Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Alexander Ovechkin: Image of the Invisible

Since his 2005-06 rookie campaign, no one in the NHL has scored more goals than Alexander Ovechkin. The only player who comes close to the Russian superstar is Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators, and there is still a gap between the two.

The fact of the matter is that each year Ovechkin has set his sights on a higher goal and a new standard for himself. Last season he broke Luc Robitaille's record for goals in a season, finishing with 65, which eclipsed the previous mark of 63 set by the long time King. Those 65 goals also won him the Maurice Richard Trophy.

Alex has proven that neither the hype, nor the pressure the pressure, or even the opponent can stand in his way as he has been a one man wrecking crew for as long as he has been a Capital.

That's why his start to this season has been so disappointing.

Ovechkin has played in nine games so far this year, putting up a modest five points (2G, 3A). His two markers came in the same game versus the Blackhawks in the second game of the year.

The team has sputtered out of the gates, and the lack of production from number eight is largely the reason for their 5-4-2 mark.

Lets be honest, Nicklas Backstrom, Chris Clark and Viktor Kozlov haven't been the best line mates this year, however that's never stopped Alexander in the past. Dainius Zubrus and Jeff Halpren are still thanking him for the payouts they received in the free agent market due to their inflated point production with Ovechkin.

There is no reason why he shouldn't be able to succeed despite those around him, yet he is. He's shooting less. He's driving the net less. Sometimes you can go a few shifts without noticing him at all.

Nevertheless, the season is still young and Ovechkin does have a history of slower starts, and you also have to factor in that he spent a week in Moscow, Russia with his ailing grandfather.

His play may be lacking but his dedication should never be questioned. He has always played through adversity and has always played for his teammates above himself.

In his recent trip to Russia, he slept during the day and stayed up during the night so to not become jet lagged. That speaks volume for not only his character but also his love of the game.

Alexander Ovechkin is no Kevin Bacon in the sense that you'll never go a hour and a half without seeing him at all (see 90% of Bacon's terrible films, or Hollow Man). He will hit the score sheet more frequently as this season goes on and the Caps will benefit from it as he is still heavily depended on despite the insurgence of his counterpart Alexander Semin.

He will get the job done. It's only a matter of time.

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