Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Capital’s Problems Start With Ovechkin

from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,

The Washington Capitals have mortgaged their strong start to the season with passion-less play over the past month, exemplified by Saturday night’s listless effort in Toronto. The Caps have lost seven of their last 11 games, mixing in the occasional stand with mucho malaise, so naturally, all the tired cliché are being dragged out for Coach Bruce Boudreau.

“He’s lost the locker room.” Really? Did the players and their cubicles magically go poof, like a misplaced set of car keys? “They’ve stopped playing for him.” I’m imagining a players-only meeting ending with the team captain proclaiming, “That’s it; we all agree: We need to lose one for Coach tonight.”

The truth is, only one person is emotionally missing from the Capitals’ locker room, and everyone inside that cocoon knows who it is. It’s the guy who looks like a shell of his former self, who hasn’t scored in four games and doesn’t even look interested in playing hockey right now. Until Alex Ovechkin finds himself, finds the electrifying player he once was and backpacks this team to the Stanley Cup finals, everyone’s employment with the organization is in jeopardy.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin

Comments

Hank1974's avatar

Ovie was awesome when he was allowed to play firewagon hockey and had zero pressure or responsibilities. It was all smiles, jokes and having a lot of fun playing hockey.

Now that he has the ‘C’, massive expectations and playing inside a boring defensive system, he’s been reduced to a run-of-the-mill 80-point player.

I think he can snap out of it, but he has to elevate his game. He has the same move over and over, and both defenses and goalies are expecting it.

At this point, perhaps Kessel is a better player than him - and younger too.

Posted by Hank1974 on 11/21/11 at 06:46 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

At this point, perhaps Kessel is a better player than him - and younger too.

Posted by Hank1974 on 11/21/11 at 03:46 PM ET

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 11/21/11 at 06:51 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa.

Hahaha. You’re right. Perhaps I spoke to soon. I let my emotions get in the way.

But you could make the argument that Ovie is not even in the top 20 players right now.

Posted by Hank1974 on 11/21/11 at 07:00 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Hahaha. You’re right. Perhaps I spoke to soon. I let my emotions get in the way.

But you could make the argument that Ovie is not even in the top 20 players right now.

Posted by Hank1974 on 11/21/11 at 04:00 PM ET

I could also make the argument that Andre Racicot is the greatest goalie of all-time.

But I’d still be wrong.

I think what you have here is an attempt to turn Ovechkin into a different player like has happened many times before (Yzerman, Modano, etc).  Only the problem is, Ovechkin can’t and probably SHOULDN’T make that transition, or be forced to.  I think it’s just Square Peg, Round Hole….

I also think Washington still isn’t built very well.  Maybe they’ll get it, maybe they won’t, but… they need to take the reins off him if they want him, and the team, to succeed.

Posted by Primis on 11/22/11 at 01:27 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by Primis on 11/21/11 at 10:27 PM ET

Primis, sometimes it can be easy to disagree with you. smile But today I find myself +1ing you again.

Ovechkin has a combination of size, speed, and shot that is rarely seen. Yzerman and Modano were obviously great great offensive forces, but I have to admit if you drop Ovechkin into 1985 he may well have scored 80+ goals per year across multiple years. His skill set is that unique and special.

The funny thing is, save for #s 99 and 66, pretty much every great player has had a “down” year in the middle of the careers, with no obvious injury issue to explain it.

I actually disagree with the article completely—I think Boudreau is the problem. Not even so much that he’s a bad coach (he’s actually shown that he can coach multiple systems very well). What I mean is that I think his voice now just grates on his team. A lot of these guys have been with him going back to the AHL, and he seems like a strong personality that could be difficult to take over that long of a period of time.

Ovechkin isn’t without blame… he simply needs to play harder. There are a handful of stars off to bad or mediocre starts this season. Unless there is an underlying injury we don’t know about, I’d still put my money on a 40+ goal season. Maybe not up to what was likely an unrealistic expectation he set for a couple years, but it will still rank among the best in the league.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 11/22/11 at 12:08 PM ET

awould's avatar

Should Boudreau force Ovechkin to become a solid two-way player? Maybe, maybe not. But Ovechkin should play hard every second he’s on the ice, wherever the puck is. And he doesn’t.

Posted by awould on 11/22/11 at 01:12 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

But Ovechkin should play hard every second he’s on the ice, wherever the puck is. And he doesn’t.

+1.

Posted by Hank1974 on 11/22/11 at 01:19 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

image

image