Aug 7, 2014, 9:46 PM EST
Alex Ovechkin won the Rocket Richard Trophy for the fourth time last season with 51 goals, but perhaps the statistic that sticks out most from his 2013-14 campaign is his minus-35 rating.
It was the worst in Washington by 14 points and third from the bottom in 2013-14. He also joined Toronto’s Phil Kessel as the only members of the top-10 goal scoring list to finish with a negative plus/minus rating.
He used that as ammunition when he was recently asked how he felt by the end of last season.
“I am very happy that I didn’t become the worst in the plus/minus category,” Ovechkin told SovSport in an interview translated by Puck Daddy. “I had minus-35. Steve Ott and Alex Edler jumped ahead of me. Can you imagine scoring 51 goals and getting minus-40? I would have made history!”
The interviewer brought up Sergei Gonchar‘s past criticism about the use of plus/minus and Ovechkin took that opportunity to expand on the point.
“With the help of the plus/minus contracts can be obtained,” the 28-year-old forward said. “Once our defenseman Jeff Schultz was plus-50. He was plus-5 in the last game. And he signed a contract for four years averaging $2.75 million [Ovechkin makes big eyes]. And then his contract was bought out, and he signed for only $700,000 a year. Jeff is a good guy. But these plus/minus stats say very little about a player himself or the game as a whole.”
While plus/minus might not always be a great reflection of how a player performed, it is fair to say that the Capitals as a team had defensive issues last season. They hope some of that will be addressed by allowing goaltender Braden Holtby to play a style that he’s more comfortable with, the additions of defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, and bringing in Barry Trotz to serve as the team’s head coach.
That last change will impact Ovechkin, but for now he’s taking a wait-and-see approach. He acknowledged it’s difficult to change, but he’s been through this several times over the last few years, so he knows what to expect.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:51 AM EST
Tough start to the season for the veteran defenseman.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:12 AM EST
Wednesday’s roundup of links.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:00 AM EST
Colorado has now won four of five.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:45 AM EST
Jackets and Oilers talking trade.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:05 AM EST
The Avs’ defenseman left the game and did not return.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:25 PM EST
The Oilers’ forward has had his share of knee injuries.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:29 PM EST
Spent time in Vancouver as a player and a coach.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:54 PM EST
Will not return due to a lower body injury.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:18 PM EST
Extends point streak to five games.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:11 PM EST
Remains in the game.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
After 18 seasons, he’s done.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:00 PM EST
The 19-year-old rookie will be sticking in the NHL this season.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Chris Thorburn dropped the gloves with the Jackets tough guy.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:15 PM EST
He’s been a healthy scratch in three straight games.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:48 PM EST
Sharks forward has undergone months of rehab on his surgically-repaired knee.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:04 PM EST
“Let’s get real. Finding top-four defensemen, they’re not available,” says GM Dean Lombardi.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:35 PM EST
And rightly so.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:27 PM EST
Alex Mallet for Andrey Pedan, specifically.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:15 PM EST
Bojangles. That’s a funny name.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:31 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
- Video: Canucks honor Quinn with “O Danny Boy” 7
- Video: Stars’ Klingberg scores from center ice 4
- Report: Alfredsson retirement to be announced Dec. 4 8
- On the odds of fighting back after Thanksgiving 7
- Why are the Oilers still bad? Look at their drafting 21
- The Leafs are worth almost seven times the Panthers, says Forbes 20
- Isles make some history; Are the Flyers headed for trouble? 43
- Crosby, Malkin power Penguins, help Fleury grab 300th win 7
- Sooner than later? Bruins GM hopes Chara can return in 10-14 days 1
- With worst save percentage in NHL, Oilers fire goalie coach 22
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ (99)
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (88)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (79)
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Bruins’ Lucic expected to play against Habs after getting one-punched (Updated) (47)