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PHT’s top 13 of ’13: Ovi catches fire, wins third MVP

Dec 25, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

ovechkingetty Getty Images

Remember when it seemed like Alex Ovechkin lost his way? Such talk seems like a distant memory now, especially after he won the third Hart and Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies of his career in 2013.

Lofty status

Ovechkin, still just 28, joined select company with his hardware. Howie Morenz, Eddie Shore, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Bobby Clarke, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are the only other players who’ve won at least three MVP trophies. The Richard Trophy has only existed since 1998-99 but, even with that caveat, it’s still impressive that Ovechkin became the first three-time recipient.

In 2013, Ovechkin returned to level where teams likely felt relieved if he scored just once per night.

The Russian star generated six multiple-goal outings last season, including a stretch in which he scored eight goals in five games. Despite struggling right after the lockout (two goals in seven January games), Ovechkin still impressed with that league-best 32 goals in 48 contests.

Overall, he had 56 points on the season, leaving him third behind Tampa Bay Lightning teammates Martin St. Louis (60) and Steven Stamkos (57).

The switch

Capitals head coach Adam Oates drew some heat for moving Ovechkin to right wing last season, but the move paid off when Ovi finished the season with 24 goals in 23 contests. (In fact, that move was so dramatic it confounded many hockey writers, who voted him a first-team All-Star at right wing and a second-teamer left wing.)

Following his hardware-heavy season, Ovechkin thanked Oates for his guidance after feeling “trapped” by Dale Hunter. Impressively, Ovechkin’s 32 goals from 2012-13 matched his output over 79 games in 2009-10 and weren’t far behind 2011-12’s production (38 goals in 78 contests), adding credence to the notion that Oates helped him return to form.

“I told him, ‘Thank you very much,’” Ovechkin said. “I’m just happy because, again, it’s history. It means a lot for me. It’s history.”

Oddly enough, the hockey world saw “old” Ovi again after the winger embraced change and allowed himself to trust Oates.

Keeping the momentum going

It’s not as if Ovechkin is showing any signs of stopping, either. He carried over his brilliant work from last season into this one and has 30 goals in 35 contests thus far. Some wonder if he might accomplish the rare feat of scoring 50 goals in as many games:

Incredibly, Ovechkin has generated 62 goals in 83 games between last season and this season. To give you an idea of that special pace, consider this: Stamkos (60 in 2011-12) and Ovechkin (65 in 2007-08) are the only snipers to cross the 60-goal barrier since Mario Lemieux (69) and Jaromir Jagr (62) did it in 1995-96.

  1. biasedhomer - Dec 25, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Its crazy how a coach can single-handedly ruin a player.

  2. blomfeld - Dec 25, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    DON WE NOW OUR GAY APPAREL … FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA !

    give ‘credit where credit is due’ as they say … and so I tip my hat to Ovechkin who’s clearly one of the ‘best’ in the game today, along with the likes of Crosby, Carter, Stamkos, Doughty, etc … anyway, it appears that being obliged to wear his jersey like any ‘normal’ player hasn’t caused Ovi to miss a beat ? … now who would’ve thought that eh ? :)

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Ovi and all ‘excellent’ Capital fans !!!!!!!!!

  3. bencia823 - Dec 25, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    I still don’t see how you can look at 2 players with the same point total where one has a top +/- and has made his teammates put up elite level numbers, while also leading his team to the #1 seed, while the other was hot for half the season and led his team to a #3 seed, and decide that the second guy is more deserving of the MVP. The only reason Ovi beat Crosby is because the voters went off of recent memory (Ovi finished strong, Sid was injured), which is a real shame.

  4. censoredagain - Dec 25, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Overrated showboating clown. If Stamkos didn’t go down, this would not have happened. Stammer is the real MVP and doesn’t need to draw constant attention to himself.

  5. operwapitsai - Dec 25, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    lol its easier to pass the puck and have somebody else score a goal than take it and score the goal yourself. Ovi it more dominant player than Sid. Stamkos is just as good a sniper, but he is is not the dominant force that Ovi is.

    • bencia823 - Dec 26, 2013 at 4:10 AM

      Yeah, because Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz have totally proven to be elite snipers throughout their career. Crosby creates more chances than Ovi and often hands it off to his linemates instead of shooting. Crosby has proven to be a 50 goal scorer, and is far more well rounded than Ovi.

    • joey4id - Dec 26, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      Yep! It’s so easy to pass the puck and have someone else score goal. However, Ovi can’t pass. Why? I mean if its that easy you’d think a player of his caliber would be able to do that.

  6. cspsrbums - Dec 26, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    MVP Most Valuable Player What that means is how valuable is he to his team. Caps don’t make the playoffs las year without Ovi and his Streak just like this year so far. It’s Proven that Crosby can be out of the line up and the pens can do and will continue to win and make the playoffs without him.They have so much talent on that team they don’t need him.Stamkos may have giving him a run but got hurt. So pens fan quit whining about how Crosby should win it over OVI because it was and is not even close this year. Crosby will never win it ands shouldn’t even be mentioned because he isn’t the MVP to his team.

    • bencia823 - Dec 26, 2013 at 4:15 AM

      How can you argue that a guy who has made his linemates who were previously grinders put up huge numbers is not valuable to his team? Having Geno on the roster does not diminish the fact that Crosby raises the level of his teammates. While Sid was racking up a +/- around 25 in under 40 games, Ovi was spending the first half of the year cherry picking when the puck was in Washington’s defensive zone

    • joey4id - Dec 26, 2013 at 8:23 AM

      Why is making the playoffs the definitive factor? What did Ovi do in the playoffs last year? What did Crosby do in the playoffs year. Both sucked pretty bad. However its still Crosby 1 – Ovi 0 for SC rings. And Crosby was the youngest captain ever to hoist the cup and the year they went head to head in the playoffs Crosby outplayed Ovi in game seven.

  7. seniorteacherdot - Dec 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Ovi is just not likable–he is way too full of himself and does not share.

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