This is when it is sometimes embarrassing to be a member of the media. I agree totally with Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. This whole Tampa/Washington retribution story was completely a media engineered non-story. Invent some news which doesn’t actually yet exist to then cover the self-made news to see if it really occurs and becomes actual news.
The last time Tampa and Washington played Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season and then performed his now infamous “my stick is too hot” shtick. Reporters in lockers across the NHL were asking players the next day for their opinions. Some laughed and said they liked it or didn’t mind or didn’t care. Others thought it was showboating and mocked both the Lightning and the game. Coaches, Managers, retired players were all asked their opinions and theirs varied as much as the players.
The opinions which received the greater number and higher placement in news stories were the negative ones. That helped generate an environment to question the possibility of retribution from Tampa the next time the teams played. That possibility then spawned some analysts to predict retribution which caused others to expect it and those expectations led sports editors to send reporters to cover this game just in case things boiled over.
Did anyone from Tampa ever say or intimate they would try and exact revenge? Were there any legitimate conversations about payback? Did anyone of the large number of NHL insiders have any of their sources tell them it was possible or even probable? If they were told this I assume they would have said it since un-named sources are the chief rumor mongers in both politics and the NHL. I don’t remember anyone saying any of that. Many of the insiders did phrase it in the form of a question which led me to believe that no one had told them it would happen otherwise they would have said that.
The game occurred and Washington won. Was there anything directed at Ovechkin other than the dismay many teams have trying to contain him?
Sometimes we in the media should be reminded that our job is to cover the news not make it.
See you at the rink.