but won several after that. Give it time.

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | May 3, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Meh, I don't usually agree with Wilbon, but he's kind of right here. It seems like people are getting all worked up over "cannot" in that sentence. I argue if you replace "cannot" with "Hasn't" it's the same thing.

It was weird, I actually had this exact thought in the break room at work this morning when the TV was showing LeB get his MVP trophy, They mentioned he was 25 and I thought "He's like the NBA's OV."

The biggest difference I can see is that CrabDribble's teams have at least made it to his sports Championship Final.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 3, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I am glad to see that you are bringing some reason and sanity to the entire Ovie-Crosby debate Dan. I would agree with the statement, "Crosby is better than Ovie," IF this was an individual sport like tennis or golf where results are entirely dependent on a single player, but hockey is not. People keep trying to simplify a multifaceted sport into a black-and-white issue. When you have team scoring leaders like Semin scoreless in 14 playoff games or Green taking cross-checking penalties during a breakaway that leads to a goal at the end of the first period, that is beyond the control of Ovie. The Elway comparison is extremely relevant. Ovie is only a few years into his career. It is far from over. Michael Wilbon is making a comparison with something he has ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE ON. He and the rest of these ignorant sports writers know only two names: Ovie and Crosby. They need to shut their mouth period.

There are a lot of ignorant talking heads out on TV today. Wilbon is one of these.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | May 3, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Don't look now but Crosby and his Pens may be on the way to losing to Montreal as well. I guess Wilbon's point is irrelevent.

Posted by: MReilly9 | May 3, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

young players need a good coach and a good scheme. Ovechkin's been allowed to freelance for too long and he's playing on a team that doesn't strongly emphasize a team concept. I don't blame Ovy. He lacks guidance from above.

And wilbon should never talk hockey. Its just embarrassing.

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 3, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon doesn't know anything about hockey. And he is an obnoxious jerk. So why do we care what he think? Just wondering.

Posted by: dcsportsdude | May 3, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

There is one factor I have not seen addressed anywhere either by writers or posters. OV, Green and perhaps Semin are big time partiers. Russian players go to the Russian House frequently and drink. Also there was a period 2 years ago when Green looked like he was in a daze. He even promised that in the off-season he would get in better shape. When you are the age of these guys, you think you are bullet proof. Hopefully the shock of losing to the Habs will send them a message and they will grow up.

Posted by: chopin224 | May 3, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Mike Wise went nuts on the Caps carousing on his radio show last Thursday. He claims that a number of the younger players are out drinking a lot. He mentioned Russia House and a place called Josephine's. I have no idea whether Wise's assertions are true. But if so, that is troubling. And I have to say that the way the Caps started some games during the last couple of months of the season, they looked like they were hungover........

Posted by: dcsportsdude | May 3, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Meh, I don't usually agree with Wilbon, but he's kind of right here. It seems like people are getting all worked up over "cannot" in that sentence. I argue if you replace "cannot" with "Hasn't" it's the same thing.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 3, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

um, i would suggest that the words cannot and hasn't dont have remotely the same meaning in this sentance.

"cannot" suggests that ov (or lebron) will never ever ever lead their teams to titles. nobody, not wilbon, me or you knows this to be true. only the amazing kreskin knows for sure.

"hasn't" is just repeating what we know now to be true. ov (and lebron) have not yet led their teams to titles. does not mean they will or wont in the future, just that they havent done so to date.

as stein points out, the same was said about gretzky, elway, MJ, etc at similar points in their carrers. what they have in common are that they are the best players on their teams and that teams win championships. one guy on an NBA or NHL team cannot win a championship on their own. only after making improvements in the teams, could MJ, elway and gretz win championships.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | May 3, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Toddlin Town Wilbon continues to embarrass himself. Great piece here. The comparison to the Oilers is priceless - as are the facts that it took 7 years for Lemieux and Jordan to win....and that LeBron's been around for 7 and still hasn't won. What about the Cav's historic flame out last year against the Magic? Some might say that was eerily similar to the Caps loss to the Habs. Wilbon evokes Ovechkin simply to get a rise out of fans. Ovi is hot. He's the guy that people that don't know hockey associate with hockey. The shame is those people listen to Wilbon. That means they're getting bad information. I'm thinking Wilbon should stick with hoops with a splash of football. Don't touch baseball or hockey.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | May 3, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Cannot and Has not are "the same thing"????? Are you kidding? No, it's simple English and those phrases have different meanings. Cannot implies it will NEVER happen; hasn't just states that it hasn't yet happened. How can you defend this

Posted by: Urnesto | May 3, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

dcsportsdude:
That is exactly the thoughts I had when seeing how slowly the Caps started some games. Hungover. In one playoff game, OV looks like he was skating through knee high water and had no energy at all. They would not be the first young players to fall victim to their own fame and money.

