Is it Time to Measure Ovechkin’s Stick Curve?

 
alexovechkin

Image: "Alexander Ovechkin Prepares Shot" by clydeorama on Flickr

Last night Alexander Ovechkin turned in his greatest playoff performance.  His three goals were all difference makers and each shot he fired on net was an absolute rocket.

Alex Ovechkin is, without a doubt, one of the best players in the National Hockey League and the NHL’s most feared goal scorer.

Which is exactly why it might be time for Penguins coach Dan Bylsma to question the curve on Ovechkin’s stick.

Several times last night you could see Ovechkin switching his stick for another one on the bench.  Why?  Is he very particular about his lumber?  Or is he trying to hide something?

After scoring his second goal of  the game on the power play during yesterday’s contest, Ovechkin remained on the ice as the Penguins returned to even strength.  His stick did not.

Ovechkin scored the goal, celebrated and then quickly switched sticks before the faceoff.  Again, the question is why?

There is no doubt that Alexander Ovechkin is an outstanding hockey player.  Even if he is playing with an illegal curve, he is still a great player.  The curve on your stick does not help you find space on the ice, deke around opponents or deliver crushing checks.  It does, however, help you cup the puck and unleash a harder shot.

Ovechkin dominated last night and he put the Penguins in a must win situation.  Unless the Pittsburgh Penguins are able to win both games at home, this series is as good as over.  This is exactly why, going home for game three down two games to none, it is time for Bylsma to ask for a stick measurement.

Well, Bylsma wouldn’t actually be the one asking for the measurement.  A players stick can be measured if “a formal complaint is made by the Captain or Alternate Captain of a team” (NHL.com)  That means it would likely be Sidney Crosby making the call.  Of course Crosby – who has already been branded as a whiner – would probably be mocked by the fans and media for requesting the measurement, but that doesn’t matter.  Crosby needs to make the call.

If it turns out that Ovechkin is using an illegal stick, he would be “assessed a minor penalty and a fine of two hundred dollars.”  If the Penguins ended up being wrong, ” a bench minor penalty shall be imposed against the complaining Club in addition to a fine of one hundred dollars.”

Now, whether the Penguins being on the power play would actually help them is debatable, but it’s worth a shot.  If done early in the game, when the Pens suspect Ovechkin of using an illegal curve, it could gain them some momentum if they are right.  Ovechkin would be forced to use a legal curve for the rest of the game.  If they’re wrong and they receive a penalty, the damage would be minimal if it took place early in the game.  The Pens would have time to get back any goals scored on the Capitals power play.

Is it a desperation move?  Of course it is.  But right now the Pittsburgh Penguins need to do anything possible to gain any advantage in a series that where they are quickly losing ground.

Now, how angry Ovechkin would be at the measurement is unknown.  There is a chance that after the call – regardless of the outcome – a motivated Ovechkin could score another hat trick and destroy the Penguins’ hopes, but that’s a chance the Penguins should be willing to take.

Stick measurements are rarely done these days.  Teemu Selanne had his stick measured earlier in the year and it was legal.

The Montreal Canadiens famously asked for a measurement on Marty McSorely’s stick in the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals.  His curve was illegal, the Habs scored on the insuing power play and they went on to win the Stanley Cup.

It has long been suspected that Alexander Ovechkin’s stick has an illegal curve at least part of the time.  He has never been called on it.  At this point, with the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season hanging in the balance, it is time to make that call.

Ovechkin Stick = Measure the curve.

Rick Moldovanyi
Rick Moldovanyi is a Toronto-based freelance journalist, a specialized senior case manager with experience in working with a variety of national and international clients, a lover of social media and a blogger. He is skilled in creating and preparing journalistic and artistic content for print, web and television. He is experienced at research and editing and has a unique ability to create entertaining, original content.

