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Fresh off third Hart, Ovechkin still aiming for Cup

Sep 24, 2013, 6:57 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin AP

A week ago today, Alex Ovechkin celebrated his 28th birthday, firmly placing him in the prime of his career.

“Of course it’s hard (to) realize you’re getting older. And, of course, you always want to be 24, 23 years old,” Ovechkin told the Canadian Press via NHL.com. “But it’s impossible. So you just move on.”

As star players get older though, what they still have left to accomplish becomes increasingly more glaring. On an individual level, Ovechkin has a lot to be proud of. He’s won the Hart Trophy three times, more than any player with the notable exceptions of Eddie Shore, Gordie Howe, and Wayne Gretzky.

Those players have something else on Ovechkin too: They’ve all won the Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, Ovechkin has never gotten past the second round.

He’s not the only great player that still hasn’t raised Lord Stanley’s Mug. The Sedin twins in Vancouver are 32 and have fallen short, and the same can be said for 34-year-old forward Joe Thornton. But of the guys around Ovechkin’s age or older that are lacking a championship, Ovechkin is arguably the greatest player.

Washington is a team with the tools to succeed, but they have a lot of company in that regard. Still, a year ago, Ovechkin appeared to be in a slow downward spiral and, with the help of new coach Adam Oates, he’s going into this season looking like an elite once more. Perhaps Oates can help Ovechkin and Washington make that final push.

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  1. operwapitsai - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Good to hear. Im sick of hearing about him wanting to win gold at the Olympics or the World Championship more than he wants the cup.

    • ravenscaps48 - Sep 25, 2013 at 7:20 AM

      This may be the best shot for Alex and Co. to get something accomplished. I feel that this is the best Caps team that has been assembled since our decimation in the ’98 Cup Finals. I think we still lack that top end physical defenseman, but it has all the makings for top 10 offense, defense, goaltending, and special teams. We have a great blend of youth and veteran leadership. Holtby was outstanding last season and it should translate well into this year. I have high expectations for this team. And I think they might make a lot of us smile come May and possibly June. LETS GO CAPS!!!

  2. lowenni - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    I’m glad to see that Ovi has finally matured as a player and as a person. Ever since he got engaged to Maria he’s carried himself in a much more respectful way. He’s not only a great player, but also turning into a great person as well. I didn’t agree with his captaincy before this year, but after watching his turnaround last year I hold him in the highest regard (if I force myself to forget the playoffs). The Great 8’s gonna come out flying this year, and he’s not just looking to score anymore. He wants to win.

  3. sampulls - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    I used to love this guys, but over the past few years I have firmly established a dislike for him. Personally thought it was an embarrassment to the league by selecting him as MVP last year.

    • lowenni - Sep 24, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      He was wholly and solely responsible for the Caps playoff berth and turnaround. The only other player who was as responsible or valuable to his team as Ovi was is John Tavares. You may disagree with the choice, but it’s certainly not an embarrassment.

  4. blomfeld - Sep 24, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    PURE CLASS !

    If there was ever a more ‘selfless & virtuous’ leader driven by the spirit of ‘Esprit de corps’ like Ovi is, then I for one have never seen him ! :)

  5. mickboogy - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    BLOMFELD!!!! please start a twitter account. I read your wrote to the guys at the office and you always leave us in stitches! you’re one of the few reasons why I troll through comments. You need to be followed!

    sincerely you’re conspicuous admirer

    • blomfeld - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:25 AM

      Mickboogy – Thank you friend, as you are too kind. With the ‘tweeting’ business however, I vowed many years ago to my people that I’d never ‘ever’ be caught either sending a tweet or wearing a sports brassiere … and God willing I never will. At any rate, I’m inclined to issue the following fatwah on behalf of you and your excellent office colleagues … ‘may it be that Mickboogy and his colleagues soon find themselves ‘besieged’ by armies of highly attractive women and lakes of expensive wine ! … inshallah’ :)

  6. mickboogy - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    your****

  7. bethgoesglobal - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    Of course it’s Ovi’s goal. If it isn’t than the Caps should have used their compliance buyout on his contract. Every player in the NHL should have the goal of winning the Cup. The Cup IS the goal, isn’t it?

    • joey4id - Sep 25, 2013 at 8:02 AM

      Right! Here is the thing about Ovi. He has not walked the talk yet. Yes! He’s absolutely great with the puck, and hungry for it when in the O zone. When the coach benches the star player because of his inability to play D, then you are not seen as the leader of the squad by your teammates. He needs to be more responsible without the puck to be considerd a leader, and capable of leading the team to the SC championship. Every hockey player who have won individual awards but no Cup would trade those awards for one SC championship. It’s up to him to step up and become a leader and SC champion or be known for nothing more than having won individual awards.

      • bethgoesglobal - Sep 25, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        Absolutely, I can’t really argue with anything you wrote. My only point was that everyone’s goal is (or should be) the Cup. You can single Ovi out but is that really fair? Where is the argument? How much “talking” has he really done? and does his role as captain really effect the outcome? Do you have to have the best captain to win a Cup?

        Now that would be an interesting debate.

      • joey4id - Sep 25, 2013 at 6:14 PM

        You don’t have to have the best captain to win a cup. However, your team captain should be your best leader. With the C comes BIG responsibility, and that C does not earn you the respect from your teammates. You need to earn it by being a model player. The guy wearing the C has to be able to play the Coach’s system better than any other player, and he must be able to rally the boys, and reel in those players who are struggling to find their game for whatever reason. When the boys are off during a practice after a flight in or a loss the player with th C has to help the coaching staff get the boys back on track. It’s a long season and keeping the team in harmony is the job of all, but more so on the coaching staff, the C and the As. We don’t have insight into the room, but what many see during a game is his lack of smart decisions when playing without the puck. He is the top earner on the Caps by about 3 mil per year. He is expected to be the one to lead, and so far he has not been playing the way he needs to play to lead the Caps.

  8. steelers88 - Sep 25, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    I think the reason why Ovi hasn’t won a cup yet is because he has had to carry the Capitals every year. He needs a better supporting cast around him.

    • joey4id - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Forget about winning the SC for a minute. He has been unable to win a Conference final. In the last 6 years the Caps have lost three times in the Conference quarter final and equally in the Conference semi’s. Five times they lost in seven games and were swept once by Tampa Bay in the semi final. In the +/- category he was in the red 4 times. His offensive skills are not in doubt. He’s just not a complete player and therefore a liability when it comes to playing team defense. The caps have had great teams and certainly had ample opportunities to make it to the big dance, and now Ov’s time is running out. The best thing he can do to help the team make it to the SCF is to become a more complete two way player. Otherwise, he will be known for a great player that failed to win the holy grail of hockey and become part of hockey royalty.

  9. mathieug79 - Sep 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Funny thing is….He’s the only Russian with a heart.

    • valoisvipers - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      I think Detroit has had a Russian with a heart for a long time now.

      • mathieug79 - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        I agree, there’s a couples that’s for sure. For many years now, lazy Russian’s have outnumbered Russian’s with heart!

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