This season has been a major blower, but there’s been one consistent bright spot. No matter what people say about his unsightly (but distorted) plus-minus, Alex Ovechkin has been phenomenal this year. On Tuesday he scored his 50th goal of the season, reaching the mark for the fifth time in his career. It was the first time he’s done so since 2009-10.

After the game, Ovi cheesed with the milestone puck.

“Tnx to my team,to be in history!!! [sic unbelievable]” he wrote, incoherently, on Instagram. “Its gonna be in my family for all time…”

Ovechkin also snapped a photo of the bottom of the puck. Hmm, that’s strange.


Looks like Ovi hit the puck off the post so hard it dented vulcanized rubber.

Of course. That’s so Ovi.

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  • Ash

    When I look at the dent in that puck, i think of Jack Hillen and his jaw, and marvel that he isn’t limited to soft foods for life or, you know, dead.

  • Yo8

    Ovi’s childhood coach said he shattered a puck once so I’m still waiting for that to happen hahaha!

  • Shaun Phillips

    To be fair, I think it was actually the post that dented it, not Ovi’s shot itself.

  • Benjamin Esham

    And him ripping a 6oz piece of vulcanized rubber 100 +/- mph at that pipe had to influence it ..

  • Stardawg

    I think it would be awesome if he took a picture after the final game with a puck taped and -35 written on it.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Oh I know that. When I first saw the article, I was wondering how a stick dented the puck.

  • Graham Dumas

    Anyone remember those hockey-playing robots Fox used to have in the intros to its broadcasts (you know, back when hockey could be found on broadcast TV)? I feel like Ovechkin may be the T1000 to their… whatever came before the T1000.

  • yv

    That’s why all GTs saying that Ovi’s shots are the most fearsome shots among all forwards disregarding whatever others saying about him. The GTs expressions and poses after the Ovi’s goals on many photos and videos are the prove of that.

  • Evan Michael

    Great. Let’s all celebrate the team captain who has never played past the second round of the post-season. Great job OV on your 50 goal, -37 season.

    Yeah, he played well last night. This, however, doesn’t excuse the entire month of March, where he was a detriment to the team. Not trying to be the token pessimist, but I can’t celebrate a 50th goal on a team that will be officially eliminated in 13 hours.

  • Christian

    Just thought I’d ask…

  • hockey mom

    I wish his goal scoaring would collide with team leadership they way our players collide with each other. THAT would be a force that would leave many teams in its wake!!!

  • To be fair, you should read my story before commenting. “Looks like Ovi hit the puck off the post so hard it dented vulcanized rubber.”

  • Karina Saint

    Says the captain of the USS douchecanoe

  • Evan Michael

    Good one?

  • JH

    The Ovi haters need to just stop watching hockey, because they clearly don’t get it. And it’s not worth my time to explain that any further.

  • Shaun Phillips

    I missed the line under the photo. My bad.

  • Grant

    No really, I totally get it, he has a great one-timer. He also gives the puck away, doesn’t defend, and drags his team down with his poor attitude.

    What else am I missing?

  • All good!

  • Zachary Adomanis

    Do you mean the Month of March when he was paired with Jay Beagle?

  • Zachary Adomanis

    Where is the report this season about Ovi’s attitude being an issue?

  • Grant

    From 5 days ago: “Of course I get the blame from it, but in that moment I think everybody quit the play”

    Refusing to own up to a mistake, body language showing disinterest, blaming others, etc etc. These are not qualities of a team player, let alone the Captain of a team.

    Oates’ transparent strategy is to keep Ovi happy, and put everything else second, including winning the game. In the end, it was a successful plan – Ovi is happy because he’s got his 50 and an extended vacation.

  • Zachary Adomanis

    That isn’t him refusing to own up to mistakes. That is him showing frustration with his team for getting annihilated by a much less talented team. He is not allowed to show body language saying he is upset or pissed? Also 1 instance in 1 game does not make him a bad captain.
    Really so you believe keeping fourth liners on Ovi’s line and letting Erat and Penner waste on the 4th line that was to keep Ovi happy?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2014/01/30/alex-ovechkin-i-was-today-worst-player/

    “I was today bad out there,” Ovechkin told reporters after the game. “Blame on me. It’s not about Jojo, Carly, or Holts. I can’t play like that.”

  • Grant

    Nobody else quit on the play though, remember Ovi also quit on a play in the playoffs against the Rangers last year. I’ve been watching him closely since the World Juniors in 2003 and he’s always been a me-first player in my opinion.

    You’re right, I think Oates did a complete 180 when he called Ovi out and paired him with those guys. I don’t think HCAO knows what he’s doing, which is a huge factor in the team’s poor 5v5 play.

