Photo credit: Bruce Bennett
We could write whole essays about Alex Ovechkin‘s season. We could write a three-act play, we could write a bestselling series of novels about our namesame, the Russian Machine, and the ups and downs of his career.
But don’t worry, we didn’t, so don’t be afraid to click past the jump. Mostly it’s a lot of gifs of belly patting, which accomplishes the same effect anyway.
Cap Hit: $9.5 M. According to terms of his contract, Ovechkin is signed to the Capitals “until the stars burn out.”
Most Awkward Moment: Ovechkin was suspended three games for a questionable hit on Penguins defenseman Zbenyk Michalek right before the All-Star Game. He chose not to attend, because he had better things to do anyway, and Brendan Shanahan took time in his suspension video to delve into his feelings about Dawson’s Creek.
Things We Said About Alex Ovechkin: “I think Alex Ovechkin has really turned a corner!”, “We are doomed, Alex Ovechkin will never ever be the same.”
Alignment: Chaotic Good
First Irrelevant Google Images Result:
A lovely field of tulips.
Media Consensus: “We are so obsessed with Alex Ovechkin’s ice time that it’s actually starting to get creepy.”
Sheepvechkin! (Illustration by Rachel Cohen)
Alternate Universe Superhero Identity: The Great Eight
Team Role: Captain, superstar, and franchise player. We hoped to see the offensive dynamo of previous seasons re-emerge, but it was a reserved hope.
Execution of that Role: This was another difficult year for Alex Ovechkin, who had to work through overblown narratives, coaching changes, and the loss of his linemate Nicklas Backstrom to try to regain a career peak he may have permanently left behind. He handled decreased ice time and a restrictive system more maturely than we might have expected, and scored 38 goals anyway, but spent good stretches of the year looking repetitive, stubborn, and lost. We hope that he will be able to retain the lessons of discipline and sacrifice that he learned this year, but we also really, really hope that the next coach will let him off the leash a little.
Postseason Performance: Ovi lead the team in scoring in the playoffs as well with five goals and nine points, and it was a joy to watch him smash into Dennis Seidenberg like a runaway train. However, Ovechkin’s ice time was severely restricted in the postseason and he was often taken off the ice at the most crucial moments for the team. We’re not sure whether it would be more worrying to know that this was the right call, or that it wasn’t.
This Gillette contract is depriving us of the true Ovechbeard. We do not approve. Three out of ten.
Likeliness to Return: Ten out of ten. We can debate until we are blue in the face about whether Ovechkin should stay — but he will stay. Those who hitch their wagon to alternative theories are in for a very long, disappointing nine years.
Usefulness in a Post-Apocalyptic Setting: Imagine this, if you will: Ovechkin with a semi-automatic versus a horde of oncoming zombies. Yeah, we want him around. Eight out of ten.
Highlight of Your Year: Ovechkin starring in Russian rap video.
Overall Year-End Rating: Five Good Sashas.