Pre-planning celebration puts Ovechkin offside

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

It's hard not to love everything about Alex Ovechkin.

His talent is undeniable.

His exuberance game after game is exciting.

His celebration of life seemingly at every turn is inspiring.

However, it was disappointing to see his actions after scoring his 50th goal of the season the other night in Tampa.

What's always made Ovechkin's goal celebrations OK -- despite what Don Cherry says -- was the fact they were the result of truly relishing the moment.

Moreover, they weren't pre-planned.

Then came his antics against the Lightning. He planned to drop his stick -- to point out for all to see it was too hot to handle. In fact, Ovechkin admitted he expected teammates Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green to join in the fun.

It doesn't fall into the same category as the actions of NFLers Chad Johnson, Joe Horn and Terrell Owens, but it's getting too close for comfort. As much as Ovechkin had reason to celebrate his 50th goal of the season, it's not like he had broken new territory for him. It's the third year in a row, so he had every reason to act like he'd been there before.

(And don't bring up that it was a first for a Capital to reach 50 goals in three seasons.)

Sure, hockey is entertainment and it's refreshing to see players unveil personality, but it wasn't necessary for Ovechkin to make that big of a deal out of his goal and potentially insult the opposition. He does deserve some benefit of the doubt in that regard, because usually, Ovechkin is more the goofy type who doesn't take himself too seriously and isn't malicious.

Hopefully, he'll realize this is the line and choose not to cross it again.

The last thing we want to see is him show up at the rink with the name 'Ocho' on his back and a Sharpie in his glove.

Flaming C-notes

Interesting statement from a member of the Chicago Blackhawks organization. "I'd like to see how Rene Bourque would play with Olli Jokinen." The theory being Bourque's size and speed would work really well on the left wing. Might be something to look forward to come playoffs ... Just wondering, if the Flames do manage to relocate their farm team to Abbotsford, do you think they'll try to lure former Hitmen star and Abbotsford product Brad Moran from Europe with a contract that's lucrative at the AHL level? ... Score another one for the Las Vegas Wranglers promotion team. The ECHL team this week is hosting 'Over 18 Night' when they face the Alaska Aces. With an open bar for $20 for those age 21 and over and deejay music, the party will also include strippers. There will be no nudity but there will be demonstrations of the "Stripper 101" exotic dancing course for women and members of the American Storm All-Male Review will showcase their talent. The Wranglers have come up with a couple of other interesting promotions, including 'Gov. Rod Blagojevich Prison Uniform Night' earlier this season, in which they 'honoured' the Illinois politician by donning striped prison uniforms.

Hockey Talky

Somebody explain how Calgary Hitmen head coach Dave Lowry isn't a finalist for the WHL's coach of the year award. At the start of the season, the consensus was the Hitmen were in a rebuilding year. So all he does is guide a team to a record-setting season and top spot in the league and the CHL rankings ... Interesting statistic of the week: The Pittsburgh Penguins have had 29 100-point seasons by their players -- 10 from Mario Lemieux alone -- which is one more than the Edmonton Oilers can boast in their history and tops in NHL history ... The Colorado Avalanche to receive revenue sharing? Apparently, it's possible. The Avs -- remember when the rest of the division was called the Av-nots? parently could receive cash because their TV market is smaller than 2.5 million, average more than 14,000 in attendance and would be among the 10-lowest revenue teams in the NHL. Yes, they would fall within the stipulations of what NHL revenue sharing is about, but it seems wrong when you think how they spent in their glory years.

You don't say

"In my mind, I think you guys should be first star. You p---ed him (Luongo) off and look how well he played."

-- Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault to the local media. Roberto Luongo had received criticism for allowing some soft goals and poor puckhandling.


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