Time to Take the "C" Off Ovechkin?
February 6, 2013 in nhl
By Staff Writer John Manuel:
As the Washington Capitals continue to struggle during this lockout shortened NHL season no one is going to feel more heat than its biggest star. Not Adam Oates, not George McPhee, and not Ted Leonsis. The pressure is continuing to build on Alex Ovechkin and he will soon need to start answering his growing critics.
After Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the former 60 goal scorer has totaled four points in the first nine games. Far from what it is expected from the Great 8. Is it time to look at removing Ovechkin as Captain? If so, what could be the consequences? Better play or would you lose him as a player beginning a complete downward spiral.
I think this is a very tough question and it depends how it is done if the Caps want to go that route. Not knowing the everyday locker room situation makes it a tough call for me to make. Would Alex be able to swallow his pride and accept the demotion? I think Ted Leonsis recently calling out Ovie was a good way to see how he would react to something like this. Although Leonsis should first worry about his job as Wizards and Capitals owner before calling anyone else out. Right now it’s not looking good for you Teddy.
It would put the Caps organization in a tough place if Ovie does not react well. You could see another Jagr situation arise and the eventually forced trade of Ovechkin. Although he has struggled, I am nowhere close to a situation where I want him on the trade block. But I am open to looking at a new captain if the team feels it could jump start his career again. Ovechkin has a lot on his plate right now, with his recent engagement and being a year away from the Sochi Olympics where he could be the game’s biggest star and ambassador.
The first question was would this be a good move to make at this time? If so, the second question then arises. If Ovechkin is out as captain, is there anyone who could step in and fill the role better? I think most start with Brooks Laich and he would be a good choice. Obviously not the star Ovie is but seems to be their most respected player and that showed when the Caps made sure not to lose him in free agency a couple offseasons ago.
Problem is when looking for a captain I just don't see a Dale Hunter type here but those aren't easy to find. Roman Hamrlik is the most veteran presence on the roster but he can't get on the ice so isn't a great option. Mike Green is a possibility down the road, but I don't think right now. The Caps best player so far has easily been Mike Ribeiro but he just got here and may not be here for the long haul as a free agent at seasons end.
So my guess is would the smart move to replace Ovechkin with Laich? I am happy I don't have to make that call but just wanted to throw it out there. The captain’s spot seems to be more important in hockey than more sports and more cherished by its owners. This team is in need of a captain to step up and is that guy Alex Ovechkin?