Posted by: chopin224 | May 3, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The response from Eric was pretty destructive to Wilbon's off the cuff remarks in his article. Just blew it out of the water. It has nothing to do with how much Wilbon knows about hockey as he probably knows as much or more than the people that keep trotting out that tired mantra. But he lost all debating points against this guy.

Well done!

Would love a response/rebuttal from Wilbon! Bc he just got served.

Posted by: rphilli721 | May 3, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Well put, Dan. And having lived through this with Peyton Manning and the Colts for many years, I must say that it's a common criticism throughout sports (as is the urge to compare/argue about who is the "best" player). Rationally, we know it comes down to building ratings and engaging fans through "debate", but it doesn't make it any easier to ignore. And on a side note, Ovechkin (who is my favorite player to watch) and Crosby are both much more talented hockey players than the writers, fans and analysts criticizing them. Just something to keep in mind.

Posted by: RandomID | May 3, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

A big thanks to Eric and Our Man the Dan!

Posted by: charley42 | May 3, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I hope that this sort of nonsense isn't part of the reason why Ovechkin felt compelled to go 1 versus 2/3/4 against Montreal's defenders so often during the series. I mean, if Alex Ovechkin is the only reason the Caps win or lose, then why not just send him out on the ice 1 against 6 while the remaining (and clearly irrelevant) members of the Capitals hang out on the bench cheering him on and feeding him occasional replacement sticks?

Posted by: bbposter09 | May 3, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of us Caps fans don't care what those two have to say about the team. PTI should be HASN -- Hot Air Signifying Nothing. If they followed hockey even casually, or did at least a little bit of research as Bowell does in his occasional Caps columns, maybe we'd care. Won't hold my breath on that...

Posted by: blackjack65 | May 3, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon's always been an idiot. He is showing it again.

Posted by: jerod1 | May 3, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Wake me up on the day Wilbon says anything resembling intelligent about something other than basketball or Chicago. He is a hockey ignoramus and Kornheiser is a buffoon who thinks rudeness is a cute shtick. Wilbon's continued employment by the Washington Post is a real puzzle to me. I never read his columns anymore because they are a waste of my time.

Posted by: qball43 | May 3, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The Gretzky comparison is instructive in that most serious hockey observers will tell you that when he played, Gretzky never led anybody to win anything.

Mark Messier was the acknowledged leader of the Edmonton Oilers everywhere but the scoresheet and in the burgeoning celebrity industry. Post-Gretzky, the Oilers won another Cup, then Messier went to NYC and won another. Post-Oilers, Gretzky won ... nada.

Ovie needs a character guy to do all the heavy lifting in the dressing room and at the practice rink so Ovie can continue to be the star and a party boy. Or Ovie's going to have to grow up, which seems unlikely.

I think Ovie's a lot more like Guy Lafleur: A big star, a supremely talented offensive player, but not a guy you can expect to lead a team ... except in scoring.

Posted by: Reditor | May 3, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Do all you who say that Wilbon has no hockey knowledge. He has said several times that he grew up playing hockey and followed the Chicago Blackhawks as a kid. That doesn't make him an expert but is doesn't make him a novice either.

Posted by: horace1 | May 3, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Comparison between sport is misplaced. In the NBA, one superstar when supported with two other All-Star calbre players is in good position to win the championship. LeBron now has Moe Williams, Shaq, and Antawn Jamision, all former All-Stars. He SHOULD be able to win an NBA title at this point with that supporting cast. Cleveland barely got by an aging Celtics team after losing by double digits.

