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Ovechkin sees limited ice time again in Game 7

Apr 25, 2012, 11:17 PM EDT

ovechkintrippedgetty Getty Images

Perhaps it’s just the nature of being the NHL’s highest-paid player,* but Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin gets noticed even when he’s not on the ice.

Much like most of this series, his frequent absence was rather glaring. Ovechkin received 16:25 minutes of ice time of the Capitals’ 2-1 overtime win in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins. To give you an idea of where that ranks, here are the Capitals who received more time on ice during the contest:

Mike Green: 24:55 time on ice
Roman Hamrlik: 24:52 TOI
Karl Alzner: 24:41 TOI
John Carlson: 22:29 TOI
Brooks Laich: 20:37 TOI
Troy Brouwer: 19:13 TOI
Dennis Wideman: 17:56 TOI
Marcus Johansson: 17:45 TOI
Nicklas Backstrom: 17:35 TOI
Jay Beagle: 16:39 TOI

Seeing defensemen get more ice time is perfectly reasonable, even if Ovechkin has had times where he was the overall team leader in that category, too. Yet Ovechkin being ranked sixth among forwards in ice time is a real eye-opener.

For some, the Capitals’ results are impressive enough that Dale Hunter will be lauded for courageously parking his star on the bench (particularly when Washington was in the lead). Yet with three more rounds to win, the obvious question is: can the Capitals go deep with this strategy?

Ovechkin has said all the right things – more or less – but one wonders how far Washington can really go without their superstar getting big minutes.

* – At least from a salary cap hit perspective.

  1. capsfan19 - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    Relax b’s D had his number. He had two fantastic opportunities but aside from that chara and seidenberg were very good at shutting him down

    • rg3isvictory - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:50 PM

      Exactly, he had a great combo following him at all times and an amazing goalie behind them!! He’ll have more success against the Rangers!!!

  2. rarelyshaves - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    honestly hunter is brilliant for this. ovie is hungry and fresh every time he touches the ice. i love the play, as well as having him on a line with two grinders

    • polegojim - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:47 PM

      You’re kidding, right? Do you actually believe this?

      • rg3isvictory - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:51 PM


      • polegojim - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM

        Ok… I’ll type slower….

        Which true superstar that you know of actually gets YANKED for being unproductive?

        Sarcastic Headlines…

        “Sidney Crosby gets LESS ice time because the defense has played him SOOO well..” NOT!

        “Mike Babcock SITS Pavel Datsyuk because the D has been double teaming him”… Yah, right!!!

        O was benched because he couldn’t hack it.

        Is that clearer?

      • bethgoesglobal - Apr 26, 2012 at 3:12 AM

        @polegojim – Could you remind me because I forgot, who played against the Flyers in the 1st round? and the Preds?

        Oh- that’s right…. guess Sid and Pavel won’t have to worry about their coaches making such ridiculous calls on the bench. Because no one keeps a “true superstar” off the ice, right?!?

      • polegojim - Apr 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM

        Nice attempt to deflect… and TOTALLY ignore the headline and topic of this thread.

        Last time I checked BOTH Pavel and Sid are Stanley Cup winners, and are the guys their coaches WANT on the ice as much as possible in ANY situation.

        Ovechkin…. not so much by his coach, for good reason.

      • rarelyshaves - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:38 AM

        because the empiric evidence supports your opinion right? oh wait

      • polegojim - Apr 29, 2012 at 10:16 AM

        Let’s see… Do us a favor and REREAD the headline and article…. you’re looking for evidence BEYOND the fact that his HC LIMITED his ice time… AGAIN???

        O got benched in favor of other players due to INEFFECTIVENESS in the PLAYOFFS… um… yep, most of us call that empirical evidence.

        The ice time decision/EVIDENCE by his HC means O was playing BELOW the level of the players his HC actually WANTED on the ice more often…

        Superstars don’t get ‘shutdown’ unless. they’re NOT playing like superstars. O has not.

        I can’t think of any other way to explain…Evidence.

  3. polegojim - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Complete exposure…. True SuperStars are not ‘shut down’.

    Limited ice time means he couldn’t RUN with the Big Dogs… Period.

  4. rainyday56 - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Is anyone else seeing the parallel between this series and the 1971 Habs cup run?
    Finished in the second to last playoff spot in the east. Eliminate defending champ Bruins with the stellar play of a rookie goalie. The script would be perfect if the Caps win the cup, and Ovie gets Hunter fired, just like Henri Richard got Al MacNeil fired after their cup win.

  5. rg3isvictory - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    OVI has the owner in his pocket! So you could be right!

  6. dawglb - Apr 26, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Loud, clear, and correct! However, he is no slouch. He will be rested to crank it up, if called upon. I believe he is too selfish for Hunter’s system. He is being sent a message. This is Hunter’s real job interview for next year. If he benches Ovie, and wins, Dale stays. If he loses, Hunter is gone. One must go. Hunter is trying to prove that Ovie needs to go.

  7. stakex - Apr 26, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    It should be noted that its not just Ovechkin who didn’t see nearly as much ice time as one would expect in such an important game. Backstrome saw only a minute more of ice time (most of which comes from 55 seconds on the penelty kill), and Semin only saw 14:20 in ice time. Considering thet are by far Washingstons best players, thats a real shock considering the Caps didn’t have a lead to protect for the entire second half of the game.

    Can the Caps go deep in the playoffs with their star players sitting on the bench so much when the Caps need goals? Not a chance. They got away with it this series since it was a very low socring defensive battle… but if they try that against the Rangers or Flyer they will be slaughtered.

  8. bozosforall - Apr 26, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Boston CHOKES yet again! First the Red Sox last fall, then the Pats this winter, now the Bruins this spring…next the Celtics this summer…or sooner.

    City of CHOKERS


    • thetruth1313 - Apr 26, 2012 at 7:13 AM

      Wow!!! Obsess that much? Posting the same comment over and over again?

      • bozosforall - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:43 AM

        Obsess? You mean like Red Sox fans have obsessed over the Yankees for the last 100 years? Hypocrite much, theuntruth1313?

      • thetruth1313 - Apr 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        Not really I could care less about the Yankees.

  9. bcjim - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    This is a non story. He is averaging 19:39/gm…and this type of series, it just makes more sense to limit mistakes rather than trying to create chances. Plus he plays no PK so that was 4 of the last 9 minutes of the 3rd last night.

    Boston, despite their goal production in the reg season is an offensively limited team. When Lucic and Marchand are your go-to options? Yeah, limited. Bergeron and Seguin are skilled, but thats pretty much it….so it made sense to just shut them down. Plus with that gorilla Chara chasing OV around his cage, what is the point?

    Washingtons 3/4 line guys are actually pretty capable offensively when they get a chance (ie Hendricks/ Ward last night) and quite good defensively.

    Against Philly if it comes to that, I think we’ll see a lot more OV/Semin. Against the Rags/FL, it could be more like this. NJD, not sure.

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