18 Comments

  1. Just for those that dont know about this, hockey players do not use factory standard equiptment, lets just say you have an RBK 10k Crosby stick, with his aparent curve..its not what he uses most likely not even close, the only thing that is on those sticks is the brand name, generally the stick will be made by another company and painted with that logo and can be done through the club, ovechkin i believe wouldnt use an illegal stick however if he asked for a certain curve im almost certain the club could get it done. His stick may say CCM but for all we know it could be a bauer made stick with their paint on it, this is NOT uncommon at all, players never use what they are wearing!!! lol i work in hockey retail im quite aware of this information

  2. No one’s stick needs to be measured. Seriously. He’s a great player with a bullet shot. Plain and simple.

  3. Erik Haney says:

    With the new composite sticks there is no way to heat the composite blades and re form them also he uses a one piece stick so he would have had to had those sticks custom made and that would mean that CCM should also be fined for supplying him with an illegal curve that would stop all these curve problems

  4. My only question is how does Ovie obtain a stick like that. With the new composite sticks you cant heat those composite blades up and curve them more. Each blade is made in a mold by the stick company and the only molds they would have are legal curves unless the companies themselves are corrupt and would supply the players with curves that are illegal. If that is the case then shouldn’t the companies be held responsible if it is there name on the stick because there aiding and abetting the cheating players. But thats just one fans opinion

  5. Seriously guys, it’s SIDNEY.

    This is more annoying then Keith Jones still thinking that the Sim-YON Var-LA-mov should be pronounced Simieon Var-luh-mov.

  6. right on cue…

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=421716

    should be a great show tonight!

  7. kat wrote: “Sydney Crosby also scored a hat trick the other night, on far fewer shots. Shouldn’t he be the one whose stick should be measured?” — Crosby’s stick does not need to be measured. He uses a blade that is almost straight. There is no minum curve, only a maximum.

  8. Aaron Josephson says:

    “Sydney Crosby also scored a hat trick the other night, on far fewer shots. Shouldn’t he be the one whose stick should be measured?”

    Kat, clearly you aren’t that big a follower of hockey or Crosby. (My guess is you are a fair weather fan from DC that just started watching hockey in the past 2 years) There have been numerous stories done on Crosby’s stick. Notably the fact that he plays with a stick without a curve. He uses a mostly flat stick because he gets a much more powerful back hander. It is very difficult to play with a flat stick and is a pretty big testament to the amount of skill he has (not that Ovechkin isn’t skilled),

  9. Best time to test his stick is when you already recieve one penalty and want to go up be two players on the PP. Pens should try it early in the game for a 5 on 3 advantage. Worst case, they play 4 on 4. The Pens 5 on 4 PP sticks at this time and a 5 on 3 may be their only chance.

  10. Sydney Crosby also scored a hat trick the other night, on far fewer shots. Shouldn’t he be the one whose stick should be measured?

  11. Pingback: Empty Netter Assists - 5-6-09 - Empty Netters - post-gazette.com

  12. Why is it the opposing teams resonsibility to ask for this? Shouldn’t the refs be enforcing the rules?

  13. Brett Hull admitted to using an illegal stick so i think it will only piss Ovechkin off even more

  14. That hockey legend played before the lockout when they changed the rules on stick curvature. I have to disagree on measuring, there is no need to give Alex Ovechkin a chance to get angry.

    Plus it is common practice, especially among elite scorers, to keep a legal stick on the bench for use in the critical stages of a game, which is when they’re most likely to be called on it by an opposing coach.

  15. A hockey legend saw Ovie’s curve during the All-Star game I believe, and said there is no way it’s legal. Ovie just called the man old and said he didn’t know what he was talking about. It’s pretty obvious his curve is crazy, but Dan Bylsma should not ask for it to measured under any circumstances!

  16. It’s been time since last season. No way in hell is that curve legal.

  17. I could see the Pens playing this card with about 5 minutes left in the 3rd period if they are in need of it. But there’s no going back after you attempt to call out Ovi on it. Either way, the media is going to have a field day with it.

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