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Ovechkin Yelling at Samsonov Has Many Questioning His Leadership Skills

Alex Ovechkin yelled at goaltender Ilya Samsonov after an obvious mistake in double overtime. Was this the right thing to do?

On Wednesday night, after the Washington Capitals lost in double overtime, it appeared superstar forward Alex Ovechkin was screaming at his goaltender for making an obviously poor decision and misplaying the puck that led to Craig Smith scoring and putting the Bruins up 2-1 in the series.

While it’s not entirely clear who Ovechkin had targeted with his rant — Justin Shultz or Ilya Samsonov — he was seen screaming at someone after the loss and most believe it was his netminder which has come under heavy scrutiny, suggesting Ovechkin’s leadership abilities should be in question. Popular Russian Twitter sports writer Slava Malamud wrote: “He is literally screaming “Don’t sleep, bitch” in Russian.

Many are noting that this is not the type of quality character trait a captain should have, most arguing that nothing needed to be said to Samsonov who probably feels worse than anyone in that situation.

There’s also the fact that others should take some responsibility for even being in that double overtime spot to begin with. Ovechkin himself is counted on to score in big situations and that Samsonov was playing only his 5th playoff period in net and is a rookie means the team, especially Ovechkin should show a little compassion. Of Ovechkin’s 71 playoff goals, it’s interesting to note that none of them came in OT.

There’s some merit to that argument. You could contend that it’s a reach to be a superstar like Ovechkin and be that upset with at an inexperienced goalie who hasn’t played in three weeks, faced over 40 shots and gets your team to Double OT, only to hold him accountable for the loss. When you add the fact that Justin Shultz should be taking heat for poor coverage, it’s not entirely Samsonov’s fault.

Then There’s the Other Side of Samsonov

Others are noting that Ovechkin has every right to be upset and that a huge mistake like this does not get a free pass. The argument here is that if you don’t hold your goaltender accountable, and make him aware of the gravity of the situation his team is in, what kind of message is that sending?

It doesn’t help that Samsonov has been in the Capitals doghouse after a couple of incidences this season where he was hanging out with Evgeni Kuznetsov and was admonished by the team and the NHL for breaking team and league rules.

Where do you fall on this? Was Oveckin write to call out his goalie? Or was this a really di-k move that shows a lack of leadership ability?

The Bruins look to go up 3-1 on Friday night with Game 4 at TD Garden. Puck drop is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on NESN, with pregame beginning at 5:30 p.m.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Stevep8373

    May 20, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    Non-story. The goalie screwed up and it is the captains job to let him know that. This is the NHL, not peewee hockey. And FYI…Ovechkin and Samsonov are pretty close to each other. Kinda like a big brother/ little brother relationship.

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