For the first time since 2014, “Washington” with Ovechkin lost their chance to reach the playoffs in the NHL
The season is over for the capitals. The finish of the championship can only be devoted to the goals of Alexander Ovechkin.
Today the “Washington Capitals” hockey players had one more practice session before flying to Montreal for a match with the local “Canadiens”. Before the training, the football players, the technical team and the club employees held the traditional team photo taking ceremony. And it was probably hard enough for Capitals to force themselves to smile sincerely for the camera, because Capitals has no reason to be happy.
Peter Laviolette’s overall emotional background was evident in Washington’s last game against the New York Rangers. Caps desperately lost that meeting, and even the team’s veteran leaders couldn’t stand the nerves as they realized their weaknesses and lacked the resources to rectify the situation. Alexander Ovechkin also released emotions.
Ovechkin went crazy and hit his teammate Panarin. And this is in front of Gretzky!
There was nothing surprising in that. The Capitals were out of control, and the loss to Rangers put Washington out of any playoff game. This time everything depended on the rivals of the “capital”. These pretty quickly let “Capitals” fans breathe and stop relying on anything.
If the “Pittsburgh Penguins” were tainted in Newark by the local “New Jersey Devils”, then the “Florida Panthers” managed to score the most important victory for themselves in a parallel meeting with the “Buffalo Sabers”.
The Panthers returned to the Eastern Conference top 8 and eliminated their direct rivals, the Penguins. And with that, they deprived Washington of the last mathematical chance to make it into the playoffs. With four games left in the regular season, “Florida” has 87 points. The same number of “New York Islanders” for the same four games before the finish line. With the 77th point in the piggy bank, “Washington” has five games left where “Caps” will score a maximum of 10 points. However, according to additional indicators, Ovechkin and Co. will not be able to beat Florida and the Islanders in any way and will be out of the playoffs.
Such a failure in Washington did not last almost a decade. The Capitals last stayed out of the Stanley Cup in the 2013-14 season. After collecting 90 points in 82 games, the Capitals lost their place among the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference to Detroit (93). For Caps fans, the only bright spot in the regular season was… Alexander Ovechkin. Who else? The Russian scored fifty goals (51) for the fifth time in his career in the NHL, becoming the championship’s best sniper with a total of 79 points (51 + 28) and topped the all-Russian goal scorer list. in the championship.
Coincident or not, this season Ovechkin is perhaps the only positive result for the club. During the “regular season”, the Russian sniper rewrote a number of truly wonderful and glorious records. Currently, Ovie is the second best shooter in league history. Gordie Howe is long behind, with Wayne Gretzky ahead only with Alexander scoring more than seven dozen goals.
Ovechkin chasing Gretzky: how many goals to score before the record
But the main thing in the current situation is that such a fit was foreseen, so the failure of “Washington” can not be called sensational. In one game with the “Guardians”, in the last month of the game, and even this season, everything fell out of the hands of the “capital”. The current problems of the club are the result of the work of its entire system in recent years.
Literally from the season after the Stanley Cup’s smashing victory in 2018, Caps began to sink to the bottom, regularly raising the need for a rebuild. Their win was visible on the last trade date, when the club parted ways with Dmitry Orlov, Erik Gustafsson, Garnet Hathaway, Lars Eller and Markus Johansson. All his contracts expired at the end of the season, whose extension seemed impossible to “Washington” and futile in terms of building a new team. It will take another 2-3 years, and nothing will remain of the former “Capitals”. Even Alexander Ovechkin, who is likely to retire at the end of the 2025/26 season.
Paradoxically or not, but for Washington (and any other franchise that could replace the Capitals), the final years of Ovechkin’s adventures in the NHL are far more important than urgently forming a new team. and instant fight for the Stanley Cup. The title of champion is played every year, and even a pandemic does not prevent it. But the title of the best sniper in league history – no more than once every quarter century. More significant is the record of Wayne Gretzky, which in 1.5-2 years should be renamed the record of Alexander Ovechkin. Few people might be surprised by the number of trophies won. And it is much more valuable to be a club whose player will be the best in history.
Laviolette: Ovechkin scores 40 goals in one season, but his pace does not slow
And now that the goal of making the playoffs has finally lost its relevance, Ovi’s teammates can safely focus on supplying their captain with ammo and help the Captain close the gap to The Greatest and not worry about anything.
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