For 95% of the players in the NHL, 12 points in 13 games would be
pretty respectable, if not incredible. For Alex Ovechkin, it’s an
increasingly worrisome slump. The NHL’s most exciting player has come
down to earth over the past month of hockey, with just three goals and
nine assists since February 7th. That night against the Penguins,
Ovechkin had a hat trick and four points. Since then, it’s been a bit
The good news is that the Capitals have still
managed to maintain their high level of play, although it’s getting to
the point where Caps fans have to start becoming concerned.
Japers’ Rink has this to say about the slump:
it goes without saying that for the Caps to have any success when it
matters, they’ll need Ovi to be the goal-scoring dynamo he’s known for
being; during their captain’s slump (which stands at 15 games for the
team), they’ve won eight games and lost seven (including four in the
shootout and one in overtime). For all the talk of how the Caps aren’t a
one-man team – and rest assured, they aren’t – there’s no question from
whom they take their lead.
Since Ovechkin’s ‘slump’
began, the Capitals have had nine of their 15 games go to overtime.
Their inability to close out games or maintain leads is certainly
concerning, and the inability of Ovechkin to find his magical scoring
touch is most likely a good reason for all of the extra hockey.
said it before, but Ovechkin going through this down time now is good
for the Capitals in the long run. Now, if this continues into the
playoffs, well…Washington will be in some trouble.
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.