A physical specimen at age 18, destroying Sidney Crosby in their rookie season for the scoring title, and countless highlight reel goals, are just a few highlights in Alexander Ovechkin’s professional hockey career.
In the designed unauthorized autobiography on Ovechkin’s life off the ice and on it, authors Damien Cox and Gare Joyce admit there was difficulty making the book. The authors state in the acknowledgments that the Ovechkin family decided not to take part in this publication although Ovechkin is quoted with the public interviews he made.
Numerous times throughout the bio the authors give an idea on what is going through Ovechkin’s head since they did end up talking to a number of reliable sources like Washington Capitals’ management. members of the media and Ovechkin’s teammates helped supplement Ovechkin’s state of mind.
The Ovechkin Project reads much like an action adventure story with Ovechkin excelling in amateur hockey in Russia as he came from a family that was seemingly born to play the sport. Losing his 24-year-old brother Sergei in 1995, hit him hard but did not stop him from the game he loved. Three practices a day at age 10, and always wanting to run instead of standing around showed his parents and scouts that he was going to be a special athlete.
Ovechkin’s rivalry with Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sid The Kid is well documented—Ovechkin charging room service in an NHL commercial, Ovechkin blowing past Crosby’s rookie numbers, and so on. Crosby is always well received for being the Canadian prodigy of Mario Lemieux, but when it comes to rivalries like Gretzky-Lemieux, Ovechkin is considered the Wayne Gretzky of the duo.
While Crosby does have greater team accomplishments with a Stanley Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal, Ovechkin has more impressive individual accomplishments with Hart trophies, Lester B. Peterson, Art Ross and more. The authors did make an excellent point how the Ovechkin-Crosby is far more exciting than the Gretzky-Lemieux one as Ovechkin and Crosby are in the Eastern Conference and already have a heated playoff series included in their battles.
Montreal Canadiens fans will enjoy how the book wraps up in last year’s playoff series between the Caps and Canadiens. Former Habs goalie Jaroslav Halak is the bane of Ovechkin’s 2010 playoffs as Halak helped shut the door on Ovechkin being the main threat in the best-of-seven series. The teasing Ovechkin pulled on Halak over his hand shaking when he drank some water is turned against Ovechkin after Halak made a 53-save performance. The question became ‘who’s shaking now?’
At times the author are extremely high on the abilities of Ovechkin, but they also admit when he has difficulty adjusting to the North American lifestyle or when he comes up short in some of his efforts. It is a little difficult to believe that Ovechkin felt a certain way without his input at all in the book. However, the authors did do a great job of resourcing with the Capitals organization to bring a book that may not give you an in-depth look at Ovechkin, but does give you an idea of how he came to be the superstar he is today.
The Ovechkin Project: A Behind-the-Scenes look at Hockey’s Most Dangerous Player
By Damien Cox and Gary Joyce
Released in Fall 2010