When asked for his thoughts on Game 7 against the New York Rangers, Alex Ovechkin said simply that his team would win. He said the Washington Capitals would come out, play their kind of game and win.
That might have been the most innocuous “guarantee” in sports history. And yet, some people had a problem with it.
“First of all, the cliche, it applies here: What do you want him to say?” Washington’s 106.7 The Fan host Chad Dukes said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “What does everyone want? We want these guys to be open and honest, we want them to stop vomiting out cliches and the same old nonsense that wastes all of our time. This guy comes out and what does he do? Does he talk about anybody’s mom? Does he say that he’s going to take anyone out with a dirty hit? No, he says I think we’re going to win, we’re going to go win, we’re the better team, this is our time. How is that question supposed to be answered by the captain of the team? I have no idea where that backlash came from, other than just a whiny New York media that was looking for a scapegoat at that point.”
Game 7 played out at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, with Ovechkin giving the Capitals a 1-0 lead in the first period. He did his part. The rest of the Capitals did not.
Rangers center Derek Stepan scored the game-winner in overtime, leading New York to a 2-1 victory.
“Oh my God,” said Dukes, who was chatting with Scott Ferrall when Stepan scored.
The Rangers will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. Game 1 is Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.
The Capitals, meanwhile, have suffered more postseason heartbreak.
“You don’t understand,” a dejected Dukes said. “We can’t talk the whole Redskins’ season. The second we do, Griffin’s knees (will get hurt). I can’t believe that just happened.”
But hey, what about the Washington Wizards?!
Oh wait . . .
The Wizards lost Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to Atlanta, 82-81, on Wednesday. Paul Pierce hit a contested three-pointer with 8.3 seconds left to give Washington an 81-80 lead, but the Wizards couldn’t hold it. Al Horford scored an easy put-back off an offensive rebound to give Atlanta the win.
More depression for Dukes.
“The weird thing is at the beginning of the season, they make these moves for Dejuan Blair, and they bring in (Kris Humphries) and they have Nene and they got Gortat and they got all these big bodies and they say they’re going to go in and body teams,” Dukes said. “That hasn’t been the case. Nene’s been a shell of himself in the postseason, and you haven’t seen Kris Humphries get off the bench.”
John Wall, who hadn’t played since Game 1 due to a wrist injury, delivered a gutsy performance Wednesday, finishing with 15 points, seven assists, four steals and two blocks. He did, however, have six turnovers.
“I don’t know if you saw those up-close pictures of John Wall’s hand, but it looked like my midsection,” Dukes said. “It was all bloated and disgusting. The fact that he went out there and made an effort, I thought, was just inconceivable. But he wasn’t himself. They turned the ball over hand over fist.
“They’re the better team,” Dukes continued. “They’re better than the Atlanta Hawks. I don’t think the Atlanta Hawks have put together a complete performance in this series, but (the Wizards) have to take better care of the ball or they’re not going to be able to beat what is a complete package, especially when (Jeff) Teague and (Kyle) Korver and all those guys are hitting their shots.”
Game 6 is Friday in Washington at 7 p.m. ET.