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Capitals optimistic Olympic defeat won’t hurt Ovechkin’s game

Feb 20, 2014, 9:02 AM EDT

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men AP

After years of waiting to represent his country at home in the Olympic games, Alex Ovechkin bid to lead Russia to gold ended in disaster.

After what has likely been a demoralizing week for the superstar, the question turns to if it will impact his game when he returns to the Washington Capitals.

“I couldn’t imagine what that would have been like, that’s a lot of weight on his shoulders to try and get something done there,” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner told the Washington Post.

“Hopefully it’s not something that will affect him with us but I’m sure the next few days will be tough for him.

“You could go to the Olympics and be riding the biggest high just before you get there then you could play bad, you could come back and feel awful. You hope that that’s not the case.”

The Capitals lost their playoff spot before the Olympic break, but they’re only behind by a single point in the Wild Card race. They’re built around Ovechkin and he’s delivered so far this season with an incredible 40 goals and 60 points in 55 games.

Returning to Washington presents him with another opportunity. While he will never get another chance to earn an Olympic gold medal at home, the 28-year-old still has plenty of time left to win the Stanley Cup. The Capitals certainly aren’t favorites to do so this year, but when Ovechkin’s at his best, they’re a major threat.

Alternatively, if he suffers a post-Olympics drop off in production, they will have a tough time even making the playoffs.

  1. lowenni - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    I think one of two things will happen. Either he will come home dejected and defeated and will start to disappear…or he will come back more motivated than ever after such a crushing defeat and be unstoppable.

    • blomfeld - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:11 AM


      Considering the ‘grilling’ he’s probably going through now, Ovechkin will be lucky just to make it back to Washington in one piece !

  2. jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    for the sake of the caps fans i hope he tanks, the caps tank, miss the playoffs, and leonsis is finally forced to fire mcphee. a decent draft pick with a new gm could be just what the franchise needs. i still think ovechkin gets 50 no matter what though

    • joey4id - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      I agree. Ovi is too self centered to tank. He’s going to pick up where he left off, no doubt.

      • therealjr - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        Quite a crowd when the theme is “Ovi won’t tank the season because he’s selfish.”

    • selldannysell - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:53 AM


  3. hockey412 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    All the rest of the demoralizing and heartbreaking defeats haven’t hurt his game so far…not sure why this would be any different. Just add it to the list.

  4. JoeAvg - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    The only thing that hurts Ovechkin’s game is playing in one that really matters. He hardly ever shows up for those. Such a shame too.

  5. 7mantel - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    At least as of yet he hasn’t asked to be traded from a failing franchise like Hossa and Kovalchuk ! Have to respect him for that !

    • kcbruinsfan - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      Are you really comparing Washington to Atlanta as a losing franchise. Big difference between wanting out from a team w/ one playoff appearance, and one that has won its division (albeit a particularly weak one) for years. Washington is not a dominant team, but they aren’t a botto feeder either. The comparison is absurd.

  6. fivetozeroingame7 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Terrible. Laughable. Pathetic. Miserable.

    Just give up, Washington

    • tdrusher225 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      You’re still irrelevant, but if feeling superior to Caps fans makes you feel better then there you go

  7. msmithkey - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    By picking up where he left off you mean not passing the puck or playing as a team, I am sure he will do just fine at picking up where he left off

    • hockeydon10 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      I know, right? I would totally hate for the best goal scorer on my team to keep shooting the puck!

    • capsfan14 - Feb 20, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      Not passing? You obviously don’t watch capitals hockey. Ovi is one of the more underrated passers in the game. Don’t believe me? Watch a caps game.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        you cant play in the nhl if you cant pass. its his frequency of passing thats in question here.

      • capsfan14 - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        @jpelle82, He was brought in to score. He is being payed to score. Backy’s job is to feed him. He is obviously going to shoot more than other players. Plus, his shot selection isn’t bad. Shot % is 13%. Considering he has taken 298 shots and converted 13% of those in the NHL, id tell him to keep shooting the puck and not pass it to his supporting players. It’s obvious that you don’t watch him play, you’re just flowing with the masses.

  8. jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    are the capitals still optimistic kuznetsov comes over when the olympics are over?

  9. watermelon1 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    Explain to me how USA is winning against worlds best with a defense that includes john carlson… But capitals defense is one of the worst in the league?

    Goalie and mike green are my guesses.

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