In hockey, one transcendant star is not enough to win a title. Crosby was not successful until he was grouped with another superstar (Ovechkin) and a great supporting veteran in Bill Guerin. I've yet to see George McPhee build the supporting cast that many of the great players have in the NHL.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 3, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Do all you who say that Wilbon has no hockey knowledge. He has said several times that he grew up playing hockey and followed the Chicago Blackhawks as a kid. That doesn't make him an expert but is doesn't make him a novice either.
-------------------

its ok. George McPhee played hockey, and managed 2 organizations. And he's still learning. Hopefully anyway.

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 3, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I've yet to see George McPhee build the supporting cast that many of the great players have in the NHL.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 3, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

well he thinks he has.

that doomsday clock on McPhee's career can't tick fast enough for me.

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 3, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Many interesting, sage comments in here. However, I must take some of you to task about Wilbon's "knowledge" of hockey. He generally is spot on with his commentary, no matter the sport. No need for you to be incensed about his comment about OV. Could he have used the word "hasn't" instead of "cannot"? Sure. Methinks many of you miss the point. And I'm sure he'd love to see OV lead the Caps to a Stanley Cup here in his professional town (since the Black Hawks are light-years from a Stanley Cup). Who wouldn't? OV's the reigning MVP (like LBJ), and the Caps are a likeable team. Let's give 'em a chance - and that includes Wilbon. If you want to take anyone to task, it should be the buffoon who joins Wilbon on PTI - TK.

Posted by: Marty1953 | May 3, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

No need to bash Wilbon for lack of hockey knowledge. While he's certainly no expert, I think this was more a case of his strange urge to annoy DC fans whenever possible combined with carelessness/laziness in arguing his point. I'm sure Wilbon knows it took Michael Jordan seven years to win a title--so bashing Ovy as someone who cannot win a title after just five years is just silliness.

Posted by: TheFingerman | May 3, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

It's a guarantee that Wilbon did not say those things about Jordan after HIS 3rd year as a pro. Chucklehead.

Posted by: shanks1 | May 3, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Dan,
Thanks for putting Wilbon in his place. The Gretzky analogy is uncanny.
Sincerely,
Caps fan who hasn't lost hope

Posted by: ASchumacher | May 3, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to defend Ovechkin. I AM going to simply say that over many many years Wilbon and Kornheiser have proven they've never worn a jock in competition yet they're experts on every sport on the planet.

Posted by: bundy44 | May 3, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon is becoming a racialist in his old age (not a racist) because he sees EVERYT
HING through the prism of race. He can make a racial issue of a cup of hot tea. Wilbon is still smarting and lashing out over the beating his paisan Tiger Woods endured, and this is an opportunity for Wilbon to use his position to take cheap shots at a white player, tarnishing his star as much as Wilbon's dinner and golf buddies have been tarnished. Ovechkin is one of the best to lace up skates and he still has upside. Folks bashing him now are ignorant. Makes you wonder how WIlbon treats his colleages who dare have a different view (we know Kornheiser is God-awful to people in the business).

At one time, Kornheiser and Wilbon were interesting and funny. Now, resting on their laurels, they are simply arrogant and ill-informed.

By the way, what happens to Wilbon's theory if Montreal beats Pittsburgh? Yesterday, Halak and the Habs did to the Pens exactly what they did to the Caps.

Posted by: haunches | May 3, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I concur with those who are defending Wilbon here vis-a-vis his hockey knowledge. As any of you who have been following the Caps for the longest know, he has way more knowledge than many of us, and has reported and commented on the Caps since before many of the naysayers were old enough to go potty. I for one hope he keeps writing for the Post for a long time.

That being said, he is being dramatic on this issue, but that is what sportswriters do. And, as we Caps fans must admit, what just happened to the team is about as dramatic as it gets. Just went the wrong way for the team and its fans. I think Wilbon's analogy is mostly off-base, but the comparisson to the Oilers, which we hope is closer to the truth, has yet to be proven true.

Let's hope.

Posted by: dug2008 | May 3, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

If LeBron James is going to be something other than the NBA version of Alex Ovechkin, which is to say a transcendent talent who collects all kinds of individual hardware but cannot win a championship, he needs to lead his team past Boston, and he should.

Why did Wilbon deny on his Monday afternoon that he wrote this.... See below..

See, I hate people who simply fabricate stuff to make their point. You didn't read anywhere that I said Ovechkin cannot win in the playoffs. Why would you simply lie and attribute something to me that I didn't write. I know exactly the criticisms I've made of Ovechkin. Don't like to make your point and attribute your misinformation to me...thank you. The rest of your question, considering your tactics, falls on deaf ears.

