Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Just call him ordinary Ovie

Who's the bum filling Caps star's skates?

  • Print

The Washington Capitals have knocked the passion out of Alex Ovechkin and turned him into an ordinary player.

No flash, no anger and no joy. Just a humdrum skate up and down the ice with the Great 8 pointless and dripping in mediocrity rather and the sweat of triumph we're so used to seeing.

Ovie, the smiling jester with a game full of heat and lust, is gone. In his stead skates a lost superstar.

The blame rests somewhere between Ovechkin and Capitals management. They want him to change and he has yet to buy in. The result is a player once feared by the entire league, no longer a threat.

With seven goals and seven assists through 17 games but nary a point in his last three, Ovechkin has become run of the mill.

Zeroes all around through three games. Almost unheard of for a player with 628 points through just 492 NHL games.

Maybe he's sulking and maybe management and coach Bruce Boudreau are squeezing too hard. Maybe it will all be better in a month. Right now Ovechkin is a shell of his former self.

The Caps want more balance from their team and captain. But in trimming Ovechkin's sails they've knocked the wind right out of him.

It was evident in his scrum with the media prior to Thursday's game and then driven home with a listless performance as the Winnipeg Jets drilled Ovie and his Washington Capitals 4-1.

The prevailing thought was Ovechkin was going to be the most exciting player on the ice win or lose. But he was mostly an afterthought this night except for a few shifts where he showed some of his old zip.

Ovechkin summed up his play in perfect but tragic fashion during Thursday's pre-game skate.

"So-so," he offered with a shrug of his shoulders.

Say what you want about Ovechkin's attention to detail and his zest for the defensive end of the game but his play has never been described as bland.

But that's the case today as he resembles one of those gutless four-cylinder Mustangs that Ford plopped off the assembly line in the '80s. The Capitals have robbed Ovechkin of all his horsepower and turned him into a mid-size grocery getter.

Boudreau has been charged with transforming the Capitals into a playoff contender instead of just a regular- season juggernaut.

The knock against the Capitals is they shrink when the games get tough. Despite one of the league's most talented rosters, they've never been considered a legitimate Cup contender.

And Ovechkin has been the biggest offender. So the strategy is understood but what good is balance if it dulls brilliance?

It's not enough to just let Ovechkin play and do his thing, he must be harnessed in order to put team first. Understood.

But pulling on the reins until he chokes is too far the other way.

If it's balance the Capitals want, maybe they should administer a little of their own. Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 18, 2011 C1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Total Body Tune-Up: Farmer's Carry

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Goose sits in high grass near Marion Friday afternoon for cover -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 18 - May 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A gosling stares near water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.


Do you agree with the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board to foreign companies?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google