After years of waiting to represent his country at home in the Olympic games, Alex Ovechkin bid to lead Russia to gold ended in disaster.
After what has likely been a demoralizing week for the superstar, the question turns to if it will impact his game when he returns to the Washington Capitals.
“I couldn’t imagine what that would have been like, that’s a lot of weight on his shoulders to try and get something done there,” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner told the Washington Post.
“Hopefully it’s not something that will affect him with us but I’m sure the next few days will be tough for him.
“You could go to the Olympics and be riding the biggest high just before you get there then you could play bad, you could come back and feel awful. You hope that that’s not the case.”
The Capitals lost their playoff spot before the Olympic break, but they’re only behind by a single point in the Wild Card race. They’re built around Ovechkin and he’s delivered so far this season with an incredible 40 goals and 60 points in 55 games.
Returning to Washington presents him with another opportunity. While he will never get another chance to earn an Olympic gold medal at home, the 28-year-old still has plenty of time left to win the Stanley Cup. The Capitals certainly aren’t favorites to do so this year, but when Ovechkin’s at his best, they’re a major threat.
Alternatively, if he suffers a post-Olympics drop off in production, they will have a tough time even making the playoffs.
#Capitals Alex Ovechkin had 42 goals & 89 points in 54 games before 2010 Olympics & 8 goals and 20 points in 18 games after. #2014 slump?
— Michael Finewax (@mfinewaxhockey) February 20, 2014