Posted by: dph60 | May 3, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

It is sort of stupid to blame Ovie since the team has only been in playoffs three times.

The Pens put things together last year and won the Cup, but who knows if they and Crosby will win another.

That winning season doesn't make Crosby better.

Both are great players,

Posted by: Pensfans | May 3, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Dan...we don't listen to Wilbon.

Posted by: Ratzoe | May 3, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

This is an interesting story on how the sports press has changed in the last decade. Wilbon and Kornheiser are no longer journalists but "personalities." Their schtick is to insult. It finally caught up to Kornheiser (notice how few colleages came to his defense after he got his butt suspeended). What makes it interesting is he got suspended for hurling mysoginist insults at a female sports report at ESPN. Fifteen years ago, the insults and bullying readers and athletes were new and moderately amusing; now, not so much. Wilbon is on borrowed time himself. I stopped reading his chat houses a few weeks ago after they had degenerated into ad hominem attacks on readers who dared question his position. Heck, half the time all they had to do was ask a question that His Majesty Wilbon found irritating. For example, just say the name "Tiger Woods" and read Wilbon go off on the questioner.

There are different standards for people who are their close personal friends than for those who are not (and especially those that are not in their friends' clique). TOday was just classic WIlbon. Write that Ovechkin "cannot" win a championship in the morning, launch a full frontal assault in the afternoon on anyone who quotes that and asks what he meant by that.

If I were you, Steinberg, I'd keep my door open and my back to the wall. THe Post has way too many "personalities" for its own good, and when the "personalities" feel threatened or inadequately worshipped, bad things happen to careers.

Posted by: haunches | May 3, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow I can't believe I'm defending Wilbon, but he does actually follow hockey closely so those comments are racist at worst and ill-informed at best.

That said, I disagree with him. Hockey is the one sport where a single player can take over a series and deprive superior teams from their deserved victories.

Posted by: laugh_riot | May 3, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The more I read and listen to Wilbon the more I think he is a racist. He is always putting down white athletes and he will use the race card to defend any athletes he likes or has a personal relationship with. He is biased because he has friendships with so many of these athletes and it really hurts his credibility.

Posted by: pharringt | May 3, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Very good piece. Actually uses facts and reason for a change. These days every tool needs to have a say, including guys like Kornheiser and Wilbon who don't even like hockey as a sport and probably didn't even watch any of the games or they wouldn't be making stuff up about the Caps not trying hard enough. They're nothing, but trolls who get paid for what they do (to produce a reaction). When it comes to hockey they have zero credibility so why anyone even cares about what they've got to say is beyond me.

Posted by: ranndino | May 3, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

BTW, when goaltending in basketball finally becomes legal and towering, athletic centers are groomed to defend the basket from opposing teams' shots Kornheiser and Wilbon may actually understand how much of an impact a goalie that's in the zone can have on a game.

Posted by: ranndino | May 3, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

One other thing I recommend they watch is a soccer game between USA & Brazil from a few years ago, which the US ended up winning 1-0 despite Brazil's total domination. Kasey Keller was incredible in net for the US while Preki scored the only goal of the game on an improbable shot from 40 yards.

People who are fans of sports that do not have a specific player who defends the target (otherwise known as a goaltender / keeper) will never understand how that player can pretty much single handedly win a game. That's what Halak did in games 6 & 7 against us. The true experts (McPhee, Boudreau, Martin) agreed while the amateurs offered so called "analysis" based simply on the result.

Posted by: ranndino | May 3, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

nothing like the opinions of, an old whiny Jew and a south-side Chicago Shoe Shine Boy.

Who gives a 5hit what these two non-athletic fat slobs think.

Posted by: dashriprock | May 3, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Look, there's no way to sugar coat it: this was a bad bad loss. It seemed like the team was ready to take the next step--they weren't. At some point, however, if you don't have any insight, or a sense of history, or even a clear view of the current situation, you don't add much. So Wilbon, whom I generally like, doesn't follow hockey closely, has no sense of how the sport works, how long OV has been in the league and how, as bad as this was, it's happened before. He's just talking but not saying anything--at least about hockey--that has any value. Imagine how dumb you would look now having said Wayne Gretzky "cannot" win a championship. Now it's up to the team to do what the Oilers did: admit their mistakes and correct them. I hope they do because watching the end of this season really really sucked.

