Ovechkin falls short again; fails to deliver on guarantee
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alex Ovechkin has size, speed, skill, three NHL Most Valuable Player awards and five goal-scoring titles but the individual accolades have not been enough to give the Russian even a sniff at a Stanley Cup.
The 29-year-old captain of the Capitals tried to will his team into their first Eastern Conference finals together this week by predicting victory over the New York Rangers in Wednesday's do-or-die Game Seven at Madison Square Garden.
"We're going to come back and win the series," he said after Washington's Game Six loss at home earlier this week set up Wednesday's showdown against the Blueshirts.
But Ovechkin, who led the NHL with 53 goals this season and is a finalist for a fourth MVP award, lost another critical game and status as a prognosticator despite supplying Washington's only tally in a stinging 2-1 overtime loss.
He did not, however, lose respect from Capitals head coach Barry Trotz.
"That’s what leaders do," Trotz said about Ovechkin's guarantee. "I have a lot of respect for Ovi in that. That’s the mindset you need to have. If you don’t have that, you might as well pack your bags.”
Ovechkin was inconsolable after Wednesday's defeat.
"I don’t know what to say about it," Ovechkin said softly in the somber Capitals locker room. “It’s a tough situation. There’s nothing to say.” Continued...