Gosh, it gets tedious to read the hockey reports in the Sporting News. The title of a current epistle is Ovechkin falling flat in playoff debut.
Are we watching the same games? Are we reading the same stat sheets? Do the Flyers get no credit for executing well?
Frankly, this type of reportage is more an indictment of the flawed mentality prevailing in pro sports that serves as a convenient crutch for lazy journalism. That theory is that one player can do it all in a TEAM SPORT. With this approach, a "journalist" can cut their writing time in half by simply pulling up the same bits and pieces from previous articles on the same person - and then adding all the usual post season cliches. Add in a salient quote like, "we have to work harder," and voila - another meaningless article for publication for which one gets paid.
Sure, there are players in every sport who are great during the regular season but fail to show up for the championship games. But, that hardly is the case with Ovechkin. At this point in the playoffs, how many hockey players have zero points? Most of them. How many players currently have racked up three points? Not too many.
Obviously, the team with the most points on the board wins the games, so points are important. But to present a case that Ovechkin is not working hard enough gives little credit to the abilities of the Flyers to figure out how to effectively shut him down. As we know, on any given day anything can happen in the playoffs. But let's face it, the overall season numbers indicate that the Flyers have more experience and depth. It is going to take more than one determined player to beat a whole team that wants the same prize.
Unfortunately for hockey, Mr. Bettman came to his position from basketball, the worst offending sport for lionizing individual players as the only reason to go watch a game. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody that Bettman is pushing this approach with hockey. In basketball, nobody plays Cleveland; they play LeBron. Nobody plays the Lakers, they play Kobe,and so on.
And as a result of that warped approach to team sports, it is a wonder we don't see even more articles that state a particular player has "failed."
Believe me, the Caps aren't my team. But, I appreciate quality hockey and quality hockey players - on any team. Unfortunately, it is pretty disturbing that articles such as the above in the Sporting News are the best "analysis" we can expect in much of the mass media.