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марта 2009 года.
An overdose of Ovechkin?; Ex-Leaf showman Tiger Williams roars proudly about jubilant celebrations by Capitals' sniper // Toronto Star
There is, according to one of hockey's more original showmen,a certain genius to Alex Ovechkin.
"I think he must be a reincarnation of Harold Ballard," said Dave (Tiger) Williams yesterday from Vancouver before hopping a plane for a charity game in Whitehorse. "Think about it. Not only is everyone in the hockey business talking about him every day, he's got the Washington Capitals front and centre every day.
"Good for him."
You can count the one-time Maple Leaf tough guy among those applauding Ovechkin's controversial post-goal celebrations, which should be no surprise given Williams' penchant for coming up with a new celebratory angle or two during his colourful 15-year NHL career.
Those who have criticized Ovechkin's audacious bit of pantomime following his 50th goal of the season last week - hello, Don Cherry - might remember that Williams set the standard almost 30 years ago when he rode his stick cowboy-style after scoring a goal at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Yep, a good old Canadian boy from Weyburn, Sask., and a fighter, to boot.
Two points are critical about that occasion. He wasn't wearing a Leaf jersey when he did it. And he never repeated it in an NHL game.
"Only did it once. Funny how people think I did it over and over," said Williams, who returned from a trip to visit Canadian troops in Afghanistan two weeks ago.
"It was my first game with Vancouver back at Maple Leaf Gardens after being traded, and the only other time I did it was 10 or 12 years ago playing in an alumni game at the Gardens.
"But I guess everyone relates to the original."
The date was Dec. 10, 1980, and the Canucks triumphed 8-5 with five third-period goals. But it was Williams' goal - his 17th of the season in what would be a 35-goal campaign - that put Vancouver ahead 5-4 in the third and made all the headlines.
After beating Leaf goalie Jim Rutherford with a wrist shot, Williams took several strides and then hopped on to his stick, riding it down the ice while gesturing emphatically at different parts of the crowd.
He did it again after being named third star.
"Hey, you've got to put on a show for the folks," he said that night. "After all, this is show business, and there's no business like show business."
Contemporaries of Williams, like Andre Dupont and Bill Goldsworthy, had their trademark goal celebrations, and players like Mike Foligno with "The Leap" and Rob Brown with his windmill move followed in later years.
But Williams' cowboy-ride remains one of the best known, although he didn't get the grief that Ovechkin has received.
"Hey, I was playing road hockey with my grandson in Calgary last week, and he was hooting and hollering when he scored, and I was hooting and hollering when I scored," said Williams. "Good for Ovechkin to be excited about his job. How do we want it done? Have someone write out a book of etiquette and we'll look at it. That's what sport is supposed to be all about."
About Cherry's criticism, Williams calls the Coach's Corner star a "great Canadian" but said Cherry is misguided.
"Yeah, (Ovechkin) could stop, and then Grapes could be certain of having all the attention," said Williams. "Think he wouldn't want that?
"Look, if (Ovechkin) was a Canadian guy, Grapes wouldn't say a thing. My question to him would be, what about the picture they show every time Coach's Corner comes on? Name one other coach that stood with one foot on the boards mocking the referee. He did that because he was caught up in the moment."
Some have tried to imitate Williams' memorable stick ride, most recently his 6-year-old grandson, Ethan, in a tyke game.
"I said, 'How did it feel?'" said Williams. "And he said, 'Grampa, it hurt my privates.'"
Now there's a good reason to take it easy after scoring a goal.