    The inevitable end after another failed season is that the Captain will be under tremendous pressure and will continue to butt heads with whoever is put behind the bench, and Dynamo will come knocking at the right time with bags of money.

  • Grant

    “I don’t think HCAO knows what he’s doing”
    Anymore, I mean. I think he’s taking shots at people whenever he can, and is possible sick of being the glue holding everything together.

  • I suspect these plays don’t mean as much as you think they do.

  • Grant

    Oh dear. The Xbox GIF, the one against the Rangers where he’s gliding in and watched a goal that he could have easily defended and prevented? That was the game winning goal. The Capitals lost that game 4-3, and lost the series in 7 games. That play might be the difference in the series. So I disagree that it might not be important.

    Ovechkin’s response? “I am not saying there was a phone call from [the NHL], but someone just wanted Game 7. For the ratings; you know, the lockout, escrow, the league needs to make profit.”

  • Grant

    That was a Captain moment for sure.

  • Yeah, my point remains: picking out a handful of plays to characterize a player is really unwise.

  • Grant

    My point remains as well, his one-timer is sick. I whiff on most passes a fraction of the velocity of ones he receives, and he places them top corner with regularity, unlike anyone else in the world. I just don’t see anything else that he can do better than 3/4 of players in the NHL, and many things that he does worse.

  • He creates more shot attempts than any player in nearly 20 years.

  • Le Connard Francais

    The Habs>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>The Caps

  • Grant

    Shot attempts are fine, but over the past 3 years Ovechkin’s shots have only hit the net 50.3% of the time.
    Captains Zach Parise and Jonathan Toews understand the importance of getting it on net, and have done so at a rate of 68.9% and 68.3% over the same time period, respectively.

  • Grant

    A theory is that missing the net is somewhat akin to a turnover, especially if it is a blocked shot. In my opinion, Parise and Toews (for example) know when not to shoot, and hit the net when they do.

  • Treehouse

    How is his plus-minus distorted? It’s straight up awful.

  • hockey mom
  • Bugs Fire

    Ovechkin effectively has 6 50+ goal seasons (last year he was on 55 goal pace and in fact scored 51 goals NHL+KHL). This is as many as the next two guys currently in the NHL combined (Jagr/Selanne, thanks again to Michael Reschly for correction the other night).

    Keep in mind that the average number of goals scored per game has gone down from ~8 to ~5 since Gretzky’s era. So 50 back then is equivalent of 32 now. It stands to argue that had he played at the same time as the greatest hockey player in history, Ovie would have had 50 goals every season so far.

    So what you are missing is the simple fact that this is the greatest goal scorer of his generation. To quote/paraphrase from last night – if you think Ovechkin is the problem (drags his team down), then you are the problem.

    Without him, Caps wold be now chasing Buffalo Sabres. It seems that you will only be satisfied if he becomes some bizarre cross of himself with Bergeron and Crosby. #8 has shortcomings, but they do not eliminate hard stats.

  • Bugs Fire

    Well, without him Caps were eliminated long time ago.

    And nobody is celebrating. Most of us I think are just relishing one of the very few good things this year. My attitude towards yet another milestone in Ovie’s career is that of great sadness watching this generational talent wasted by dysfunctional hockey organization.

    Plus/minus has been discussed ad nauseam and by now if you don’t get that by this logic Jeff Schultz is the best hockey player ever, you are not listening.

    It is ridiculous to blame Ovie exclusively for Caps lack of post season success. Hockey is team sport. He plays for a team that is not built to win Stanley Cup. But hey, let’s blame the Russian winger who does not back check when two guys from the other team are taking on three Caps. Sure, that fourth unanswered goal with ten minutes left is what’s wrong with the team. Had Ovie paid attention, they would have only lost 0-4. Then we would have a reason to celebrate.

  • 70Caps
  • 70Caps

    By the way, the four worst single season +/-‘s in nhl history belong to caps players, with Bill Mikkelson’s -84 the record.

  • JS024

    There is no explaining it the Capitals opponents have scored no less than 61 goals when Ovechkin is on the ice. Considering he gets a + when anyone on his shift scores a non power play goal it is more like the other team has scored 100 goals when Ovechkin was on the ice. The Craps have given up 237 which is 11 more than they have scored. JH the fact that you think Ovie is something special is probably why you work at Burger King.

  • JS024

    Ovie should go play golf there are no blue line on the fairways. He thinks a back check is something you do in checkers.

  • JS024

    Stupid is as stupid does. So what you score 50 goals. The other team scored 90 while you were on the ice.

