I think John Buccigross takes steroids. Seriously I've enjoyed reading this interview with him, but his latest article is just sick, like Ovie would say. He is getting better by leaps and bounces. As I said before I've never been his fan, but I am now.
John Buccigross, ESPN, Feb. 24, 2009 "NHL stereotypes, they are a changin'":
...The old stereotype of Russian players was that they were dour, aloof, gloomy, boring and soft. One of the enduring observations from the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" was the Soviet Union players acting like voyeurs as the young Americans reveled like schoolboys after their victory. It was as if having fun while playing hockey never entered the Soviet players' minds. That's because, as we now know, they weren't really having fun. Hockey was a full-time job, and their personal lives were full of conformity, monotony, few true freedoms and no blue jeans.
Plus, Russian swimsuit models had yet to hit the mainstream.
So, knowing this broad piece of hockey history, one can understand how going from those robotic and bemused Russian players watching Team USA in 1980 to Ovechkin acting like an over-served frat boy after scoring a goal is quite a leap. And the irony or coincidence is even more rich when you consider this big, bad Soviet (well, until he was 6) is wearing red, white and blue while playing in Washington, D.C. Talk about smashing the irony curtain. Ovechkin, the Russian, now appears to be the player who cares the most about winning while having the most fun. Can you imagine Slava Fetisov doing what Ovechkin did at this year's All-Star festivities in Montreal?
Some do not like such showmanship in the NHL. Here is what Crosby said when asked about Ovechkin's showmanship: "Like it or lump it, that's what he does." Crosby told reporters after Sunday's game: "Some people like it, some people don't. Personally, I don't like it."
First of all, I have never heard the phrase "like it or lump it." My fellow "SportsCenter" anchor John Anderson has, so I'm guessing either it's a Southern Canada/Wisconsin thing or I am dumber than I thought. Second, isn't it interesting, with the "Miracle on Ice" image as a reference point, that the Russian players now are being chastised for having too much fun?
Commenting on Ovechkin's youthful enthusiasm, the 21-year-old Crosby sounded like a 78-year-old Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino."
"Quit shooting pucks in my yard! Tell your dad to buy a net!"
I'm all for hating your opponent. I despised my opponent. But complaining about a young athlete getting caught up in the moment was a rare swing and miss from Sid. Even Bing Crosby sang a Christmas song with David Bowie.
Maybe I'm all drunk watching "The 8 Ball" bounce around NHL rinks and seeing what his singular passion is doing to downtown Washington. Caps fans have had a lot of good and appealing players come through town, but none like Ovechkin. The Capitals are an elite team because they have more than one great NHL player, but they are pop stars because of No. 8. He's the straw that stirs this vodka and tonic. We've come a long way, baby.
The flamboyant Russian with the tinted shield, yellow skate laces and hockey heart on his sleeve plays the game with such flair, emotion, love and fearlessness, he reminds you of ... Don Cherry.
And the businesslike Canadian with the serious scowls, the "get off my lawn" sound bites and the impatience usually found in sixth-grade math teachers is playing the game with such weight and frustration, he comes off like a machine and reminds you of ... Leonid Brezhnev.
Help needed! Someone with Photoshop please!
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