A debate ensued: Too funny or too much?
Reaction from media and players ran the gamut from outrage to amusement. I was in Tampa -- where said celebration took place -- over the weekend and they were still talking about Ovechkin's antics. Lightning coach
All of which gets to the heart of the matter from where I sit.
Malone grew up the son of former NHLer
But that, as they say, was then and this is now. You can't apply sensibilities steeped in the '80s to today's game. The reaction to and acceptance of such antics, as well as the act of celebrating itself, are different today for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is the flow of instantaneous information (see: Twitter and YouTube) as well as the heightened coalescence of sports and entertainment as pop culture.
And it isn't as if Ovechkin's outburst was the first of its kind. The NHL in '80s featured
For the most part, players put up with those celebratory acts even then. Why? Because Williams and Nicholls were showmen. They weren't necessarily showing up the opposition -- and that's a critical difference. I think the same applies to Ovechkin: he puts on a show, yes, but showing up an opponent isn't part of his thought process. He's just an otherworldly hockey talent who also happens to be a ham. Like Williams and Nicholls, Ovechkin is a character who is not out to challenge the character of the other team.
Still, if an opposing player should take exception to such hijinks, I have no problem with that, either. Every player has the right to see it in his own way, especially in the context of competition. Not that Williams and Nicholls got free passes. Some opponents did challenge them for their over-the-top displays. Both players were competitors, so they answered those tests just as Ovechkin might have to at some point.
Lost in all of this is how teammates
In the end, no matter what your perspective, boys will be boys and I trust that the fabric of the game is still intact after all has been said and done in this matter.