Posted by: Bass1 | May 3, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The comparison between the two is currently accurate. Both are big, physical players who have not gotten it done yet. This is more about folks not liking Wilbon than whether he's being accurate or not.

Posted by: kahlua87 | May 3, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon needs to relax reason they lost is Green, Semin Flash didnt show up they show up Caps win the series period, yes Ovie gets the blames team captain fine but he lead his team in oints and did his Job with backstrom . Did Wilbon watch Game 7 at all see Chimera joke on a chance , Semin hit the post, i gues snot

But all that said i think some credit needs to go to montreal.. They are playign really well Does all this talk go away if Pens lose as well

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | May 3, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon's buddy Michael Jordan took seven years to win a title. Mario Lemieux took seven. LeBron is on year seven and hasn't won one yet. Elway, who Wilbon says is one of the greatest quarterbacks ever (and I agree), didn't win a title until his final two seasons. Gretzky took five years, and his first three playoff years were eerily similar to Ovechkin (loss in first round, loss in second round, huge upset loss in first round after being winningest, highest-scoring team in the league).

this rounds out everything. this is what people should get in this whole proces. Ovie is still so young and learning to win as season pass. So what if Crosby has won early in his career better team around him but i think we all get caught up in the SID and Ovie competition but lets hold off ti'll 5 year from now

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | May 3, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if Ovie was black and cheated on his wife, allowed a dog fighting operation on his property, got all of his team out on a boat with a bunch of hookers and brought a gun into the locker, WillBone would cut him some slack. This is a team sport. The team lost.

Posted by: nosuchluck | May 3, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"Don't look now but Crosby and his Pens may be on the way to losing to Montreal as well. I guess Wilbon's point is irrelevent."

Well, granted, the entire crosby v ovechkin debate is innane, as is the comparisons by Wilbon...but...

...what Crosby does this year is irelevant. He led his team to a cup already, and was 22 when he did it. Faster than Ovechkin, Lemieux, Gretsky, etc...

He could retire tomorrow and have nothing left to prove. Cup, Olympic gold, Point total, Goal total...all before 23.

Posted by: spynnal | May 3, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

It turns out that Wilbon is a no talent fool who does not have the talent, skill or greatness of either Gretzky, Elway, James, Crosby, Ovechkin and Jordan. He writes because he actually has no true skill. I wonder if in 30 years will anyone remember him or his rants and raves. probably not. On another note who cares what Wilbon thinks. I am sick and tired of the comparisons of greatness. It is really juvenille. Anyone at that level is remarkable.

Posted by: pkme | May 3, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I no longer see why Wilbon covers Washington sports - he is clearly a Chicago sports writer or NBA pitch man - he hates Washington DC and spends as little time here as possible - he is out of touch with everything related to this town with the exception his wife's relatives - he takes every opportunity available to trash every franchise here as well as every coach, GM or player - until they leave DC - see last week's comments about Jason Campbell - or the Wizards after they were traded - Wilbon has become a Monday morning know-it-all who needs to shut his pie hole , roll up his tent and move on.

Posted by: lbhoward1 | May 3, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Wilbon has again shown his ignorance. Stopped listening to and reading Wilbon, got sucked into this one cause am reading Dan's stuff and following the Redskins.

Posted by: chtraywick | May 3, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Steinz beavering away in the archives should strike fear into the Rich and Famous who take shortcuts to meet a deadline - like Wilbon, who knows and loves hockey from childhood, or Feinstein and his doom-saying about expanding the NCAA tournament. I shook your hand and thanked you at last year's opening day, Steinz, and you were gracious, especially considering that Harry Kalas had just died and there was such a sadness that afternoon. I thank you again.

Posted by: flynnie321 | May 3, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that anybody still pays any attention to Wilbon whatsoever.

Posted by: doogiex | May 3, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Korheiser is an unathletic wimp from New York. Wilbon is an unathletic corny bama from Cicago. Who cares what those two clowns think. Neither are qualified to comment about hockey, their knowlege base is pathetic and dismal when it comes to hockey, as well as other sports.