  • JS024

    Ovie’s talent is not wasted. He is a goal scorer not a complete hockey player. While he has scored 50 goals his opponents have scored 90 or better while he was on the ice loafing.

  • JS024

    Ovechkin has 50 goals. 23 are Power Play goals which do not count in +/-. 27 of Ovechkin’s goals earn a +. Anytime the Caps score a non power play goal while Ovechkin is on the ice he also get a +. Anytime the opponent scores a goal while Ovechkin is on the ice he gets a – unless it’s a power play goal. Ovechkin’s +/- rating is currently -34. He has at least 27 +’s from his own goals not counting other goals that were scored while he was on the ice. Take 27 add 34 and you get 61 goals minimum scored against the Caps while Ovechkin was loafing on the ice. When you add other +’s he received by teammates scoring while he was on the ice it makes it more than probable the opponent has scored 90 or more of the Caps 237 goals against while Ovechkin was on the ice. The numbers don’t lie.

  • Elliot Asbed

    He did not quit on that play against the rangers. As has been explained a hundred thousand times, he was in the right position for a winger position in their system, for that play. He was well ahead of his man and it was not his fault they scored.

  • That’s not a telling stat. Ovechkin is the most scouted against scorer in the league– players dive in front of his shots more.

  • The awfulness of his plus/minus goal differential is not proportional to the awfulness of his shot-attempt differential.

  • Ted Brandes

    People need to look beyond the G column and see where the real hockey is: On-Off Ice Plus Minus, Points, BS, etc.

    Whoever says his +/- doesn’t matter is in denial, especially when you compare it to the REST OF THE TEAM. For most of the season (even before it got that noticeable) his +/- was a thousand times worse than even his line-mates. What does that mean? Two things:

    (1) Adam Oates and the coaching staff have oriented strategy targeting him more than any other player, and/or are conducting poor line management.
    (2) Ovi is not getting off the ice when he should be.

    BOTH are very likely, but either way, it’s a problem, and it’s centered around Ovi. He either needs to open his mouth to the coaching staff (which he won’t because why would anyone turn down getting the puck more; then again, he is part of the reason they’re just feeding him the puck) or start thinking about the team before himself. Yes, the Capitals are bad, but they are not Edmonton bad either, and even if it is just his line, that +/- still falls on his shoulders. It would be one thing if it was a -12, but -34! He averages -1.3 a game on-ice/60 minutes, while the team only averages -0.2 when he’s off, which is a huge discrepancy. That means the team is virtually guaranteed to give up one more point when he’s on the ice than when he’s off per 60 minutes. Then there’s the fact that of his 50 goals, 23 were off the power play (8 more than the next, Pavelski), which means his productivity during the important hockey (5 v 5) is average. Actually, if we looked at just 5 v 5 play, he falls to 16 in goal productivity (10 filtering <30 games), and isn't even on the map when it comes to points. Since we're on the subject of comparison, when put up with those playing 30 games or more, Ovechkin is the only one with a -1.1 point difference between when he's on the ice (-1.3) and when he's off (-0.2). Nobody else breaks -1.0 in goal productivity leaders until #47 Bryan Bickell.

    So, 50 goals, bravo. Akin to shooting down 50 suicide bombers into your own ship. You got 50 marks… and 50 more holes in the hull.

  • Rhino40

    Heh Grenouille! votre equipe peu!

  • JS024

    Like I said Ovie scored 50 and watched the other team score 90 while he was on the ice. The caps cannot play 5 on 4 while lingers at the red line looking for a pass.

  • JS024

    Way to go Ovie you scored 50 while your lack of defense helped your opponents score 90+.

  • JS024

    RMNB needs to go home!

  • Le Connard Francais

    Notre equipe peut vous detruire. 🙂

  • Rhino40

    I’ve been watching him closely since the World Juniors in 2003 and he’s always been a me-first player in my opinion.
    Really? To pay that much attention to a player for whom–based on your remarks–you seem to have the utmost disdain? Sounds kind of obsessive.

