Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don't matter, and those who matter, don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss
Girls just wanna have fun ~ Cyndi Lauper
Make some fun, happy time ~ Alex Ovechkin

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Wish for 2011/2012

Well, Caps fans, it's been an interesting run, once again. I am not going to ruminate over Caps coaching problems or player's lack of drive. I'm going to leave that to my more experienced and more knowledgeable bloggers. I have just one wish for next season: no more Prima Donnas.

I may be the only one in Caps fandom that feels this way, but I doubt it. And I don't know what happens with players on other teams, maybe they have this problem as well. All I can say is; I would like to see less of our team in commercials and twitpic'd partying; then I can believe they take their jobs seriously.

Before you start bashing; yes, it is great to see Ovi doing commercials, but I think he's being used by behind-the-scenes moneymaking machines. He doesn't need this extreme exposure, he's currently one of the most famous hockey players to hit the ice in years. Famous for his skill and personality. Let's face it, do you use a certain product just because he endorses it in a commercial? If so, click the big red X in the corner of your computer screen right now, this post is definitely not for you. But, quick trips to New York for magazine photo shoots or commercial tapings during the season should be off limits, even if it's Ovi, Green or Boudreau. He and the rest of our team have a job to do and get paid pretty well to do it. Let's concentrate on that next season. As for the others, you know you groan when one of their commercials comes on for the one billionth time. I wish some of these commercials involved some dignity, but alas, this is not so. Better to not have them at all then to become the butt of jokes.

And, yes, 24/7 was great. I loved watching all that went on in the Caps' and Penguin's locker rooms. I still laugh when I think of "Fuck you, Geno", but I have to believe it was a distraction, no matter what Caps' management says. I wasn't surprised when the team's slump coincided with the HBO cameras watching everything they do. (Well, not exactly coincided with their arrival, more like coincided with the series airing). How would you feel if you knew a camera was watching every move you made? I'm sure the guys got used to it, learned to ignore them, rose to the challenge and overcame the intrusion (the win at the Winter Classic kind of tells me they did). But, even though it was interesting and entertaining, you and I know two of the most ridiculous moments were watching our coach get interviewed with some kind of sauce on his chin and insisting on stopping for ice cream at 10 a.m. while Christmas shopping, and that only added more fuel to the fire of ridicule from fans of other teams.

As to the partying, boys will be boys, I know this. Of course they are allowed to do what they want, they are grownups, but a little decorum should be used here as well. I don't think the management needs to issue curfews like our guys are in high school, but I do think the guys need to remember that they are professional athletes and not in the cast of Jeresy Shore. Party within realistic boundries, guys. Save it for when you don't have a game the next day. Show us you care about your performance so we can have faith that our hard earned dollars aren't being wasted on tickets to watch you play.

Admittedly, a great deal of the emotion I feel right now is based on that ridicule from other teams' fans. I do not enjoy feeling like we are the laughingstock of the NHL. I do not like hearing that one of our fans had beer poured all over her by a fan of the opposing yet winning team. And, honestly, I can deal with it when my coworkers from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia seem drawn to pointing out how silly our team looks in insurance or rug cleaning commercials. Based on Twitter responses, even Caps fans know how silly our team looks. And that is the point of this diatribe. Prima Donnas do not enhance, they detract.

I hope next season is not filled with promises of the Stanley Cup. I would rather it be filled with promises of professional, dignified, and serious concentration on the task at hand. Our team is filled with talent, we should be able to hold our heads high at the end of next season, no matter what the outcome; knowing that our team worked their hardest, gave it their all and acted like professionals the whole way. Winning is a serious business, even if it is only a "game".

9 comments:

  1. Let's not forget about the million "optional practices or skates" that the coaches call... seriously, make that shit mandatory

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  2. Well said! You hit the nail on the head, and echo what many Caps fans feel!

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  3. To be honest, I agree. At this point the distraction need to stop. But let me honest , Not even talking about the injuries of Green and Wideman, our team CAN NOT score in the playoffs. They take ill-advised shots from the point and no one crashes the net.

    Secondly, Passing needs to be crisper. Everything on the PP revolves around getting Ovie the puck at the point but he is always 60 ft away and never at the top of the circles to take shots. We need to learn to pass better to open up better shots and be patient. What good is 50 shots in two periods if you only get one goal? Quality over Quantity right now is what they need to focus on. If they work on the basics everything will fall into place.

    Third, WHY THE F is Ovie stick handling so much this year .. He never pulls that move off .. pick your eyes up and make a crisp pass to a man in the middle to the guy who is Streaking down the Side.

    I have played hockey for years, May not be a genius but honestly everyone out there looks like they wanna be the hero instead of playing solid Deffense and be patient with shots and passes.

    Sorry for the rant had to get that off my chest.

