F Street Faithful
by Matthew Tate on 03/17/12 at 05:18 PM ET
Last night, the Capitals fell 3-2 in Winnipeg. Even just watching it on television, you could get a sense of how intense the game was. The 15,000+ fans in the MTS Centre only added to this feel, who made it hard to hear Joe B at times. In the past, it has been like these games that has caused Ovechkin to elevate his game to a dominating pace. What we saw Saturday, though, was a player who lacked any sense of purpose.
Everything was in place to light a fire under Ovechkin. It was an intensely physical game, in Canada, with the entire crowd booing him every time he had the puck. In the third period, there appeared to be a perfect time for Ovechkin to put in a classic rush, eventually putting the puck behind Pavelec. He gathered the puck, sped down the right wing side, and only had Grant Clitsome standing between him and jumping into the glass. Clitsome was a late round (271st overall) 2004 draft pick of the Blue Jackets. Prior to this season, he played just 42 games for the Blue Jackets and eventually was picked off of waivers by the Jets. These are the types of guys that a fired-up Ovechkin leaves in his wake. Instead, we watched as Ovechkin was sent face-first to the ice by a well-placed hip check. He simply got back up and skated out of the zone, as the fans jeered him and cheered Clitsome.
Throughout the remainder of the game, Ovechkin appeared to be a shadow. When the final horn blew, Ovechkin left the game with 5 shots and 5 hits in just under 20 minutes of ice time. In a game that he should have left with this head high, having played his heart out. Instead, we sit here celebrating the work of Jay Beagle. Jay Beagle deserved to be celebrated. He played his heart out and did everything he could to help the Capitals hold on to the 8th spot, but Ovechkin should never put in so poor of an effort that a perennial 4thliner was considered a superstar in comparison.
The Capitals have 11 games remaining with a 2-point lead on the 8th spot. The current road-trip continues with trips to Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, before returning home for another date with the Jets. If the Capitals hope to hold-on to this last spot, they need their best players to be Green, Semin, and Ovechkin, not guys like Hendricks and Beagle. Should Ovechkin not turn this around, I fear he must go the way of Patrick Marleau.
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About F Street Faithful
Welcome to the home of the F Street Faithful, run by Matthew Tate. This is a go-to blog for all things related to the Washington Capitals. The F Street Faithful is 5% news and 95% breaking down the news.
In the past I have written for several other sports blogs as well as the college newspaper while at York College of Pennsylvania. I am a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania but am based out of Southern Maryland.
You can follow me on twitter @FStreetTate but I must warn that I do tweet about more than hockey. You can also e-mail me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.