Alexander Ovechkin is by far one of the most dominant players in the National Hockey League today. With his outstanding statistics, gritty play and success in the regular season, he has the opportunity to lead his team to the Stanley Cup. So far despite his team’s consistent talent level, Ovi and the Washington Capitals cannot seem to find their way to get to the Stanley Cup; but why? There are a few major reasons why the Washington Capitals have not won a cup since the drafting of Alexander Ovechkin.
In most of Ovi’s years with the Washington Capitals, the team has not been that great. As a whole, the Capitals have not been able to come together, specifically in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Caps have been incredibly successful in the regular season since the drafting of Ovi, accumulating three Presidents’ Trophies. Also, the Caps have had some outstanding players surrounding Ovechkin including (more recently) Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson. Of course, back in the mid-2000s, the Caps were somewhat successful but not as successful as they are recently.
Their goaltending has recently been one of their most talented positions in the recent years, along with their forwards. However, their defense has been non-existent since the departure of Mike Green. They have had some big names and some defensive success in the recent years, but nothing compared to some of the most successful teams in the NHL and, more specifically, compared to teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Washington Capitals have had some big names with hefty stats in the recent years, but can’t seem to pull it all together when it matters most.
It’s all about the position. A top winger in the National Hockey League cannot have the same effect on a team as a top center. Ovi is one of the best players in the NHL, but cannot impact his team enough to create more success as much as a top center could. Centers have dominated the winning of the Selke Trophy since 2003. Wingers can’t seem to get enough time in the defensive zone to create their own success on the way to translating that into the offensive zone where they could accumulate even more success. Ovechkin is almost strictly an offensive zone player, even though he has the ability to make the team extremely successful in their own zone. Even though teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs look for goals and playmaking for numbers on the scoreboard, they put more responsibility on the 200-ft assignments given out to the centers than they do for any other forward.
Will Ovi win the cup? Only the future can tell. Things we need to look at are whether or not the Caps will still try to create another “stacked” team, if the coaching and goaltending is at its pinnacle, and if they in fact can make a push during the post-season. We can see Ovechkin still being extremely successful in the coming years, but it’s all about the team, versus the individual player, especially in hockey. Fans cannot figure that one player will win the cup; the whole team needs to come together and win it together.
Every team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has a chance to win it all, but it is extremely hard to go the distance. In the past, we look at Jarome Iginla, Jeremey Roenick, Eric Lindros, Paul Kariya, Cam Neely and many other stars of their time who haven’t won a cup in their playing years. These players were top skaters and competitors in their association, but never held up the signature Stanley Cup. For Caps fans and players, we can only hope that they have a chance to win it. They surely have the talent. Will Ovi ever reach that moment? The future Washington Capitals teams will show you.