There might not be a more phenomenal offensive force in the NHL than Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. He’s a certifiable goal-scoring machine that had his career saved by a move to the right wing last season. The math is pretty simple: According to some fancy footwork over at CBSSports.com, it seems possible for Ovie to achieve a 70-goal season. Or something pretty close to it.
Defenses haven’t been able to slow him down since he clicked on the right side last year. Neither have goalies, who by now know what he’s going to do but still can’t get a pad or glove on his shots for the most part.
Ovechkin isn’t easily stopped physically either. He’s not a withering guy and he doesn’t shy away from the physical contact, so a head-shot probably isn’t going to slow him down now that John Scott is suspended indefinitely. So what could possibly hault No. 8′s scoring tear?
The two-headed monster that is the Olympics of course.
Ovechkin hates to lose. That’s become increasingly apparent as his career has progressed. Once he returned from the Winter Games in Canada during the last go-around, his play visibly fell off. He seemed borderline depressed for a week or two, and was incredibly disappointed in Russia’s showing.
The pressure is way up during these Games though. They’ll be taking place on home ice for the Russians (in case you hadn’t heard) and that increased weight could really begin to wear on Ovechkin. The Capitals aren’t performing particularly well right now, and that could begin to grind him down as well.
If he heads over to Europe and gets blown out by the Canadians or the Swedes, could the mental anguish that follows that kind of defeat derail Ovechkin’s potentially career season? It’s pure speculation at this point, but right now the only thing that appears to be capable of slowing Ovie down is Ovechkin himself.