Posted on: December 23, 2008 12:14 pm

8 Gives Capitals Life

When the Capitals were able to draft Alexander Ovechkin, the entire direction of the franchise changed.  He has won the Calder Trophy, the Rocket Richard Trophy, and the Art Ross among other awards.  He has pretty much put the team on his back and put it over the hump as the Southeast Division leader and put it into position to go deep into the playoffs.

Ovechkin scores tons of goals, we all know.  He does this despite teams often shadowing him or placing their best checkers against him and his line.  His passing is steadily improving.  His defense, which was an area of concern in prior years, has improved to the point where he is among the plus/minus leaders.  Unlike many of the leading scorers, he also hits, hits a lot, and hits hard.  When he's not scoring he has often changed momentum by flattening an opposing defenseman.  He also possesses the intangibles that make him popular:  funny quotes for the media, boundless enthusiasm, and a winning attitude.  He is a complete player, on and off the ice.

Now he is taking the step of making his teammates better, a step which will carry the Caps deep into the playoffs.

The Capitals have started to surround him with complementary players who are developing into Stars of their own.  Alexander Semin was the league's leading scorer before suffering injuries.  Nick Backstrom has become one of the best passers in the league.  Mike Green is a leading offensive defenseman.  As the team adds depth to take more pressure off Ovechkin and his linemates, the Capitals will take the next step and become a dominant team, such as how the Red Wings have been over the past 15 seasons.

Prior to Ovechkin's arrival, the team was going nowhere fast.  Now it could be heading to the Stanley Cup.

Category: NHL
Tags: Capitals
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