Skip to content

Ovechkin thinks very little of plus/minus

Aug 7, 2014, 9:46 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Coyotes sign ’15 first rounder Nick Merkley

    Sep 3, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT

    Nick Merkley Getty Images

    He was Arizona’s second pick of the draft after Dylan Strome.

  2. Voynov detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

    Sep 3, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    Slava Voynov AP

    They took him under custody from jail and now he’s awaiting a hearing with an immigration judge.

  3. Calgary presents Ryan Wilson with PTO

    Sep 3, 2015, 6:25 PM EDT

    Ryan Wilson Getty Images

    Can he find a role with the Flames given their deep blueline?

  4. Interviewer: Raanta’s rooting against Hawks quote is real, but needs context

    Sep 3, 2015, 4:57 PM EDT

    Antti Raanta Getty Images

    “Antti was frustrated after Chicago send him [a] second time [to the] AHL and he told me truly how he felt.”

  5. Caps’ Backstrom won’t rush return from hip surgery

    Sep 3, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    Nicklas Backstrom Getty Images

    His availability for the season opener is in doubt.

  6. Seidenberg says trade rumors were ‘a slap in the face’

    Sep 3, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Colorado Avalanche Getty Images

    Bruins d-man is using them as motivation for a bounce-back campaign.

  7. Wild hire ex-Oilers goalie coach Chabot

    Sep 3, 2015, 11:42 AM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers Headshots Getty Images

    Where he worked with — wait for it — current Minnesota starter Devan Dubnyk.

  8. Flames ‘haven’t been able to find something’ with still-unsigned Ferland

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:53 AM EDT

    ferland Getty Images

    In a shocking development, “money and term” are the sticking points.

  9. Ex-NHLer Peat pleads guilty to arson

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

    Stephen Peat skates Getty Images

    He could face up to five years in prison.

  10. Report: Pens’ owners seeking $750 million for sale of team

    Sep 3, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Mario Lemieux Getty Images

    It would mark a record for the sale of a U.S.-based NHL team.

  11. Oilers, Flames AHL affiliates to play outdoor game

    Sep 2, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    gshr_raley

    Bakersfield and Stockton will play in West Sacramento, Calif. on Dec. 18.

  12. Report: Hawks’ Kane has not been asked to waive his no-move clause

    Sep 2, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Patrick Kane Patrick Kane

    As many as five teams are reportedly interested in acquiring the 26-year-old.

  13. Wings’ Franzen: ‘I’m excited to try to get back and have a good year’

    Sep 2, 2015, 7:05 PM EDT

    Johan Franzen Johan Franzen

    The Swede hopes to be cleared of his latest concussion in time for the season opener.

  14. Blackhawks sign Nordstrom to a one-year deal

    Sep 2, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    The 23-year-old appeared in 38 games with Chicago last season.

  15. After recovering from serious bike crash, Sarich holds out comeback hope

    Sep 2, 2015, 1:57 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Calgary Flames Getty Images

    “I’m a realist. If nothing happens, that’s the way it is.”

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1946)
  2. P. Kessel (1620)
  3. M. Richards (1386)
  4. N. Backstrom (1202)
  5. M. Giordano (1173)