John Steigerwald from the Tribune Review’s Observer-Reporter and Ryan Lambert from Puck Daddy went at it on Steiggy’s radio show. You can listen here.
If you can stand to listen to it, I dare you.
J. Steigs (brother of Penguins announcer Paul Steigerwald) wrote a column this week, basically accusing Alexander Ovechkin of using performance enhancing drugs. The states that the reason Ovi’s performance on the ice has been in a consistent decline for the past few seasons is because he has ceased roiding.
Did your head just explode too?
More after the jump…
This is an incredibly bold accusation to throw around against one of the most talented hockey players in the world. Granted, Ovi’s game has declined the past two season significantly from his first four seasons with all of the hardware and glory attached to it, but to accuse him of juicing?
Yes. A D.C. chiropractor was investigated for providing the Capitals with steroids almost two years ago, but this is hardly enough evidence to indict Ovechkin for use. According to J. Steigs, it is though. “…you are guilty until proven innocent.”
Wow. That’s not exactly how this country works, sir.
Evidence is as such:
- Former Penguin Georges LaRaque wrote in his book that juicing is common in the NHL and that a certain player’s performance has plummeted since the 2010 Winter Olypmics in Vancouver. (Players were all tested for PEDs to qualify for the Olympics.) Steiggy cites the demise of Ovechkin since Russia exited the Olympics early.
- Ovechkin’s mother was an Olympic athlete in the 1970s, so he grew up in the culture of steroid use. Ovi was born in 1985. Neither here nor there, this is just an awkward argument. So he is now also accusing Ovi’s mom of juicing? I grew up watching Mark McGwire play baseball. Does that mean I am susceptible to steroid use?
- “The guy was superhuman when he first came into the league. ” So was Mario Lemieux. Are we going to say that Le Magnifique juiced his whole career now?
To prove his point, Lambert countered that all of Steigerwald’s evidence is about as hard hitting as posting a rumor on a fan blog that Sidney Crosby is a vampire and to see how far that gets.
I don’t think Ovechkin’s decline is because of steroid use. There are perfectly logical explanations for his decline and most of them have to do with Ovi.
- Ovechkin is a one dimensional player. He is talented as hell. His wrist shot is the counter to Crosby’s backhand. But his game is predictable. He is always going to the top of the slot or the circle and shooting. Players know this. Teemu Selanne has stated that Ovi needs to shake up his game. When you are going up against one of the best in the world, you are going to study his play. Many players and goalies may just have this guy figured out.
- Ovi is completely mismanaged from ownership down to the bench. Because he is a show-boater and someone who loves to entertain, you cannot possibly expect him to hold down the role of Captain. Being a great player does not necessarily transition into great leadership. General Manager George McPhee and owner Ted Leonsis refuse to strip Ovi of the “C” and give it to someone like Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich or Denis Wideman, who would take the role seriously and be effective in helping their team become more united and aiding the other players in improving their game.
- If you don’t think there was friction between former coach Bruce Boudreau and Ovechkin then you’re mistaken. Ovi didn’t respect Boudreau. He acts like a primadonna because the ownership and GM have allowed Ovi to do as Ovi pleases with no repercussions. This is not good for the team and it isn’t good for Ovi who is now just being quite frankly lazy at this point in his career. He has a 13 year deal and nobody in that organization will question him.
The conversation on the whole was obtuse. Lambert has blasted P. Steigs for being a homer and for some of the off color comments he has made, so of course brother John tried coming to the rescue. It is no secret that Paul Steigerwald is a complete homer and that he pales in comparison to Mike Lange. We know that Steiggy says some pretty questionable things on air. But it’s no worse than Pierre McGuire’s nationally televised love affair with L.A. Kings’ Mike Richards.
This is some of the most awkward conversation I have heard in recent history, not to mention completely mind numbing.
Maybe Steigerwald is right and Ovechkin has been juicing in the past. But honestly, his evidence is meager at best. Just a really poor choice of a topic to put out into the media without some sort of concrete information other than rumors “floating around.”
Ovi could always get a job working in a night club though…