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Teams playing Ovechkin ‘tight’ on power play

Nov 27, 2013, 3:09 PM EDT

St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals Getty Images

Alex Ovechkin is still scoring lots of goals for the Washington Capitals. In fact, he’s scored seven times in his last six games.

Here’s the difference though: Of Ovechkin’s last seven goals, only one has been on the power play. Of the 13 goals he scored previously, seven were with the man advantage.

That’s no coincidence. It’s just Washington’s opponents doing their homework.

“You can see how tight they play against me on the power play,” Ovechkin said, per CSN Washington. “It’s good for different players on our team, good for [defensemen John Carlson and Mike Green] to shoot the puck. I’m going to be covered but someone else can score. When we’re 5-on-4 we have to score from the blue line. If they cover me they’re going to be open and they just have to score.”

Unfortunately for the Caps, “they” haven’t been scoring. In Washington’s last seven games, the power play is just 2-for-23.

So for now, expect teams to keep playing Ovechkin tight, which includes taking away his dangerous one-timer from the left side.

“We need everybody to score so they can’t take [Ovechkin] away,” said head coach Adam Oates. “When we do, it’ll open up more offense.”

Winless in their last three, the Caps host the Sens tonight and Montreal Friday.

PS — I don’t want to say I saw this coming a month ago, but…

  1. ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    slap Blake up on the team strategy board when you’re playing the Caps. tight butthole.

  2. blomfeld - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:10 PM


    Fellow sales professionals will be only too familiar with the term ‘gerbil’ selling. Of course this is when a salesperson goes ‘on and on’ about ‘this or that’ to a prospect, all the while completely oblivious to the fact that the entire sales process is going positively nowhere … much like a gerbil racing on an exercise wheel in his cage. In fact, the sales process is probably going backwards and the prospect is likely becoming agitated and/or upset.

    Friends, I would submit that in this context, Alexander Ovechkin is a ‘gerbil’ scorer. Yes he scores goals and he pads his own personal statistics … no argument there. Yet the question that needs to be answered is ‘what’ is he actually doing to benefit his team? Sure, he can score a 100 hundred goals for himself. But that won’t mean a thing if the Capitals miss the playoffs or get bounced again in the first round … that I can assure you.

    Summary: Ovechkin needs to abandon his narcissistic ways and start leading like a true captain!

    • stakex - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      The thing is, Ovechkin doesn’t have much of a team around him. A leader can only do so much with the team he has to work with. There is a reason Ovechkin was the MVP last year, and is likely going to be on the short again this year, and its because the Caps are a weak team that would be in last place if not for him.

      I would also point out that you have no idea what goes on in the locker room, and what kind of leading goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps Ovechkin isn’t a great leader, but if your only reason to assume that is because the Cap suck aside from him…. you really don’t have much of an argument.

  3. stakex - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Actually the Rangers figured this out in the playoffs last year, holding Ovechkin to just one goal in seven games… something that seems unthinkable right now. What they did was simply plant a shadow on him at all times, not just on the power play, and make the rest of the Caps beat them. As we can see, if Ovechkin is neutralized, the Caps are pretty ineffective.

    When it comes to their power play, there are two things the Caps can do: Put Ovechkin in front of the net and thus draw more traffic to the top of the crease and open up the points for a lot shots. The other is they can put Ovechkin out high on the point which will create more room down low as teams cheat out to take away Ovechkin’s space. Either one should lead to a lot of scoring chances if teams continue to play Ovechkin so tight.

  4. hazlydose - Nov 27, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    I suggested this about a month ago when Ovi was on his goal scoring tear. Did it really take professionals that long to figure out that Ovi is their best weapon on the PP?

  5. polegojim - Nov 27, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    It happens to even the best of teams at times.

    Ovi is not a ‘front of the net’ type guy. He does better with some space. They do however need that true front-of-net antagonist, a real Holmstrom-type. Either scoring goals, or forcing more than one Dman to drop in… and drawing more penalties. Who will man up and LIVE the role?

    With even just ONE more guy getting aggressive and become a problem on the PP, the pressure surrounding Ovi will loosen up.

  6. watermelon1 - Nov 28, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    Sounds like every other year…. caps have nothing except Ovechkin. Opponents focus all their talents and energy defending Ovechkin.

    Pretty simple formula until the Caps decide to either improve their scoring threats or improve their defense a whole lot!

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