Not sure if you’ve heard this tasty little tidbit yet or not, but Alex Ovechkin is minus-4,000 in his 2013-14 NHL campaign. I mean, if you’re rounding. He’s actually minus-36, which is a few worse than the likes of Nail Yakupov (-33), Alex Edler (same) and Steve Ott (-31). Winning the “green jacket” for being the farthest “below par” during a hockey season requires a combination of being on a bad team, playing a good amount of minutes, and usually not being great defensively.
But it’s Alex Ovechkin, so this has been a big thing. He’s going to lead the league in goals, and (might) finish last in plus-minus. That’s a pretty special accomplishment. Also, he’s Russian, so that whole stereotype gets the Mario-finding-a-mushroom bump in some eyes.
The problem is, his coach just made the spotlight on him stronger, which he probably didn’t enjoy. Adam Oates had this to say about Ovi’s defensive effort on the Stars fourth goal during a completely embarrassing 5-0 loss at home in the midst of a playoff race. From Katie Carrera of The Washington Post:
“Ovi quit on the play coming back,” Coach Adam Oates said. Whitney “forced [the play] down the ice and just goes to show you you’ve got to hustle the entire time, the whole entire time.”
Carrera corrected herself that it was Dustin Jeffrey that beat Ovi down the ice on the play.
Here’s the play in question:
As a winger – as any forward, actually – you don’t really
have to get back to the zone as fast humanly possible when your team has “numbers” (enough people to cover those on the rush). What you do have to do, is shoulder check, and make sure your desire to be lazy and save your energy so you can use it offensively doesn’t leave your team in a bad situation. As in, if it’s a 3-on-3 headed back towards your own goal, you need to, at the very least, stay a step ahead of whoever their fourth guy is. Usually it’s a d-man who won’t try to press by you, but you do need to be sure. (Your coach will say you need to get back ASAP, but you’re usually fine dawdling.) Read the rest of this entry »