Charles Barkley: I’m rooting for Ovechkin

Two of the top offensive minded players in the league go head to head as Capitals host the Islanders. Does the veteran sniper, Ovechkin, have the edge or is it the young gun, John Tavares, time to shine? Kick off the series with our star spotlight!

Alex Ovechkin has a big fan. Literally.

On ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike show, NBA analyst Charles Barkley weighed in on the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And even though ‘The Round Mound of Rebound’ calls himself a “pseudo” Chicago Blackhawks fan, he said he’s got a soft spot for the Capitals superstar.

“I watched the Capitals-Islanders game first. I’m pulling for Ovechkin so he can get off the list I’m on: never won anything. So I’m rooting for Ovechkin.”

Barkley, a former 16-year veteran NBA player, explains he’s a Blackhawks fan because he’s become friends with Patrick Kane over the past couple years. Chicago came back from a 3-0 deficit against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 Wednesday and pulled out a 4-3 win in double overtime after Duncan Keith netted the winner.

Starting goalie Corey Crawford was pulled after allowing three goals on 12 shots, but backup Scott Darling turned aside all 42 shots he faced in relief. Barkley also shared his opinion on that goaltending move by coach Joel Quenneville.

"So then I started watching my Blackhawks," he said. "Let me tell you something. That coach, when he pulled Crawford, I was like oh my goodness. It's either going to work or he’s gonna be done for the series."

And for what it's worth, Barkley strongly disagrees with the notion Chicago should stick with Darling in Game 2.

"I disagree with staying with the backup goalie," he said. "If you start losing, I don’t know if you can go back to (Crawford)."

It seems Quenneville agrees. The Blackhawks announced Crawford will start Game 2.