  • Rhino40


  • Show stopper 21

    Your all whiners that weren’t good enough to make the league! Is he a two way player?…..no and there is really only one player I can remember that has done this as a little more of a two way player. Steve yzerman, and he still wasn’t a complete two way player but he made some effort. The rest of the people on this list (in my lifetime at least) such as Wayne Gretzky or Brett hull? Come on…..Neither of those guys back checked or played any thing close to defense. The difference between them is they had a team to back them up. What you morons don’t understand is that hockey is a two way game as you have more then made clear but do you fault the goalie for not scoring goals? No because he is paid to stop pucks so why are you all belittling a man for doing exactly what he is paid to do I.e. be 1/2 of an entire nhl teams offense by himself. The closing statement here is if you are on a line on the ice and your goalie is stopping rubber(like he should) and your defense is standing teams up, then you have three forwards and one forward is head and shoulders above the rest at scoring you tell your other two forwards to play back a little and pick up the slack because as you all know you can play perfect five man defense all game long and allow zero goals against but at the end of the game guess what you need to win…….more goals then the other team! That means defenseman don’t shoot as much and forwards make the rush. So wake up and quit down playing the man’s skills because when I was growing up I was taught not to judge someone’s performance unless I could do what I was telling them to do…..can any of you guys play perfect two way hockey in the nhl?…….I didn’t think so.

    Congrats OV……you are the best player in your era by far

  • Rhino40

    “Influence” hahahaha))))))
    …as in “Please don’t influence me–I bruise easily!”

  • JS024

    Bullshit Ovie is a coach killer.

  • Grant

    Sure, hockey is my obsession, and he’s a generational talent, so I’m going to watch him closer than most.
    Me-first player or not, he was still incredibly dynamic, and THE MOST dangerous player in the league in his younger years. I don’t see that now.

    My main point is, I think you guys give him a free pass too much. He comes off as uninterested and is a liability more often than not, in my opinion. He’s supposed to lead by example, his lack of effort seems to be contagious, in my opinion. I want to see this guy play the way he can play. You guys who pay his salary deserve that!

  • Grant

    Right position, probably. Justin Bourne called it a “hilarious half-effort”.

  • Grant

    Jacques Martin scouted him before their series in 2010 and that’s the template still being used today. He doesn’t protect the puck well and isn’t dangerous when kept to the outside. Often shoots into block attempts in close proximity. Makes low percentage passes compared to a defenseman when playing the point on the PP (like he used to). These are all my opinion.

    He used to push the puck ahead and blow by defenseman, and he used to drive to the net more as well, in his quicker days

  • Stardawg

    Best goal scorer

  • Roman Z.

    LOL casse-toi… Va huer Subban comme le reste des fans caves de Montreal

  • Stardawg

    I totally agree that Ovi needs to play better defensively. I agree that +- isn’t totally irrelevant. But don’t throw it all on him, if you read through this blog Peter and co will direct you to many articles explaining why his +- is so bad this year: line mates low SH%, all the minutes he plays where he can only get a minus (PP), etc. He plays a ton of minutes in a defensive system that sucks, so naturally he’s gonna have a worse +- than the rest of the team.
    5v5 for the whole team sucked, and if his line mates can’t score it makes it so much easier for the opposing team to key on Ovi.
    I hated seeing him coasting around so much, not back-checking, but at the same time it was pretty awesome to watch him score 50. This teams problems are waaaaaaay deeper than just Ovi. He’s the captain so it starts with him, but they didn’t miss the playoff because of him.

  • Le Connard Francais

    Lol! Ta gueule. Je fais pas parti de ce genre de fans, cretin.

  • Roman Z.

    Bien sur que non… Tout le monde sait que les fans les plus opiniones du CH viennent tous de la region et s’asseyent dans les gris et les bleus lol. De tout facon, tu fou quoi sur un forum des Caps crisse de cave …

  • Stompulator

    Man is this ever getting old,

    Ovechkin is an unbelievable player. Any team would be happy to have him
    on their team.

    Mario Lemieux had 7 minus seasons, including a -35 season. He had 10
    even or better seasons. 60% plus

    Alex Ovechkin has had 3 minus seasons, including this -34 season.
    He has 7 plus seasons. 70% plus

    If Ovechkin is a bad player because of his plus minus, there are quite a few
    greats who must not be by that logic.

  • JH

    JS024 is pretty much Exhibit A of the tea party wing of Caps fandom. Your shrill belligerence belies your ignorance. The concept that +/- is more important than goals is laughable. If that were true, Jeff Schultz would not only still be playing pro hockey, but he’d be the highest paid player in the NHL! Go wallow in ignorance.

    PS: It’s McDonald’s, not Burger King. Get it right when you make irrelevant personal attacks.

  • JS024

    Ovechkin -2 in Caps 5-2 win. Why is it the other teams score most of their goals while Ovechkin is on the ice.

  • JS024

    Ovie scored 50 goals so what, he was on the ice when his opponents scored 90 or more. Ovechkin and Backstrom do not play defense worth a crap and having them out there is like giving the other team a 5 on 3 power play when they come down the ice. I would go wallow in ignorance but I can’t find your mother.

