It wasn't aimed at the Tampa Bay Lightning directly or deliberately, it was aimed at the fact #50 was notched against them. That's about all I take from the where, when and why of Alex Ovechkin's goal celebration Thursday night at Times Palace.
That also being said, is there a place for this in the NHL? Or is it too over the top? While the National Football League levies fines for players doing elaborate touchdown celebrations, it doesn't stop players from finding new ways to either celebrate elaborately or over-do celebrations of even simple tackles.
It's normal for the NHL to see controlled, and emotional goal celebrations -- the boards-bump, the fist punch, the group celebration -- and it's the subtlety that makes it special. It can almost be termed as humble. It doesn't mean you aren't enthused, it doesn't mean a milestone hasn't been reached as the red light goes off.
"Teeth and equipment can be replaced. Goals last forever," is a great saying that keeps coming to mind over this. It's not what comes after that should be on display, it's the actual event itself that everyone needs to focus on - because that's where the magic lies.
And that's the truth about the major feats of every sport. You don't need to do an elaborate dance after a sack or a touchdown in the NFL. You don't need to arrogantly carry your bat as you slowly walk down the first base line admiring your home run in baseball as you go. Nor do you need to talk trash to the camera after an elaborate dunk during an NBA game in order to hype the spectacle for viewers at home.
What you do need to do is realize that a personal milestone means absolutely nil while there is still stuff to be accomplished for the team. Like winning the game.
But of course, ability and accomplishments breeds arrogance... That will always be a fact about sports... And of course, that's still on display from Alex Ovechkin. He's looking forward to the backlash. In regards to the likelihood he gets called out on Saturday by Canadian hockey legend and TV personality Don Cherry, Alex is quoted in the Tampa Tribune :
"Oh yeah, he's going to be ticked off for sure. I love it," Ovechkin said. "I can't wait till he says something about me. Old coaches, old system, you know?"
Ability breeds arrogance, and Alex will keep being Alex. This isn't the first time he has been the center of attention for something he has done on ice that was put into question, and it won't be the last. That's Alex.
But he doesn't need to showboat in order to get the league to realize he's accomplished something on ice.