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Team success does not define Alexander Ovechkin

June 4, 2018, 10:05 AM ET [52 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Alexander Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals are two wins away from capturing the first Stanley Cup in team history. It has been a great run by a team that was put on the side burner after flaming out with a great roster last year. There were plenty of good teams in the Eastern Conference this year and for this Capitals team to be the one in the Ovechkin era to make it to the Final really speaks to how unpredictable the NHL can be.

What is completely predictable is seeing articles written about how Alexander Ovechkin is somehow a more complete player now. Is he? Is he really all that different? What changed other than his supporting cast finally answering the bell? We know that when somebody is labeled a “more complete player” that is just hockey talk for saying that you perceive that player to be trying harder on defense. Let’s take a look at his career and how he does with shot attempts against his own net

Not seeing it. If anything he was better defensively when he was younger. He didn’t have team success when he was younger so the Russian megastar gets to be a punching bag for the North American media.

Well maybe he is generating more than in year’s past.

Nope, that isn’t it either. He seems to be pretty stable here. Here’s what his career has looked like offensively

We do have an improvement from the prior two years, but it still isn’t as good as it once was. How come Alexander Ovechkin wasn’t viewed as a complete player a decade ago when he was better at shot generation, shot suppression, and producing offense?

How do people that regularly cover this league still struggle with the concept that individuals in hockey don’t nearly have the impact star players in other sports have unless you are talking about the goaltender position? It’s crazy. Alexander Ovechkin remains a great player who is a huge reason why the Capitals are where they are. He’s also done this forever. His teammates haven’t. He’s not just starting to “buy in” now. Anybody trying to claim he has magically figured things out during this playoff run is doing a great disservice to his entire career.

Thanks for reading!
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