MVP? Not so much - 4/18/09
By the NHL definition, the MVP should go to the player most valuable to his team in the regular season. Although Malkin and Crosby are certainly valuable players, are either more valuable to the Penguins than Ovechkin is to the Caps? That’s been a point of contention through this season, especially with the incredible emergence of Evgeni Malkin. Frankly, it really doesn’t matter who wins the MVP award since it’s just a matter of opinion for sports writers throughout North America. Even though Malkin locked up the Art Ross with his breakout year, it seems as though Ovechkin is a “lock” to win the MVP because he scores goals. Fine. Whatever. The writers can vote for Ovechkin every regular season, and every post-season we can watch Malkin and Crosby lead the Penguins deep into the tournament.
Today “Ovechkin’s Capitals” dropped their second straight game to the same Rangers that struggled to even get into the playoffs. Ovie had 6 shots on goal and was on the ice for the loan Rangers goal (-1). In game 1, he had over 20 shots (although most were blocked or missed altogether). 0 goals so far this post-season. None. Sure, he has 2 assists from goals scored off his rebounds… but everyone says that Ovie is so “valuable” because of his goal scoring prowess. 2 games, 19 SOG, 0 goals… 1 definite puck hog.
Sure, it’s possible for the Caps to rebound, take both games in New York, make this a series again and Ovechkin will be looked at as the savior. But for now, Ovie’s true colors are showing. He’s not a playoff hockey player. In playoff hockey you have to play a two-way game and totally sell out your body. Malkin and Crosby block shots, finish checks, back-check like crazy people, and understand what it takes to finish a series. A true MVP knows how to help his team even if he doesn’t show up on the scoreboard. Ovechkin just doesn’t know that. Call me a homer if you want but even if it’s not Malkin, Crosby, or Fleury hoisting the Conn Smyth trophy, it surely won’t be Ovechkin
This isn’t meant to be an article blasting Ovie and blaming the loss on him, because the loss was a team effort. Some bounces didn’t go the Caps way and they did hold the Rangers to only 1 goal. But up to this point in his young career, Ovechkin looks like he’ll be a perennial regular season favorite for MVP and another “star” that can’t seem to lead his team to the SCF. That’s why it’s a shame that playoff performances can’t be taken into account when evaluating the MVP.
If the Capitals ever hope to make it out of the 1st round, their leader needs to take them to the promised land. Maybe then he can call himself a true MVP.
Public Service Announcement
Friends don’t let friends yell “Shoot!” at hockey games.