  • JS024

    There isn’t another team in NHL that would take Ovechkin and his contract. He is a coach killer and the main reason Dale Hunter left.

  • tommyboy220

    Lemieux’s -35 season was his rookie season. Ovie has been around 9 years now. He should be a more complete player by this point than some 18-19 year old… Lemieux’s 2nd worst plus/minus season came in a year where the team was 27-44-6-5. They were just plain horrible, second worst team in the league (they were also 2nd worst his rookie year, record was 24-51-5). While Washington isn’t great, they are a middle of the pack team with a decent supporting cast. -36 is horrible, there is no way to sugar coat it.

  • Ted Brandes

    I was never questioning him as an individual player. Here’s how I put it, he’s probably the greatest example of individual talent in the NHL. The point I am making, and which is a purely statistical and observational conclusion is that Ovechkin IN THE CURRENT SYSTEM is a bad influence. What he did last season or the season before is not relevant to his performance this year. Even if he was – 3000 in the seasons before, his current play is all that is relevant, otherwise it would be a fallacy of ad hominem circumstantial.

    So, what I am explaining is that the Oates system + Ovi’s poor team play = a crap storm of problems. I never said he is a bad player, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t part of the problem.

  • Ted Brandes

    I actually blame Oates more than anyone, but Ovechkin is the captain. It is just as much his job to identify many of these problems, and even address them with the team. The other problem with those points made in Peter’s blog is that their SH% isn’t actually that bad (only 2.3%, ranked 21st), and even if one assumes Ovechkin was on the ice for every PP minus, he’d still have a -26. Also, Ovechkin actually has more minutes on offense than defense (53% on offense) so the defensive heavy argument is also invalid.

    When it comes to blaming his line-mates, the argument still gets extremely difficult when his line-mates have had shared PP lines with him, meaning they all get the minus under such circumstances. The lack of production from other players is a consequence of Oates implementing an Ovechkin centered system, not because they are bad hockey players,. Actually, looking at their Corsi and productivity numbers, they are performing better than Ovechkin, especially when comparing their performance relative to their competition. As for Corsi relative to the quality of teammates, he actually has a decent supporting cast, and the Corsi data does not favor Ovechkin all too well. Worst of all, the 5 v 5 for the team was sub-par, but his was beyond sub-par; most damning of all was that the players who rotated from lines with him to lines without him saw their +/- drop whenever they were paired together. If it were simply them being sub-par, that +/-/60 shouldn’t improve to such degrees when not on the same line as him.

    However, here is near undeniable proof that Ovechkin’s goals (and subsequently, the main reason the Capitals are horrible) is a product of a system 100% dedicated to just feeding the Great 8:


    The only place you will score there that many times so consistently is from mid-bottom left (facing the net) around the face-off dot, which is EXACTLY where you’ll find Ovi waiting during a play setup. Watch them run the cycle and you’ll see it instantly, where Ovi is getting setup on the back door for the blatant, pre-planned goal. I have spent games literally calling out the goal the minute I saw Ovi move towards the dot, seconds before anyone even passed the puck. Oate’s system is so one-dimensional, the fact that it has worked on occasion is a miracle unto itself, then again, modern defenses allow a bit more passing than they used to. There is a reason teams like the Sharks, Penguins, Rangers, and Stars have given the Capitals so much trouble.

    Oh, and if anyone thinks that I’m just imagining things about his shot location, here’s a little supplement: http://msn.foxsports.com/content/dam/fsdigital/fscom/NHL/images/2014/01/18/011814-NHL-alex-ovechkin-goals-LN-CQ.vadapt.320.medium.65.jpg

    The season was not partially Ovi’s fault in the sense that he is a bad player, but in the sense that he’s a bad captain. However, the brunt of the blame goes to Oates for some the worst coaching I have ever seen for an NHL team, especially a team like Washington who has so much talent (you underestimate the quality of players on this team, I think).

  • Ted Brandes

    Rumors also tell me it was part of the reason for Boudreau’s chopping. I can’t hate on him as a hockey player, but he is not captain material (why people can’t understand that the captain doesn’t have to be the most talented player is beyond me).

  • Bugs Fire

    This is obviously a “troll-in-passing” case, but just for the sake of accuracy, let me remind everyone that plus/minus only counts goals 5v5. Not knowing that gets you the 90 goals figure which is, you know, inaccurate.


    Ovechkin’s one timer of a pass is probably the fastest in the league. Crazy.

  • Le Connard Francais

    lol, t’es qui pour me dire quoi faire? Petit con. Si ca me tente de niaiser les fans des caps, j’ai tout a fait le droit. Freedom of speech mon ami.