Posted by: Theone9 | May 3, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I'll say it:

Mike Wilbon is a race-baiting, hypocritical, no-talent, hack. He is a clumsy journalist, a simpleton, and a lost his edge as a reporter several years ago after he hit the big time with ESPN/ABC. He is also a pompous, gutless, jerk as a human being, completely and utterly full of himself, and a pathetic name-dropper. Last but not least, he is so unbelievably stubborn, he does not possess neither the capacity to admit when he is undeniably wrong, nor the open-mindedness to consider opposing viewpoints.

I have followed his career for years and years and was once a fan of his writing, when he actually took some time and thought before putting ink to paper. But his work has gone to crap in the last several years all while his ego has ballooned to epic proportions.

To me, he is an absolute joke.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 3, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Marty1953, Wilbon is an idiot. Still, I'll admit that this is the first time I've not read a bunch of racist crap from him in a long time.

Posted by: bentoenail | May 3, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Kornheiser went to Larry Brown's basketball camp and stood up to world-class bullies like Billy Martin and Bobby Knight. He's funny, and sometimes comedians overstate things. The only likeness we have of Aristophanes was by a group of ancient Greek fans who inscribed it, "He made us laugh." Howard Cosell was not an athlete, and despised the theory that because you played a sport you could cover it well. Boz was not a hockey player - he wrote some great hockey columns this season.

Posted by: flynnie321 | May 3, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

OV ain't no Gretzky and the Caps ain't the Oilers ... not even close.

Posted by: Rpal | May 3, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Any comparison between hockey and basketball is apples and oranges. In BB, the top five play 90% of the game. In hockey, the top 5 players might play 40% of the game at most. Hockey is much more a team sport. If you took away the goalie and made a smaller net, maybe you could compare the sports. No one hockey player except the goalie can impact the team the way James impacts Cleveland. The reporter in question should realize this before he opens his fingers and starts typing.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 3, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

There is also no sport like hockey for maximum physical exertion. In Game 7, the Caps were playing in 48 second shifts. if you've ever sat close enough to the ice, you see it - the players are performing at such a high level that they are oblivious to the crowd - they don't hear them, even at Centre Bell. That's why there's no home ice advantage.

Posted by: flynnie321 | May 3, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Dan - The only reason you define the Crosby v Ovie comparison "silly" is because Ovie is on the losing end of it. Crosby is better, has proven that by leading his respective teams to championships. Ovie, has led his team to a first round exit.

Ovie = Fail (so far).

Posted by: caruff7 | May 3, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon and Kornheiser – Two of the reasons I initially subscribed to The Post.

Wilbon and Kornheiser – Two of the reasons I cancelled years ago.

Posted by: HappyWeagle | May 3, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Why in god's name would anyone expect people to be Alex #1 in anything after this years playoffs?

He isn't and shouldn't be #1 when Crosby is right around him in stats AND has a Stanley Cup AND is still in the playoffs

Just facts

Posted by: Bious | May 3, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse


Wilbon = Boring

Posted by: hessone | May 3, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Since the ONLY time Wilbon and that loud-mouth Kornheiser pay any attention whatsoever to the NHL and the Capitals is during the run-up to the playoffs, their analysis and opinion means nothing. Nada. Zilch. Squadooch. Wilbon phones in the show from some Arizona golf course and Kornheiser hasn't seen a hockey game since Hunter retired. PTI is so lame - it used to be fun and entertaining. Now it's two old blow-hards pontificating about sports figures. Except the NBA. They certainly slurp over the NBA. Good grief.

Posted by: sue1047 | May 3, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon and Kornheiser. Enough said. Seriously between the two how many days not years of collective organized sports in their lives? That is the most worthless show on TV. Ovechkin is a star and will always be one. Jordan won multiple nba titles and none till what year seven? The caps are a young team with still a ton of upside.

Posted by: dc_sports_md_va | May 3, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin is totally overrated. Period.

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Posted by: yytuiyodhryrtuytu | May 3, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I loved the comparison with the Oiler's run. I think I've backed away from the ledge now.
As for whoever said Ovi and the Caps need someone else to do the leading and heavy lifting - they have 2, Brooks and Nicky.

Posted by: bluejeener1 | May 4, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

The 1981-82 Oilers also had (in the series against LA) the single biggest choke job in a playoff game, period...the game known as the Miracle on Manchester Avenue (where the old LA Forum is located).

