Alex Ovechkin From The Eyes Of A Hockey Noob

DC Sports Nexus ---- Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You probably know by now that I never watched hockey before this year. In 20+ games I have figured out the game a little bit but my knowledge is nowhere close to that of real hockey fans. So keep in mind as you are reading this that I only know what my narrow mind sees when I watch the game.

Living in DC I have always heard about the wonders of Alex Ovechkin. Although I never watched him play I would always see highlights on SportsCenter, hear about him on sports talk radio, and listen to the ravings of Caps fans in the area about how special a player Alex Ovechkin is. My preseason impression of Alex was that him and Sidney Crosby were the top 2 players in the league and that it was a coin flip as to who was better. Alex Ovechkin was described to me by the media & fans as the Michael Jordan of hockey.

When I decided to follow the Capitals this season and begin watching hockey, I was expecting to see something special. However, after watching a few games I did not see Alex standing out as the best player on the ice. In the 20ish games I have seen, Alex has flashed greatness on a few occassions. However, on more occasions I have seen him falling on the ice, breaking his stick, or getting the puck poke checked away as he attempts a drag move. One second he is flying around the ice smashing guys left and right, and the next he is coasting slowly on the ice away from the puck not moving and looking frustrated.

Some of the fans I talked to told me to give Ovi some time. They told me that hockey was not like basketball and that one player doesn't usually take over a game even if he is the best player in the game. Then Sidney Crosby came back. He immediatly made an impact in his first few games on the ice. That got me thinking about all the games I saw. In several of the games, when the game was over I knew a certain player's name because they dominated. They stood out in a way that Ovi hasn't all year.

I began to think that people were hyping up Ovechkin because he was on their favorite team. But I took a look at some stats and realized that at one time he may have been the best player in the game. He was the first pick in the NHL draft. He made the first ballot all star team 5 years in a row including his rookie year. He won Rookie of the Year. He was the MVP 2 times and Most Outstanding Player 3 times. He led the league in scoring 2 seasons, and in points one season. Look at those stats, and look at 2011-12 Ovechkin and tell me I didn't make the stats up.

As I've repeated over and over again, I've only watched 20 games. But when someone named Jason Chimera has more goals than Ovi on his own team, what is that saying? That compares to Steve Kerr scoring more points than Michael Jordan. Insanity.

From the eyes of a first year hockey watcher, Nick Backstrom has stood out as the only All-Star on the Caps. He has been their most consistant and best player, and not one other person on the team has played even close to his level. And Nick Backstrom doesn't look like a superstar to me. He looks like a great player, a definite all-star, but not one of the top 10 guys in the league.

So as I see it there is only 1 conclusion. Alexander Ovechkin has already peaked and is on his way down. Sure he is still one of the best players on the team, but he is supposed to be THE BEST. He is going to either have to re-invent his game or continue to struggle? I really hope that by ignoring hockey for years that I didn't miss watching Ovi in his prime, but I'm afraid that might be the case...Maybe the new coach will turn him around...I hope so...

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