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марта 2009 года.
Alexander the great entertainer; 'You have to show emotion if you are an emotional guy,' says Ovechkin of spectacle // Toronto Star
Alex Ovechkin said he was just having fun.
As far as the 23-year-old superstar from the Washington Capitals is concerned, his celebration in the moments following his 50th goal last week in Tampa was nothing more than just that - a bit of fun.
It's been over a week since that milestone goal, however, and the debate over whether or not the celebration was overboard continued to rage yesterday as the Capitals and Leafs met at the Air Canada Centre.
"It's a big number, I think for everybody. If I get it why (can't I) celebrate?" Ovechkin offered before last night's 3-2 shootout loss to the Leafs. "If you win the lottery, a million dollars, you go to the bar and drink a lot. I scored 50 goals and I just celebrated."
Last night, Ovechkin deked Leafs goalie Martin Gerber for his 51st goal of the year. He simply kissed his hand in celebration, muted in comparison to his exuberant celebration in Tampa.
In the aftermath of that 50th goal, critics argued Ovechkin was showboating and taunting Tampa. The talk even continued into the realm of Canadian culture, where some Leafs felt all the negative reaction to Ovechkin was a mirror of the country's general tendency toward being conservative with emotions, at least in public.
"I was kind of in the middle," Leaf Matt Stajan said. "At first I thought it was great, it was fun to see. Then I started thinking about the other team (Tampa) and I thought it was the kind of thing they probably wouldn't like.
"I think it's different in Canada than in the U.S. I think in our (hockey) culture, that sort of thing isn't necessarily needed. We all like to score, but (an orchestrated celebration) isn't needed."
Ovechkin, after snapping home his 50th - and becoming the first, and quite possibly the only NHLer to do so this season - put his stick down on the ice in the corner behind the Tampa net. He then crouched down and pretended to warm his hands on the "hot" stick.
It was a planned celebration, something Ovechkin and his teammates discussed in the days leading up to his 50th. In some circles - notably Don Cherry's Coach's Corner - the act was condemned as a spectacle that doesn't belong in the game.
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said he spoke with Ovechkin.
"I didn't see it (the controversy) at first then I heard that everyone was pissed off about it," Boudreau said. "I don't think he was showing up Tampa. It was his 50th goal, he was celebrating. I'd think he would do the same if he scores 60 or 70 because they are special moments. Otherwise it's just spontaneous, but I wanted to talk to him about other people's perception of it, that sometimes other teams don't like that kind of thing, even though his thought process wasn't to show them up.
"So hopefully we have put this behind us and see that it's just a very energetic and exuberant young man enjoying the game.
"As Canadians, we tend to be conservative. Twenty-five years ago we got mad at the Russians for not showing any emotion, and now we're mad at one of them for showing it."
Ovechkin, smiling and having fun with everything yesterday, the way he normally does, accepted Cherry's views, and insisted that he wasn't trying to be disrespectful.
"It's me, you know, I can do what I want and I don't think it was a bad thing. I don't want to show them disrespect. It's all about my team and it's all about me," he said.
"Some players are just like robots. They score goals and it's like okay, no emotion, nothing. You have to show emotion if you are an emotional guy. Show it. You don't have to think about if somebody doesn't like it.
"I don't care if somebody (doesn't) like it. If somebody (doesn't) like it, don't watch my game, don't watch what I'm doing on the ice."