Why Duchene is Better Than Ovechkin


Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene and Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin both lead their teams in points. While it’s true Ovechkin has three more points, Duchene is the more desirable of the two players.

Hockey Style

Ovechkin is known for being a passionate player. He’s a big guy — 6-foot-3, 230 pounds — who hits hard. He’s a natural scorer who loves being the center of attention — and who has the offensive skills to back it up. Despite his size and hard-hitting habits, though, he has no two-way ability. Watch Ovechkin (#8) just glide into the neutral zone as if he’s on an X-Box and his game controller was disconnected:

Duchene is an intense player. When he’s on the ice, it’s as if every cell in his body is focused on playing hockey. He’s a fast and agile skater with a sniper’s shot. If he’s not scoring himself, he’s setting up opponents. He has extraordinary hockey IQ.

While there’s no question that Ovechkin, a 50 and 60 goal scorer — is the bigger one-on-one offensive threat, Duchene is the greater playmaker. Moreover, when Duchene was told to improve his defensive game, he did just that. Duchene is starting with an impressive skill set and improving on it. Ovechkin is literally resting on his laurels (or on his skates, as we saw in the video above.)

By contrast, watch Duchene’s flat-out sprint in a similar situation:

Of course, Ovechkin, at 29 years old, is peaking. 23-year-old Duchene is just now entering his top years, and will probably continue to improve.


You may be thinking personality is not so important for the team, and you may be right. NHL players are grown men able to withstand rough personalities as easily as they endure hard checks.

However, professional athletes are also role models, and here’s where Dutchy shines. He’s a humble young man who loves country music and fishing. He’s intense about hockey but pretty relaxed about everything else. He’s also very active in charities.

Ovi’s not an evil spirit, even next to Dutchy. However, when all hockey players are renowned for their humility, Ovechkin is a standout as a haughty sort. Indeed, he’s stated he wears a tinted visor so he can “check out the ladies without their noticing.” Can you imagine our Dutchy saying something like that? That’s also his reason for not getting his missing tooth fixed — the gap is supposed to be a chick magnet.

Think about it. Funny as Ovi is, which man would you rather your children emulate? I’m guessing Dutchy.

Team Spirit

Funnily enough, both Duchene and Ovechkin have been rumored to be in a feud with fellow hockey players.

Duchene’s wasn’t so much a feud. During the first round of contract negotiations fellow Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly underwent, he sat out part of the lockout-shortened season. Duchene didn’t approve of his money-grubbing:

"“For me, I don’t care about any of that [money]. I just want to play hockey. If I did look at it that way, maybe I would have done what he did. But I signed in June, and I love being an Av, everything about it. I love cheering for this team and that’s all that matters for me.”"

Duchene is a good teammate, though, and he has stated he and O’Reilly are good friends again.

Somehow Ovechkin and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin have a deeply antagonistic relationship. Malkin was drafted right after Ovechkin, and the two even roomed together for the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. Later, though, Ovechkin is said to have punched Malkin’s agent, Gennady Usakov, at a nightclub in Moscow, Russia. Whether that’s true or not, Ovechkin definitely ran at Malkin during a 2008 game in Pittsburgh:

Luckily for both, Malkin ducked out of the way. Otherwise, Malkin was sure to be injured and Ovechkin suspended.

To be fair, both men were very team spirited when it came to the Olympics. Duchene got scratched a couple times, but he professed his love for the team over self. As for Ovechkin, he was the only Team Russia player who stopped and answered the hard media questions after they were eliminated from the tournament in front of their home crowd.

In the end, though, we Colorado Avalanche fans will always appreciate Matt Duchene for his love of the team. Presumably Ovechkin loves the only NHL team he’s ever known, the one that has employed him for going on 10 years. However, the Avs Nation will never forget Duchene’s exuberant reaction to even being drafted by Colorado:

So, Duchene vs. Ovechkin — we choose Dutchy, right?