Take a Bow Mr. Ovechkin
By Patrick Hoffman
After his team's Cup win last night as well as getting the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league's best player in the playoffs, it can officially be said that Washington Capitals' franchise player is one of the greatest players of all time.
Yes, he was probably in that category already, but helping the team that drafted him capture their first Cup as well as being the MVP in the postseason cements in. No one is quite sure where he'll rank at the end of his career, but there is no doubt that he is an extremely special player.
In this year's playoffs, Ovi did everything and more for his hockey club. He scored big goals (15 goals in total), set up his teammates a bunch (12 assists), was extremely physical, blocked a lot of shots, and made sacrifices in order to play well at both ends of the ice.
For Ovechkin, this must be a huge relief. For years, hockey fans and those in the media said many negative things about Ovi when it came to his performance in playoff games.
These people said he was not a big-time player, that he could not get his team to the next level, and that when it came to the postseason, he just wasn't very good. Not only were these people wrong then, but they were clearly wrong now.
After his performance in this year's playoffs, he now has 117 points (61 goals and 56 assists) in 121 games as well as eight game winning goals. I think that's more than enough to classify him as one of the game's top playoff performers.
What's even scarier to think is how Ovi will play next season. Now that he has a Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy, there will be no pressure on him to do anything else.
Ovi will be able to go out and just play the game the way he always has. He won't have to worry about what the fans and media say anymore and can put all the playoff failures behind him for good.
Mr. Ovechkin, please go ahead and take a bow. You deserve the praise and accolades more than anyone else in the game right now.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.