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Capitals should not tempt fate and actually use Ovechkin in Game Seven
While it may have worked during the Washington Capitals first round upset of the Boston Bruins, would their head coach Dale Hunter actually try and go to the well one more time? Would he try and limit captain Alex Ovechkin's minutes in Game Seven against the New York Rangers? For the sake of hockey fans everywhere, let us hope that is not the case and we are treated to a classic matchup..
Edmonton - May 12, 2012 - While it may have worked during the Washington Capitals first round upset of the Boston Bruins, would their head coach Dale Hunter actually try and go to the well one more time? Would he try and limit captain Alex Ovechkin's minutes in Game Seven against the New York Rangers? For the sake of hockey fans everywhere and for the Washington Capitals organization, let us hope that Mr.Hunter will put his book of hard matchups away for just one night and he allows his star player the opportunity to be a difference maker and carry his team to the third round of the 2012 NHL playoffs.
In all honesty, what is it that Hunter would gain by playing Ovechkin only fifteen or sixteen minutes against the New York Rangers on Saturday night? Does anyone really think that John Tortorella and his staff would rather see the "Great 8" on the MSG sheet of ice instead of on the Capitals bench? The fact that this sort of question is even being asked, is rather perplexing. What coach in the right mind would not look to using his best player whenever possible? Apparently that coach is Dale Hunter. To be fair, he just might believe that Alex is nothing more then a complimentary piece of the puzzle. Of course, he would be wrong in thinking that way but the reality of the situation is what it is.
Had Ovechkin not willingly bought into the Caps system for during the playoffs, one could argue the point of limiting the ice time of former sixty-five goal man but that has not been the case. If anything, Alex has been the oppose. You haven't heard a beep from him about his reduced role, in a negative manner. Obviously he would like to play more but he hasn't made an issue of it at all, during Washington's run. Instead, he has been throwing body checks whenever the opportunity arises and taken to dropping to the ice to block shots against the Ranger...that's right, he is even blocking shots! Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention that he is leading the team in points, goals and trails Matt Hendricks team leading total of fifty-seven hits by just three. In fact, only two other Capitals players have been credited with more then thirty hits. What else would his head coach like him to do?
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter how it turns out.Be it the New York Rangers or the Washington Capitals that move on to the Eastern Conference finals. Having said that, as a fan of this great game, what I always hope to see during the Stanly Cup playoffs, are the best of the best pushing the envelope come crunch time. That is when your true leaders and winners rise to the top and separate themselves from the rest. Whatever the reason may be, it seems as though Alex Ovechkin has gone from being the face of the NHL, to just being one of the guys in Washington. No offence to those "guys" but he is no ordinary player and should not be used as such...especially in a do or die situation.
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