I'm not a big basketball fan, as this blog has gone into great detail about, but one of memory I have is from the 1993 NBA Finals. It was Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls shooting for a 3rd straight title against Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns. The Bulls had taken both games in Phoenix to open the series but the Suns got themselves back into it with a three-overtime win in Chicago in Game 3. Going into Game 4, the Bulls needed Jordan take over and carry them to a win over the revitalized Suns. As he typically did, Jordan did just that, dropping 55 points and giving the Bulls a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.
I thought of that game last night when thinking about tonight's Game 4 of the Caps-Rangers series. I wrote in my playoff preview how Alex Ovechkin needed to be "The One" in this series. After getting back in the series in Game 3, tonight is the night where that has to happen. Ovie, who has been held goalless with four assists in the series, needs to take over and win a game by himself. He needs to strap the team on his back and carry the Caps to victory tonight.
Yes, his teammates will be vital in helping him do that, but if there's one guy who can dominate a series just by sheer force of will, it's Ovie. He's already tried to contribute in other ways, using his 'mates, getting under the skin of the Rangers through the media and his appearance at Rangers practice before Game 3. But Ted Leonsis doesn't pay him to be Claude Lemieux, he pays him to score goals. He pays him to dominate. And tonight's the night where he needs to do it. In a must-win game, on the road, in front of a fire up Madison Square Garden.
Ovie, you got the press clippings, you got the ESPN pieces, you got the notoriety. Now, you have to put together a signature playoff game. As John Cena would say, "Your time is up, my time is now/You can't see me, my time is now."
"I will break them Hangar"
Here's the aforementioned ESPN piece from Tuesday night's edition of "E:60." I will also post a link to this great Puck Daddy piece on the clip.