Thursday, February 17, 2011

Annual Ovechkin Viewing

Since exploading into the league in 2005, Alex Ovechkin has been one of the NHL's premier players. It's interesting, to say the least, to see his goal production in such a decline after putting 52 in the back of the net a year ago.

Whatever the reason is for his "decline" (conditioning, lack of adaptation, or saving himself for the playoffs), I never miss an opportunity to watch the Great 8 live.

The first time I watched him live couldn't have been a better game. A fortuitous Vegas trip just days before afforded me the opportunity to witness, first-hand, what's known as "The Goal":

I've see him play three more times in person - once in Columbus and twice in San Jose - where he's always put up points and, in some cases, completely taken over games. I'm concerned that tonight I'll be left dissatisfied with his performance but it wouldn't be a surprise given the way he has been playing this season.

I do find it intersesting to hear broadcasters, especially in the Western Conference, talk about Ovechkin (and the Capitals) this season. Usually, it begins with his career numbers versus the team he's facing that night, which is almost always more than impressive. Then they talk about how Ovechkin over-shadows the ability of his teammate Niklas Backstrom. The focus then moves to his struggles this season and what it might be attributed to. Once Ovechkin seizes on opportunity and scores a goal, his play is described as "vintage" as if the 25 year-old is in the twighlight of his career.

An off year? By Ovechkin standards, sure. But no matter the outcome of this season (and playoffs) for the Capitals, I don't doubt that next season he'll put over 50 ginos in the back of the net and score over 100 points - scorers like Ovi just don't lose that ability. Tonight, though, I'm just hoping for some "vintage" Ovechkin.
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