It's all gone wrong for the Capitals, sitting firmly in last place in the East. (They do have a game in hand on the Islanders, which is a very sad parenthetical to write.) Fairly or not, much of the blame has fallen on Alexander Ovechkin, once a consensus Top-2 player in the world, now painted as an underachiever who doesn't seem to enjoy hockey anymore.
Ovechkin's numbers are solid if unspectacular, but he does disappear for entire games at a time. Last night was one of those games, a 4-1 loss in Philadelphia. The second of back-to-back games, and four days after a hat trick against the Devils, Ovechkin seemed to take the night off. Late and non-existent backchecking, dumb turnovers, a poorly timed shift change that gave the Flyers' a man advantage on their fourth goal, and this over-the-top attempt to draw a penalty:
Mike Milbury is an angry person in general. And Mike Milbury has tended to get after Ovechkin, for being soft and undisciplined and dirty and worst of all, European. Put it all together, with NBC Sports airing Caps-Flyers and the game being a blowout by the second intermission, and you get one of the all-time venomous Milbury rants.
We're not sure how much of the rant Ovechkin heard—whether he heard Milbury urge him to "act like a man," tell him "he should be ashamed of himself," declare that "he fails the [superstar] test miserably." But afterwards, Ovechkin addressed Milbury's comments, however briefly.
"That's his point," Ovechkin said. "I don't listen to those guys. I don't listen to nobody on that. They can talk whatever they want, to be honest with you."
What's Russian body language for "dismissive waking motion?" Milbury's spot-on, by the way. But as The Boy Who Cried Crap, he's melted down too many times for even his accurate criticism to register.