It’s time to trade Ovechkin

Just as a quick aside — wow, what a Game 7 for Boston and Toronto! That’s a perfect example of why there’s no other sport as exciting as hockey during the playoffs.

So, I correctly predicted both Boston and Washington would win their respective Game 7’s and advance to Round 2 last night.

And in looking at my post from yesterday with predictions on the Rangers v. Capitals game in particular, I was pretty accurate.

  • Rangers score first. True, 13 minutes in.
  • Ovie earns no points. True. Only 1 shot on goal.
  • Capitals commit more PIM than Rangers. True, NYR with 4 and WAS with 14 minutes.
  • Rangers break the home team’s winning streak and advance to Round 2 either 2-1, or 3-1 with an empty netter in the last minute. True. I underestimated how quickly Caps would give up. At the end of the 1st period they were only down 1-0. Then 5 minutes into the 2nd they were down 3-0. And 6 minutes into the 3rd they were down 5-0. From the middle of the 2nd period on it was evident from their play they’d lost hope.

It’s not a huge shock. The Capitals have a regular pattern going now of ending the season hot, and often clinching the Division title (5 out of the last 6 seasons), only to fall in the first or second round of the playoffs. I know the full responsibility of a team can’t fall on one player, but with that said, I think it’s time to trade Ovechkin. Here’s why:

  1. Gone are the white hot seasons that he displayed in 2005-2010. Yes, watching him score 50 or more goals in 3 straight seasons was sensational (an average of .731 goals per game). But those days are over. In the last 3 seasons, he’s averaged only .519 goals per game. Why? He’s one-dimensional. Everyone knows he scores from the left faceoff circle, with 42% of his career goals coming on the power-play. He’s just not creative. He doesn’t create when it seemed there was nothing there like great players can. Teams have figured him out, and know that while he does require some extra defensive attention, it’s easy to shut him down (in his 7 playoff games this year, he earned just 1 assist and scored one goal — a power-play goal).
  2. Because he’s one-dimensional, he isn’t able to lead. He can’t adjust midway through a game and provide the leadership to push his team to victory. He has one style of play.
  3. Because he can’t lead, he shouldn’t be Captain. He says ridiculous things in the media, he doesn’t take blame and criticism when he should, and he lacks professionalism.
  4. Because he shouldn’t be Captain, and his numbers aren’t indicative of a superstar that’s able to push his team deep into the playoffs, he shouldn’t be earning what he does. Right now, Ovechkin earns $9 million a year. In 2014, that figure bumps up to $10 million a year. He’s good, for sure, but the simple fact is he doesn’t contribute enough to warrant that amount. $6-7 million a year would be fair, but right now the Caps are way overpaying.
  5. Also, just as a personal pet peeve, he’s not a two-way player. His defense is embarrassing. He often looks lazy going into puck battles on the boards. His backcheck is laughable. This was more acceptable when he was a 100+ point player every season, but now he’s not producing offensively, he’s not playing good defense, he doesn’t seem to be especially elevating the other players around him… so what is he doing?

I think they dump him off on another team while his perceived value is high and build the franchise around someone else.

For a few more predictions, I see Boston advancing in 6 games and Pittsburgh in 5. I haven’t been following the west coast games much… not too sure about those.