Monday, December 1, 2008

What Does Gordie Howe Think About The Way Alex Ovechkin Plays The Game?

Last Saturday afternoon I watched a show on Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey, as part of the "Pioneers" series on NHL Network. As I watched the show, heard and thought about the narration and the Hall of Famer's accomplishments over his long and storied career, I also looked at the type of player he was. Surely Gordie Howe and Maurice "The Rocket" Richard were the two guys who set the tone and style of that "power forwards" like Ovechkin and players like the LA King's Dustin Brown and the Penguin's Evgeni Malkin aspire to play. Aggressive, hard, all out, "dead on", hockey, leading their teams in goals, often leading in hits, and also just not being afraid to match. Mr.Hockey's career spanned 25 years with the Red Wings before he hung up his skates the first time, and then he played with the Houston Areos and New England Whalers of the WHA before the leagues merged and he finished his career with the Hartford Whalers. He played his last NHL All-Star Game at the age of 51 in 1979.

Maybe Alex Ovechkin's contract term isn't too long after all, eh? When I watch Ovie play the game I have to wonder what guys like Hall of Famer Gordie Howe, who played the game so hard, think of the resurgence of power forwards in the NHL in general and Alexander Ovechkin's style and play in particular. Caps fans can only hope that Ovie has half the careers of Howe and Maurice "Rocket" Richard, the first "quintessential" power forwards in the NHL. "Rocket" Richard led the Montreal Canadeans to eight (8) Stanley Cup finals. Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe led the Detroit Red Wings to four (4) Stanley Cup Championships and won both the Hart and Art Ross Trophies six (6) times. So when hockey pundits wonder aloud what Ovechkin is trying to do and what he's thinking about when he plays so hard and leads his team in hits on a particular night, maybe they should think back to guys like Richard and Howe. Or if they want to not have to think so far back, they might want to think about Mark Messier's 1994 guarantee of a game six win against the Devils in the Semifinals as he led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in fifty (50) years. All that said though, I'm sure that when Ovechkin goes out on the ice every night he strives to play each night, one game at a time, while working to put together a career that will be ranked among the best of any player, ever. We Washington Capitals fans are indeed fortunate that we get to see such a great talent give his all, at virtually every NHL hockey game we go to see. So that's why I wonder what a guy like "Mr. Hockey" thinks about the way Ovechkin and the current generation of "power forwards" play the game today. I can't wait to see how the Caps look tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers, when my wife and I go to "the Phone Booth" and "Rock the Red" in Section 103.

LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!