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  4. Ovechkin gets a lot of flack from the general public, especially fans of other teams, for being selfish; for being a partier; for being irresponsible; and for being a “one-trick pony.” What these critics don’t know is how much he works on his game on his own time, how badly he hates to lose, how earnest he is in working to improve and expand his skill set, and how physically active he is when he’s not playing.

    He comes from an athletic family who pride themselves on team play which garners measurable accomplishments. His greatest influence is his mother, who won gold for the Soviet Olympic women’s basketball team. Does anyone really believe he’d let her down, or that he’d engage in habits or behavior that would be detrimental to his ability to compete? I doubt it.

    IRT Kim: the skates may be optional, but the team shows up for every practice in full. They cover strategy, they review video footage of previous games, and they work on strength and conditioning. Just because you don't see them on the ice doesn't mean they're not in the building. They may need the rest after a grueling game, they may need to heal from an injury, so they may take the option not to drill. That's why you'll often see scratched players skating, but not players who were in the game.

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  5. Optional skates are not a problem. They're standard and I think people who really understand the game and what goes on during a season have no problem with it. It sounds bad on the surface to say that a given player skipped an optional skate but in reality I think it's usually better for them to do so - namely the high minute guys.

    I agree on the commercials for the most part - specially things like BBs "cupholder" commercial and the Ovechtrick that boast about accomplishments that haven't been achieved.

    What I really wish though is that Ovi would tell the Russian national team - sorry, not playing this year.

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  6. I agree with everything that is said....psujohn makes a good point, while the commercials as entertaining as they are, take away from the task at hand. There needs to be a sense of purpose, rather than making empty guarantees of victory...don't get cocky, play the game, and work hard to achieve the goal of winning a cup. Don't be money grubbing prima donnas like Capsgirl said...go out, play hard, and be no-names. But most importantly, win...without choking.

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  7. I'm a newer Caps fan, but I'll share my observations. I totally get where you're coming from here. I've been a 30 year fan of a baseball team that has never won the World Series. And I'm only 35. I may only be at the tip of the iceberg of my disappointment. I recently went on a rant about how my team's ownership and management care more about making the short term profit, rather than spending money on talent that can actually take my team to the promised land. In a way, I'm thankful that they have a salary cap in hockey, so I don't have to be depressed about the same thing in the NHL.

    But I think I understand why the players do the things they do: they have about 10 years to make their fortune by playing hockey and being relevant, if they are lucky. They aren't in commercials because they want to make other people money. They are in commercials, because THEY want to make money. If I were in their position, I would do the exact same thing. How else am I going to be able to maintain my standard of living for the additional 40 or so years I’ll be living after my career is over and I’m irrelevant? If I'm used to being rich, not being rich is going to suck. That’s a fact, and it's human nature. People can argue until the cows come home that they don’t need $10 million a year to be happy. That’s unlikely. If you’re used to having $10 million a year, your mind is going to have to make a very big adjustment when you don’t. People tend to hold athletes to a different standard, and the fact is that they have the same concerns in life that the rest of us do – some might say they are greedy. I don’t think so, really. They’re opportunistic like every other human in the world, so I can’t really judge them for how they make their living as long as its legal.

    As far as the extracurricular stuff being distractions…yeah, that could be the case. But I can say for a fact that I wouldn’t be a Caps fan if it weren’t for 24/7. I’ve never been compelled to watch a lot of hockey growing up in San Diego even though I’m a pretty voracious sports fan. Then, at the suggestion of my brother, I watched 24/7 on YouTube and now I’m addicted. So I know they met part of their goal with the series – which is to introduce hockey to people that wouldn’t normally watch it. I grew up with Gretzky playing 100 miles away from me and even that couldn’t turn me into a hockey fan. Now I know all the teams, ruminate on strategy and follow the league with the fervor of a fan that grew up watching Hockey Night In Canada. So to me, 24/7 was more than just entertainment – it was a window into a world that I feel I missed out on. So I’m glad they did it. I think it was good for hockey and good for the NHL. Whether we like it or not, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are the faces of the NHL, I would rather have him on my team, than not even if it means that he’s going to have more on his plate than a journeyman player.

    So at the end of the day, the trick is balance. They need to find a way to win and do the things they need to do in order to maintain their long term happiness and fulfill their roles as representatives of this awesome sport. I hope they find that balance. I’m invested now and would like to see them win a Stanley Cup.

    As far as other fans laughing at you, take it from me, a 30 year fan of a team that rarely wins - it sucks. But being a fan of a team is a lot like being in a committed relationship. It’s hard work. You have to accept them for who they are, faults and all. You will complain, nitpick, call them out on their b.s., get extremely frustrated but at the end of the day you will still cheer for them. No matter how much you try not to, you will not be able to help yourself.

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  8. Wordflyer said it: Amen.

    I wish they could read this post. I agree 100+% -- Optional practices, commercials, endorsements, etc. They need to focus on their jobs and that is to win hockey games and Stanley Cup.

    Here's to hoping they have learned from this season and make final changes for a championship. :-/

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