So it all started with a tweet. This tweet from May 13, 2016 to be exact:
This was three days after Alexander Ovechkin was again prevented from making it to a Conference Final and Washington Capitals fans were again left imagining what might have been but seemingly never will be.
Ovechkin is a playoff failure. The greatest goal scorer of all time can’t get it done in the post season. The Capitals will never win the Cup with him as captain UNLESS he changes his habits. That’s the essence of my tweet. He’s someone you want to follow, but he’s not a leader.
I’ve heard the arguments. He’s a pure successful goal scorer in the worst goal scoring era. He hits. He works very hard. He’s passionate. Put him on a better team and he’d have two or more cups. That’s what they say. It’s not his fault. But I’ve said it is, so now I have to prove it.
To start with, I’m not anti-Ovechkin. I want him to win. He’s a fun character, he’s great for the game and for the Capitals franchise. He’s led the Caps to 6 division championships and 2 President’s Trophies. He’s only missed the playoffs three times: twice in his first two seasons when the team was just getting their act together around him, and only once more in 2014.
In 84 career playoff games he’s put up 82 points (41G, 41A) for a 0.98 points per game average. He’s only been swept ONCE (2011 2nd round, Tampa Bay Lightning). He does hit.
It’s hard to say the guy doesn’t come to play. You can’t question his desire or compete level.
But with all this individual success, why can’t he get past the second round? He’s made it into round two 5 out of 8 times and never been to a Conference Final. The easy and obvious place to point to is his team mates, but you can’t do that without first eliminating the prime suspect.
Check in tomorrow for the next article of the series.