Up 5-0 in the third period of game 3 (this was in the old days of the Smythe Division- VAN, EDM, CGY, WPG, LAK and seemingly EDM and CGY having a "Battle of Alberta" every year- I imagine many Washington fans view the old Patrick Division similarly), Edmonton lost. Take that last sentence in. A five-goal lead with 20 minutes to play, and they LOST. In OT.

Ask Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Fuhr, etc. about it today. And then duck.

When Washington loses a playoff game with a 5-goal third period lead...let me know.

Posted by: jcurrin | May 4, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

take a look at another local phenom: rookie of the year in 1982 followed by mvp and world series chanp in 1983.

Now count the number of rings Cal Ripken and the Orioles have since...

Posted by: HankC_57 | May 4, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Lebron plays almost the whole game in a goalieless sport. Ovechkin plays a little over a third and if he were to skate through everyone he would still have to beat a goalie.

Posted by: makplan20002 | May 4, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I am looking forward to the day when Ovechkin and Crosby are both history because only then will we be able to do a real comparison. Both are great players with wholly different styles.

In the long term we will be thankful we have Ovechkin and not Crosby. Ovie will outlast the Mario-like Crosby, and he will end up with more Stanley Cup rings than the kid.

With the talent they have in Hershey and in DC, the Caps will be the next dynasty in the NHL, champions for years to come.

This is a great time to be a Caps fan!

Posted by: bryanmcoleman | May 4, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Publically leveling factless, groundless, pointless, purely speculative and ultimately mean-spirited accusations against Ovie or anyone else on the team you are supposedly a "fan" of is really classless behavior in my book. Nauseating really. There, I said it. And I said because I've wanted to say it for a week now and it's just been building up and building up.

Either get some perspective people or find another team/sport/hobby/playground/dark corner/rock/cave/universe to exist in. Enough of this negative cr*p! It's not doing anyone any good; in fact it can actually be quite harmful. Some of these comments/"facts" in these comments sections and in these articles (not this particular one though) could be construed as quite slanderous, actually. Just sayin'.

Ovie's been one of the best things that has happened for hockey in general and sports in this region in a long, long time. This team is now an elite team, out of the basement in five years. Best record this season; record number of wins with Ovie as the C. Great time to watch and love hockey. And yet now, many of you see fit to throw him out with the trash like he did you all some egregious, personal harm or foul.

Wah-wah-wah! Poor me, I've been the Cap's biggest fan for eighty years! Ovie sucks! He did nothing good this season! He's fat! He's partying all the time! This team sucks and everyone needs to go! Here are all the stats that have ever been generated relevant to hockey that will support my opinion!!! I'm not watching this team next season!!!

Sad, sad excuses for fans. Some have gone way beyond passive fairweather-ville into aggressive, gleeful, back stabbing territory.

The saddest part is that all of you who are dissin' and hatin' now will show up when the going's good again and still be slapping eachother on the back as if you knew they were going to be great the whole time (and you'll find some stats to back if all up) and you'll sleep well with happy dreams.

Not me. I'm here and staying. I'll take the bad with the good. The Caps didn't need to win the Cup nor did Ovie need to be superhuman for me to be a fan and stay a fan. I love this team and can't wait for next season - GO CAPS!!!

(And I hope to god that Ovie knows that he still has many, many supporters here - because he does as do all the other players!!)

Posted by: nena1 | May 4, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

up til now, Crosby is better. Ovie is a post-season failure, to this point. suck it up caps fans and suck it up Ovie. you need to decide on what is important in your hockey career and focus.

Posted by: doughless | May 4, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Ovie has not been the same player since the LATEST steroid investigatio surrounding the Capitals became news a few weeks before the season came to a close. A coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. But the bottom line is that Crosby, at two years younger than Ovie, is the game's best and the clear choice as to who to build a team around.

Posted by: southPgh | May 5, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

@sotuhPgh

Ovechkin was tested at the Olympics which has a much more stringent testing policy than any U.S. professiona sports league.

Crosby is good, but I would prefer Ovechkin.

Just like I would prefer Dan Marino over Mark Rypein at QB even though Rypein won a SB title.

If your reasoning for picking Crosby over Ovechkin is because of the Penguins Stanly Cup last year then I guess you would also choose Mark Rypein over Marino.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 5, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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