Fists, Frustration For Alexander Ovechkin
Sunday night’s main event at Madison Square Garden featured Alex Ovechkin vs. Brandon Dubinsky at center ice. Ovechkin was on the bottom of this one. Let’s hope this is rock bottom for the Washington Capitals.
“It was just a moment in the game. Nothing special happened,” said Ovechkin, after his team dropped their sixth straight, losing this time to the New York Rangers 7-0.
It may not have been much of a fight, but the moment was truly symbolic of Ovechkin, his teammates, and what so many are feeling about the Capitals these days: frustration.
Why might Ovechkin be feeling frustration? Because he’s working harder than anyone else. He leads the league in shots with 140, and yet his goal production is way off from last season. Just 12 goals through 32 games. The good news is he’s compensated with 24 assists. That puts him in fifth place overall with 36 points, 15 back of Sydney Crosby who leads the league with 51. Throw in a +8 plus/minus ratio and you’ve got a hard working, frustrated team captain who knows he’s got to turn the ship around somehow, and fast.
Fighting is not the answer.
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With just two goals in his last fourteen games Ovechkin knows he must ignite the Caps with offense, not fists.
“He’s had the chances but he hasn’t buried them,” said Caps coach Bruce Boudreau after Sunday’s game. “It’s new to him so it’s perplexing I would think.”
Perplexing, frustrating, call it what you will.
To get back into the win column the Capitals are going to have to get more than just goals from Ovechkin. They will have to get better goaltending, especially if they want to advance deeper in the playoffs and become a real cup contender.
In last night’s loss, the Rangers managed just two shots on goal in the third period, and scored on both of them. Semyon Varlamov faced just twenty shots on the night. Several Rangers goals were “soft” and that’s plenty frustrating for a team that hit the goal post four times on the other end of the ice. No wonder Ovechkin dropped the gloves. Nothing else was working. Let’s just hope he leaves the fighting to someone else next time.
By: Jim Pike
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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