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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Season in Review: Alexander Ovechkin

Think of Ovie’s season as the the AC/DC song Hells Bells.  Go ahead, click on the video and keep reading.

Notice how the intro starts off slow.  Much like Ovie did.  At the start of the season, everyone wanted his head.  Well, at least I did.  Remember my rant about how much I temporarily hated him?  I was totally over him.  Sick of him coasting in the d-zone, not seeming to care about any game until we were winning.  Sick of seeing one of the greatest natural scorers just not score anymore.  He had just 15 points and eight goals through the first 19 games.  Three of those goals came in one game, and he went scoreless in nine games.  And his next eight games weren’t that much better.  Ovie had just two goals and added five more assists.  It was just dreadful.

But then, just as the song begins to build up more and more, so did Ovie.  He had one on March 17th against Buffalo, then another against the Penguins, then ANOTHER against the Jets, and he then scored TWICE against the Jets in the next game, and then added ANOTHER one against the Rangers. After his terrible 27 game start, Ovie went on and scored 22 goals in the next 21 games.  He had five multi-goal games, and carried the Capitals to a 16-3-2 record to close the year.  He was rejuvenated. He wasn’t just scoring.  He was hitting.  He was working.  He was making the opposition worry.  But, most importantly, he was leading.

Ok, you can pause the song now.  Or keep rocking, your choice.

What Ovie did at the closing of the season was truly unbelievable.  Never have I seen a player completely turn around his season and go on the tear that Ovie did.

The reason most certainly falls on Adam Oates.  He is the dream coach for Ovie.  One of the greatest setup men of all time will always find ways to get his top scorer open.

What I found exciting about Ovie’s little streak was that he was finding different ways to score goals.  It was well known that during the Boudreau era of DC hockey, Ovechkin would power the puck down the left, curl and drag past the defender, swoop across the ice, and fire a shot past the goalie.  He once did it 65 times in a season.  Other team’s tend to hate getting scored on, and when they hate to get scored on, they will try to find ways to stop the other team from scoring.  It became quickly apparent that opposing teams succeeded in finding ways to stop Ovie.  I mean, was it really that hard to figure out?

But now, Ovie can barrel down the right.  He can sneak back door.  We can find him open on the point of the power play.  We can even plant all 230 lbs of him in front of the net and have him deflect it in.  That is what Oates has been able to do.

And the scary thing?  Imagine if he did that all year.  Imagine when he has a full offseason to work with Oates.  Imagine the numbers he will put up then.

We got a sneak peek of the possibility.  And the even SCARIER thing?  That sneak peek was still good enough to earn the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy.  But, would you believe there is an even SCARIER fact than that?  There is no way.  It’s not possible.  For the faint and fragile, for the weak and those easily frightened, for Rangers, Flyers, and Penguins fans, please read no further.

The preview won Ovie the MVP of the league.

Video Provided By:  HDNHLHighlights

Grade:  A

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