Context is critical when assessing Alex Ovechkin’s performance. As of this writing, he’s the Captain of the team that sits on top of the NHL standings with 30 points, he ranks 4th overall among 712 players listed on this season’s stats sheet, 5th in assists, and 10th in goals.
What many view as Ovi being off his game would be an incredible start for more than 9 out of 10 NHL players, but he’s viewed through a different lens than mere mortals. He’s a 2-time league MVP who’s part of every legitimate debate trying to identify the best player on the planet. His game is assessed through a highlight real, no Youtube worthy theatrics translates into concern in the Caps blogosphere:
Russian Machine Never Breaks after last night 5-4 OT loss to the Flyers:
Alex Ovechkin had another stinker, and it’s time to start talking about it. He spoiled two excellent breakaway chances that would have been signature Ovi goals in another season. On point for the powerplay, he struggled to set up the sequence, squandering oodles of time. It’s official: something is rotten in the state of Alex.
The Peerless Prognosticator after the same loss to the Flyers:
A breakaway, hitting the post, and breaking his stick on a one-timer in the first period. Right now, Alex Ovechkin can’t catch a break. But he looked a lot better in this game than he has for most of this month
Japers Rink in last week’s Capitals Ups and Downs – Week 6 post:
With two goals and five assists on the week, AO keeps piling up the points. But with just four shots on goal over the last three games, you can tell that he’s not playing his best hockey
Using this tone when talking about the caliber of Ovi’s play is unchartered territory for many, and while these folks might be on to something I think there’s a breakout game coming. I thought it might come in Atlanta on Friday night but no, Saturday night against the Flyers showed improvement, but not yet. My money’s on Ovi, it’s coming sooner than you think.