Giving a Devil his due, responding to the Ovechkin backlash
This week, a nod to the greatness (and gamesmanship) of New Jersey Devils goaltender
Records, even the ones that
It wouldn't bother me if Brodeur never got another shutout. Just sharing Sawchuk's mark seems to me to be at least as satisfying as breaking it (which he will surely do). Erasing Sawchuk from his place in history is a shame in some ways. No athlete ever suffered more for his art and accomplishments. But this is pro sports we're talking about, and Brodeur not only did the job in his own inimitable style, he's likely to push the mark to a point where perhaps his total will stand as long or longer than Sawchuk's.
At the moment that Brodeur logged No. 103, his closest competition -- Detroit's
Brodeur has benefitted from the fact that he plays for a team that puts a premium on defensive play. He's also had the advantage of having played a significant portion of his career in the so-called "dead puck" era when goals were exceptionally hard to come by. But other goalies enjoyed similar circumstances and most don't have half the shutouts that Brodeur has accumulated. This is a record that he has earned and one that likely will stand the same test of time as Sawchuk's.
Two other items regarding Brodeur:
Just prior to coming to Buffalo for last Monday's match, Brodeur made a point of noting that Sabres netminder
Ruff's nobody's fool. The Devils last season ended Buffalo's belated run for a playoff berth in a late-season game in which Miller wasn't at his best and neither were his teammates. The coach clearly wanted it understood that he wasn't blaming his goalie for that most recent poor outing against the Devils. He was also trying to reinforce the point that while Miller is clearly Buffalo's best player, he can't beat the best in the game all by himself. The sooner Miller's teammates realize that (and that they can't allow the Devils in general, and Brodeur in particular, to get inside Miller's head), the better off they will be.
Brodeur deserves some credit for that. In years past, he would often throw praise in the direction of former Sabres great
I will give some credit to Miller here. He rebounded from that loss, just his sixth of the season, with a 3-0 shutout of the Capitals on Wednesday night in Buffalo. "We all knew what was at stake," he said after that game. "You can't lose three in a row and call yourself a top team. ... We got back on our feet here."
They got their heads on straight as well.
A record number of you wrote regarding
For starters, I never wrote that I was at the game in which Ovechkin leveled then-Sabre
It was not a lie as many of you wrote. It was a misstatement that I acknowledged as soon as humanly possible.
Regarding my statement that Ovechkin appeared to be trying to put a shoulder to
I did say that as a result of Ovechkin's hit in the playoffs last spring,
Regarding the charge that I left out some questionable plays by Gleason in that game: Guilty. But I also left out that Ovechkin regularly targeted Pittsburgh's
Regarding the charge that Ovechkin's hit on
To those of you who argue that Kaleta wouldn't have been cut had he not been wearing a shield, I'd say that's a possibility. But I would also argue that his shield wouldn't have cut him had he not been driven face-first into the boards with such force and reckless abandon that the officials saw fit to throw Ovechkin out of the game.
Several of you mentioned that
It's okay to single out May's response: "Incidental contact! Remember, it's a physical game. People forget that. I have no issue with him. He's fast and aggressive and stuff happens." But take in the whole picture.
One could also point out that "stuff happens" to May as well, and he may have to testify in an Ontario court about a bounty being put on the head of
One can also point out that until he changed his statement after Ovechkin was officially suspended, Capitals coach
It's hard to read "Ovie's all right with me" into a statement like that, and believe me, Bruce, as ridiculously ridiculous as it sounds, I read it several times and confirmed it before I commented on it.
To those of you who said I had no right to compare Ovechkin's hits to those of Bertuzzi,
My argument on that point was with Mr. Leonsis. While we will no doubt continue to agree to disagree on some issues, my hope is that he, as one of the more enlightened owners in the NHL, will perhaps come to see the value of promoting a certain amount of respect among players, because if he or someone like him doesn't, the kind of carnage we are seeing on an almost nightly basis simply won't stop.
And imagine the number of letters I might receive if someone were to bulldog Ovechkin to the ice or crack him with a stick upside the head or nail him with a two-fisted smash to the face. Ovechkin is not Philadelphia's
There's a long history of players like that in the NHL. They are there because the owners allow them to be there, and until one or more owners stand up and say "enough," these players will carry on in ever-escalating fashion.
Letting players, even great ones like Ovechkin, cross over to the "reckless" side of the game simply enables the truly hopeless thugs like Carcillo to be even bolder while putting the greats at risk.
Hopefully, Alex Ovechkin, Ted Leonsis, the Capitals organization and their many fans will come to realize that's a reasonable opinion.