Will the Capitals ever be able to win it all with Ovechkin?
Would you trade Alex Ovechkin if you were Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee? Or would it be over Caps owner Ted Leonsis’s dead body?
Leonsis is paying Ovie $9 million for two more years, then seven years at $10 million. He loves the Russian forward. It’s mutual, certainly twice a month, on payday.
But is Ovechkin ever going to lead the Capitals to the Promised Land? People who know Ovie say he now looks overwhelmed by the expectations and the series of playoff losses that are wearing him down. It doesn’t look like the sheer joy of playing the game is there any longer.
His coaches have tried to get him to be a more well-rounded player, to play safer, to learn how to play when he doesn’t have the puck, but there is still some push-back there.
To watch him play Dale Hunter hockey, throwing himself in front of shots was entertaining, if not inspiring. He tried to be sounder, but really, is Ovechkin ever truly going to know how to check, to be defensively responsible?
It was very telling, also humbling, that in games when the Capitals were trying to protect a lead during these playoffs that Hunter kept Ovechkin on the bench. He has played more than 500 NHL games over seven seasons and is in his prime at age 26. He is not the Rangers’ Chris Kreider in his first NHL playoff rodeo.
But trading Ovechkin is not as farfetched today as it was a few years ago, though.
Jaromir Jagr was traded after five scoring titles in 11 years in Pittsburgh, in his prime at 29, albeit under different cir*****stances. The Penguins were looking to dump salary and they took back Michal Sivek, Ross Lupaschuk, Kris Beech and futures in 2001. There were no stars there.
Somebody asked the other day if you’d trade Rick Nash for Ovechkin. The Columbus Blue Jackets need somebody with marquee value to put fannies in the seats and the Caps get a top-three forward who’s arguably better away from the puck. Nah. that’ll never happen.
So how did the New York Rangers trade Scott Gomez to the Montreal Canadiens when nobody else wanted him?