Photo: Patrick McDermott
I was trying to come up with the most elegant way to introduce the RMNB season review for Alex Ovechkin, but all I came up with is this:
|20:20||Average time on ice per game|
|53.8%||Shot attempt percentage during 5v5|
|51.9%||Goal percentage during 5v5|
Ovechkin’s on-ice shot-attempt percentage in 10-game running segments, according to War on Ice:
Alex Ovechkin scored 53 goals. Let’s start there. That’s incredible. That’s more than most models and pundits predicted he’d score. (I guessed 50, VUKOTA had him at 45, Ian had him at like 215 but I like Ian’s style.)
So, yeah: good season. Wait, scratch that. Gr8 season. And goals are just one piece of it. Ovechkin had his best 5v5 possession season since 2009-10, his best defensive season since the same, and his best power-play season since everrrrrr. He scored five goals and recorded four assists in 14 playoff games, he recorded 11 game-winning goals– tying his personal best for the third time, and put himself in a strong position to compete for the Hart in addition to already winning the Richard.
Reminder: he scored 53 goals. That’s ten more than Steven Stamkos in second place.
Also this season, Alex Ovechkin became the franchise leader in goals, points, and game-winning goals. La dee da.
Any attempt to comprehensively attribute Ovi’s success has to be a little simplistic. There’s just too many factors involved. Among them: getting rid of Oates, his inhuman durability, having a stable and healthy center in Nick Backstrom, reversion of last season’s crummy linemate luck, and that lethal Capitals power play. There’s surely more, including the elimination of so-called “glide” from Ovi’s game, but basically credit belongs to a lot of people, especially the player himself. Getting rid of a bad coach and bad linemates and bad luck is fine and dandy, but for the world’s best scorer to remain such at the verge of his thirtieth birthday is amazing on an individual level and worthy of celebration.
To get real, age will become an increasing factor in the future. This is not an elevator that only goes up. Ovi’s smash-em-up style might not be viable when his freakish physique stops being quite so invincible. But the last two years have shown us that Alex can play a more dynamic game. It’s not just quick face-off goals and driving into the offensive zone, cutting to the middle, then using the D as a screen anymore. Ovi’s ability to pick his spots and his cherries could keep him near the top of the league for the next couple years at least. Those skills age well. Plus, if you ask me, the Caps could and should get more power-play opportunities than they did this season, giving Ovi more chances to be the most dangerous player in the world– assuming the team can activate him even if Mike Green leaves.
I’m not sure how to summarize this. I don’t know how to articulate the scope of this accomplishment. I spent my first year at RMNB documenting Ovi’s dominance, and then it stopped. We spent the next few years bemoaning the decline– even as Ovi continued to win Richard and Hart trophies– because we knew he wasn’t playing at his best. I’m not sure we can say that anymore.
The Washington Capitals finally got out of his way and Let Ovi Be Ovi. What’s next?
P.S. Alex Ovechkin scored 53 goals.
Um. We covered the hell out of Ovi again.
We can debate which of these things were manufactured and which were genuine, but I think it’s safe to say Ovi’s humanitarian streak itself is sincere. Here we go:
Alex Ovechkin turns 30 this summer. How will his game change in the next decade? How long can he keep fend off Stamkos from the top of the goal-scorers list? When will he loose his spot on the first line and become a specialty player?
Or, if you don’t wanna be a total downer, let’s just talk about how awesome Ovi was this season.
Read more: Japers Rink
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