Why Alexander Ovechkin needs to give up his captaincy….for now

29Apr10

Alexander Ovechkin is becoming an enigma for many. How is it possible to be arguably the most intimidating and most feared player in decades and not have the capability to deliver when it matters most? Now before people get excited and accuse me of being a Crosby lover and an Ovechkin hatter please understand that I am neither, I am simply providing a solution to the enigma that is Alexander Ovechkin. Now the answer the question as to why he can’t deliver may surprise you but it has a lot of truth to it, the answer my friends is because he is a selfish player, it is all about him, and for that reason alone he needs to hand his captaincy over to someone else, for a while anyways. I’m not saying he doesn’t want to win which would directly feed into his ego but what I am saying is that until he learns that his personal emotions and personal records come second to the team he plays for, he will not have much success in crucial games.

Let’s look back at his track record, in the past 3 years Alex’s’ team has been eliminated in the 1st round twice and has only won 1 game 7 out of 4. In arguably the most important game of his life against Team Canada at this year’s winter Olympics Ovechkin was quiet and was kept to the outside for most of the game while Team Canada steamrolled over Team Russia. In Game seven against the Pittsburgh Penguins last year again he was quiet and his team lost, and finally this year’s game 7 against the 8th seeded Montreal Canadiens he was also unsuccessful in leading his team to the promised land, see a pattern of failure here? Let’s compare him to Crosby, Crosby has won game 7’s , he has won a Stanley cup and captained the team and he lead his country to Gold at the Olympics, see a pattern of success here? How many chances does he need to prove that he is more than a regular season superstar, how many chances does he need to prove that he is better than Sidney Crosby and how many times will he be denied greatness until he finally realizes that a team does not win on the back of one player alone.

The Oilers players of the 80’s knew this and that is why they won with and without Wayne Gretzky. Perhaps Ovechkin should look at the leadership of that team and see how it was done, if he were to do that he would know that running your mouth and talking smack always comes back to bite you in the arse. He would also notice that teammates will die for a true leader; they will block shots and do whatever it takes for the benefit of the team. Instead Ovechkin chooses to do too much on his own and not use his teammates around him; he gets easily demotivated and is not able to rebound from a bad game quickly. A real leader can overcome adversity and most importantly inspire others like Messier did with the Oilers and the Rangers. If Ovechkin isn’t inspiring his teammates by example then that says a lot about the character of his teammates and his leadership abilities, if he can’t inspire them then something is wrong.

As much as it would tear his heart apart, why doesn’t he just analyse how Sidney Crosby does it. Sidney isn’t the flashiest player but he is definitely one of the hardest working in the league and by looking at Crosby, hard work has paid off for him. Fortunately for Ovechkin he is still young and giving up his captaincy will allow someone else to take the weight off his shoulders and who knows this new leader may inspire Ovechkin which could lead him to doing what he does best and that is to score goals but also on the biggest stages. For some people leadership is innate and for others it needs to be learned, Ovechkin is of the latter of the two. Taking a page out of Patrick Marleaus book wouldn’t hurt, after all he’s tried just about anything.



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