Drama over Ovechkin's All-Star nods
Alex Ovechkin is so good, he's an All-Star at a position he doesn't even play.
That is apparently the conclusion of the NHL media after selecting Ovechkin on Wednesday to the All-Star first team at right wing, where he played all 44 games this season, and to the second team at left wing, where he played just four.
That's right. The Washington Capitals star, a left-winger prior to this season, changed positions under new head coach Adam Oates before this campaign. After a brief stint back at left wing, Ovechkin played the bulk of this past season at the new position, where he tallied the majority of his league-leading 32 goals.
He received a dominant 103 first-place votes at right wing and finished second only to Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the left-wing voting. A total of 45 voters gave him either a first- or second-place vote at the phantom position.
All this despite a memo being sent out by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, attempting to clarify to voters that Ovechkin should be considered a right wing. The words "RIGHT WING" apparently were written in all caps and everything.
The snafu has sparked controversy in the hockey world over a way to prevent this from happening — it's not the first time voters have confused players' positions or otherwise shown questionable competence in the process — and put hockey writers on the defensive:
Alex Ovechkin named first-team RW, second-team LW. Not our finest moment as a collective group of hockey writers.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 3, 2013
Kevin Allen, the president of the PWHA, released a statement on the matter that read, in part:
"We are troubled by the all-star voting results, and plan to take a closer look at the events that led to Ovechkin winning All-Star acclaim at two positions. We know we got this wrong, and our objective is to make sure it never happens again."
Ovechkin, by the way, won the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP, so presumably these writers have heard of him.
The big loser here? Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers, who finished in third place in the left-wing voting. He reportedly would have been eligible for a bonus from the league if he had been named an All-Star. Edmonton sports writers are absolutely livid.
We've seen no public comments from Hall yet, but we're rooting for this to get straightened out for a guy who appears to be taking odds on beauty pageants on his Twitter page:
Who you guys got in the miss USA? I'm liking Alabama and Minnesota a LOT— Taylor Hall (@hallsy04) June 17, 2013