Alex Ovechkin Was The Biggest Winner At All-Star Weekend

Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL All-Star Game is all about having fun. There’s a saying: “He who has the most fun wins.” By that logic, Alex Ovechkin was the biggest winner during All-Star Weekend. Thanks to everything that Alex Ovechkin did over All-Star Weekend, his popularity is the highest that it has been in years. For once, even his harshest critics have to applaud Alex Ovechkin not just for being an elite player, but also an elite person. This is how his weekend played out and how he changed everyone’s perspective of him in one unselfish move.

It all started Friday night at the All-Star Fantasy Draft. Alex Ovechkin was, as usual, the center of attention. He wanted to be picked last because the last pick would get a new Honda. From the moment he started campaigning for being the last pick, I knew that something was up. He’s Ovi. If he wanted a new Honda, he could easily buy one. I brushed it aside as Alex Ovechkin having fun and making sure that everyone was entertained.

On Saturday night, Alex Ovechkin once again asserted his desire for a car, saying that he wanted to win MVP so that he could win a car. Besides doing that, he reasserted himself as the king of entertainment as his selfies and his hilarious antics shined brightly throughout the All-Star Skills Competition.

As always, Ovechkin did his best to ensure that the fans were entertained.

All the campaigning for a new car began to make sense on Sunday night. Everyone assumed that Alex Ovechkin only wanted the new car for himself. Everyone assumed that Ovechkin was just hogging the spotlight. Ovechkin proved them wrong in one unselfish act.

And here’s the kicker, the true reason the multi-millionare and avid car enthusiast spent all weekend stating his case for a free ride: He wanted to donate it to the Washington Ice Dogs, a local hockey team for children with developmental disabilities. (Earlier posts referenced the NoVa Cool Cats, another local hockey team serving the same mission, but the Capitals said that was a mistake.)

See, last fall, a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome named Ann Schaab summoned the courage to ask Ovechkin on a dinner date. It turned into a day-long event, held on the ninth anniversary of Ovechkin’s NHL debut. She received a tour of Ketter Capitals Iceplex. She asked her mother for a wedding ring, so she could propose to Ovechkin. She accepted his invitation to that night’s preseason game. She smelled his socks. They ate sushi in the owner’s lounge.

What a great story. The best part is, Honda wound up giving Ovechkin a new car so that he could give it to Schaab’s team. Immediately, for the first time in a while, everybody was in awe of Ovechkin. Both as a person and a player. Ovechkin did a lot to improve his public image during the All-Star Game. We all know that’s not why Ovi did it though.

And as for the anticipated reaction when the car, manufactured here in Ohio and scheduled to get shipped to Arlington, eventually gets presented to Ann and the Washington Ice Dogs?

“I’m pretty sure they’re going to be really happy and smiling,” Ovechkin said. “But again, it’s great when you make those people smiling and happy. It’s good.”

Well played Ovechkin. In the end, the kids who are helped by this are likely the biggest winners. But that couldn’t have happened without an extremely unselfish act by Ovechkin.