PHILADELPHIA | It’s not out of the ordinary for Mike Milbury to take players to task, including Alex Ovechkin. But during the second intermission of the Washington Capitals’ game at the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night, the NBC Sports analyst took the criticism to a new level.
Milbury blasted Ovechkin’s effort all over the ice, criticizing the Caps captain for a blind pass in the offensive zone, embellishing a high-stick and going off the ice on a line chance on the fourth goal Washington allowed.
“When you have great talent it comes with great expectations and accountability,” Milbury said on NBC Sports Network. “If you put him up to those two standards tonight, he fails the test miserably.”
Milbury said Ovechkin “should be ashamed of himself” for a no-look pass in the Caps’ offensive zone, saying “8-year-olds don’t do this.” He said “there’s no fight in this guy along the wall,” and then took issue with Ovechkin selling a high-stick from Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn.
“I know they played three in four nights, but that’s no excuse,” Milbury said. “And when you’re a big star like this you don’t have to act like a baby. This is ridiculous embellishment and he should be embarrassed by this and so should his teammates. … Get up and act like a man for God’s sake.”
When discussing Ovechkin stepping off the ice just before Max Talbot gave Philadelphia a 4-0 lead, Milbury called it “inexcusable behavior, unacceptable” for rookie coach Adam Oates to permit.
“God almighty, that’s just so disheartening to see a player with that kind of talent fall that short in terms of effort,” Milbury said.
Ovechkin brushed off Milbury’s criticism after the Caps’ 4-1 loss.
“Well it’s his point,” Ovechkin said. “I don’t listen to those guys; I don’t listen to nobody right now, so they can talk whatever they want, to be honest with you. It’s their point.”
Asked generally about his game, Ovechkin said: “A couple chances in the third, PP chances. In that kind of position what was today we have to — I have to — score that kind of goals to give team a jump.”