Friday, June 3, 2011

What do you mean I write for a blog?

Alex Ovechriguez.

Not never contrived.

I know this article is old, but I’m a really super busy doing all kinds of other things that are too countless to name. Plus a month later, it’s still ridiculous.

Enter any comment thread on a Washington Capitals playoff loss, and the barbs are frequent: "Ovech-Choke" … "Well, we know what the 'C' stands for" … and the rest of it.

Oh! I know! It stands for “Captain”, I think. Or maybe Capitals or “CHKIN.”

There are three “Cs” on his jersey. You gotta be more specific, man.

They're not necessarily fair to Alex Ovechkin as a playoff performer, given his 47 points in 35 games and 24 goals — four of them coming in this postseason.

Correct. End of article. Have a nice summer everyone!

But it's also not fair to let Ovechkin off the hook simply because he's been more competent than many of his under-producing teammates in the playoffs — Alex Semin in 2010, Nicklas Backstrom in 2011 — because Alex Ovechkin needs to be something more than that.

Why? Why is that not fair? What more do you want from the guy? 24 playoff goals in 35 games. Should he play goal? Maybe ref a few periods? Juggle line combos? Rip tickets at the door? WHY IS THAT UNFAIR?

He needs to be the guy who ties the game and then wins it. He needs to be the guy who gets the goal that captures momentum at a critical moment in a game, or in a series, for his team.

No one has been, is ever, or will ever be that guy. No one. No one skates down and just scores. If they could, they’d do it every time. I defy you to tell me who this player is in the NHLs history. And why does it have to be Great 8? Other players are also on the team. Just because he's the captain? Makes sense now. You know why the Islanders didn't make it to the Conference Finals? Doug Weight didn't tie and win every game with a breath-taking goal.

It used to be that Ovechkin wasn’t using his teammates enough. Remember those halcyon days? Now, he’s not automatic enough or something.

He needs to be the guy who said "we're going there, and we're going to win two games" after Game 2 (no matter what the official transcript indicated he said) and backs it up by leading his team to a pair of victories.

For the record, in Games 3 AND 4 Ovechkin gave Washington a 3-2 lead. They blew them of course. Ovech-loss.

The question for Alex Ovechkin, his fans and the Capitals as they face back-to-back games at the Tampa Bay Lightning: Is he that guy?

No. See above.

In Game 3 on Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, with the Capitals down 2-0 to the Bolts and facing back-to-back games, Ovechkin's team faces

Facing the face of the faceless face off. Faces of facing faces face facing faces.

what John Keeley of On Frozen Blog feels is nothing short of a referendum on the franchise — and its captain:

This hockey club has the requisite skill and experience to rise to the challenge.

But will they be lucky enough!? That is all that stands in their way, right?

What we don't yet know is if it has adequate leadership. It's a point that's been debated with some robustness for more than a year now: Did the Caps get it right in stitching the 'C' to Ovi's sweater?

No. Unless they started wearing Phoenix thirds, they got it left.

Failure this week in Tampa will bring fresh and heated scrutiny to that question. 2010-11 has not been a year to remember for our captain; its premature conclusion would intensify the evidence against his leadership. And the late-season arrival of Jason Arnott only adds fuel to that fire.

What does Jason Arnott have to do with Ovech-disappointment’s ‘lack of leadership’? If anything, Jason Arnott, a former captain and Stanley Cup winner, should be partially held RESPONSIBLE for Washington’s ouster. 3 assists, no goals against Tampa. NICE JOB OVECH-NOTJASONARNOTT.

This is a postseason tailor-made for Ovi to ascend, but to date, we don't have that breakthrough performance suggestive that he's ready to seize that moment and lead his club. Tonight is one such opportunity.

Please, explain to me why this year was tailor-made for Ovechkin over any other. He had a down year. His centerman was awful in the post-season and had the lowest point total of his career. Their star defenseman played half the season because he was counting ducks in a circle all year. Sounds to me like the odds were stacked against him as an individual in a team sport.

Japers' Rink echoes the sentiments, adding that the Capitals are in danger of being "your father's Capitals" with another playoff disappointment.

I see. They want Ovech-Neverinventedshitever to invent a time machine, go back to the 1987 and score in the Easter Epic. That somehow makes more sense to me than “He’s not a leader and needs to score 9 goals in a 9-8 game 7 win.”

No one expects No. 8 to post an Ovechtrick in Game 3

You sure?

… although his first three-point night since Game 4 against Montreal last postseason would be welcome.

The team changed styles. It’s not about 3 point nights any more. In 9 2011 playoff games, he had at least a point in 7 of them, including 3 2-point games. I don’t even like the guy that much. Why am I doing this?

Where he needs to lead, where he needs to be a difference-maker, is on one five-man unit: The Capitals' terrible, momentum sapping power play.

