Alex Ovechkin endears himself to hockey fans because he’s just as likely to clobber someone with a big hit as he is to score a dazzling goal.
The thought was that his physical style might catch up to him, but after receiving the third suspension of his NHL career, it’s hard not to wonder if lost paychecks will soften his edges instead. The Washington Capitals certainly hope not, as GM George McPhee told Stephen Whyno.
“Yeah, we’re concerned about it, certainly. But what we want him to do when he comes back is play the way he’s always played,” McPhee said. “We want him to be relentless, we want him to score goals. We want him to be physical.”
Losing Ovechkin for three games hurts, without a doubt. That being said, this absence means he won’t play again until Feb. 4 – and that might just be a good thing.
Sure, Ovechkin is only 26-years-old, but he’s put a lot of mileage on that body over the years. For example: instead of taking a break and resting his beaten-up knee after the 2011 playoffs, he jumped right to the World Championships (and went pointless in five games).
Getting an improvised vacation might just be what Ovechkin needs to get back to that driven, relentless style again. In fact, he could even channel some of that “old” Ovechkin who was a physical force like no one else in the league.