He has been one of the most gifted offensive NHL players of his generation, yet he is often overlooked as one of the best players of the game. His name is Alex Ovechkin.
Two nights ago, Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season for the Washington Capitals…the sixth time that he has accomplished this feat and only the sixth person in NHL HISTORY to do so. Ovechkin joins Gretzky, Lafleur, Lemieux, Bossy and Dionne in this category, and only Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky with nine 50 goal seasons have done it better.
Yet when you ask who the best player in the league is, we instantly hear the names of Sidney Crosby, or Carey Price, or Steven Stamkos. They are all great players, Ovechkin needs to be in that conversation as well.
He is on the verge of being the highest scoring Russian ever to play in the NHL, and if he were Alex Overton from Saskatoon, he’d be front page news.
No player…NO PLAYER since Ovechkin entered the league has more goals. In fact there is no player within 100 goals of Ovi since he joined the league. The last time we saw that kind of dominance in goal scoring, his name was Hull, or Gretzky, or Lemieux or Richard.
Now I’m not saying that Ovechkin is the Rodeney Dangerfield of the NHL…he does get his respect. But in a league full of fans that so cherish goal scoring in a dead puck era, why is there not more celebration of Ovechkin’s achievements?
The reason why is that we are now conditioned to defence being the best part of the game, so therefore we value players who are able to keep goals out more than score goals. It makes me wonder where the Canucks would be without Radim Vrbata this year…
Consider this my platform to nominate Alex Ovechkin for MVP…in a year that has been all about the goalie, he is in a goal scoring class all to himself.