I know this is going to sound crazy. Maybe teams are focusing on shutting down Washington’s power play? Tampa was 8th this year in PK%. Washington was 15th in PP%. Yes, these are regular season numbers. I refuse to look at the playoff numbers. Using 6 or 7 games to come to conclusions about a team’s ability makes you really dumb.

It's 0 for 11 in this series, and it's 3 for 27 in the playoffs, killing them as softly as it did vs. Jaroslav Halak last year.

You’re really dumb.

The Capitals are 2-2 in one-goal games, and lost Game 1 of this series with an empty-netter being scored. The margin for error is so slim, yet the power play has erred with frequency.

The margin for error is always slim. They are not the Washington Generals. Close, but no. And, also how about that? 2-2 record in what is essentially a primo luck stat. Huh.

Ovechkin has assists on all three Capitals goals in this postseason, but hasn't scored one.


In his last 19 playoff games, Ovechkin has one goal and six assists on the man advantage … which can also be read as one power-play goal in his last 19 playoff games.

Fish? Meet barrel.

You can talk all you want about intangibles as a captain, but there's something significant about the kind of kinetic kick-in-the-ass an Ovechkin goal provides his team. It's better than any barking broken English speech he could shout in the locker room between periods.

I want to talk none I want about intangibles as a captain.

Which is to say they need one Tuesday night. A goal that gives them a lead. A moment. Something from their captain, at an important juncture of the game, that brings focus to the task at hand rather than concern about the next bad line change or fluky goal that'll crush their spirit.

You mean like a big power play goal to give them the lead? Something like that?

As Keeley said, it's been a challenging year for Ovechkin. No love for the Hart Trophy. An 18-goal decrease from last season. Injuries that have nagged him and kept the cortisone flowing.

Ovech-hurt. Plus, remember like 2 minutes ago when you said, AND I QUOTE, "This is a postseason tailor-made for Ovi to ascend." Which is it? A challenge? A cakewalk? A walk in the cake?

There's always going to be a section of Ovechkin's fan base, in and out of Washington, that'll say it's not about him — it's about a supporting cast that doesn't step up in the postseason.

I like the undertone that these people are complete idiots. "There's always going to be a section of historians that'll say the Holocaust was not a hoax."

In a seven-game series, based on the history of the player and his team, that's accurate.

Cool. Great article.

In a Game 3, facing a dire second-round predicament against a Tampa team not giving them an inch, it's an excuse. The next 48 hours are Ovechkin's time. There's no other way to measure it.

Measure what? Ovech-time? The next 48 hours? Are you saying there is no other way to judge his 'playoff legacy' than what his team does in TWO games?! He's 25 years old. He MIGHT get another shot at it if he gets traded at the deadline next year.

The thing that bugs me the most is that Washington gets it. GMGM said there is no such thing as a playoff coach, just good coach or bad coach. He got ripped for it, but Goddamn he’s so right. McPhee even added that they’ll keep the roster largely the same and give a try again next year because that is really all you can do. Look for part 2 soon. (Really)


  1. You know what's funny to me? It seems every time somebody calls out Ovechkin for not getting it done in the playoffs, they mention how awesome he's been in the playoffs. Wouldn't you think you'd exclude that info when trying to make your point? Or rather, wouldn't you think you'd stop your argument when you looked at his playoff numbers?

    He provided a link to a Jaspers' Rink post in his article. Did you happen to look at it? Here's a particularly interesting quote from that post:

    "This team has won four-straight Southeast Division titles... and two playoff series during that span. Its coach has compiled an incredible 189-79-39 regular season record... but is 17-18 in the post-season and has dropped three Game 7's (on home ice, no less) in the past three years. Its captain shares that same playoff record and an eye-popping post-season point total... "

    Maybe the competition is a little stiffer in the playoffs? Maybe that's why their record isn't as good? I understand playing against Florida and Atlanta all the time in the regular season is very difficult...

    Maybe focusing on the fact that they lost games on home ice isn't a good idea? Since home ice advantage isn't really all that important anyway.

    Is it possible that focusing on a sample size so small in the first place isn't a great idea? Did you know that The Caps were 12-13-8(or 12 wins, 21 losses) in a 33 game span from December 2nd to February 17th this season? They ended up the top seed in the East. How come you didn't mention that? Anybody can point out a specific span of games to make a team look either really good or really bad. It's often referred to as "lying with statistics."

    Also, I love the "Its captain shares that same playoff record" part. Just gotta throw in that little jab there to remind us of the point you're trying to make. What great timing it was in the article to finish that same sentence with this link(a link that shows that Ovechkin is the highest scoring active player in the league in terms of playoff points her game):

    "Hey! Ovechkin sucks in the playoffs! Let me prove it to you by showing you that he's the best player in the league in the playoffs!"

  2. OK I know this is way super mega ultra rossikush old and no longer relevant at all, but I want to point this out.

    "In his last 19 playoff games, Ovechkin has one goal and six assists on the man advantage … "

    This would put him on pace for 30 power play points through the course of an 82 game season. Four players in the NHL had 30+ power play points last season. Four.