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Ovechkin faltered when his team needed him most

Image (1) Ovi7-thumb-250x166-10466.jpg for post 1309

Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail says what everyone will be talking about writing about today, this summer and likely all of next season until he can attempt to disprove it: Alex Ovechkin has been disappointing when his team needed him most.

Ovechkin is usually remembered for his bone-rattling hits or ripping wrist shots off the goal post and in, but in the 2010 NHL playoffs, the enduring memories will be of things such as blind passes, missed attempts at holding the puck in on the power play, and wayward shots.

And for all the plaudits the Washington Capitals winger has won for his alluring mix of power, skill and personality - remember the sly shot about Montreal Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak’s quaking hands? - he will now face serious questions as to his ability to marshal his team to victory.

Gordon goes on to say how Ovechkin has lost ground to Sidney Crosby is the battle for the best NHL player of this generation and it’s tough to argue with him. I’ve never been one to take sides in the Team Ovechkin vs. Team Crosby debate, as I prefer to just sit back and enioy what each brings to the game.

Yet after Crosby has appeared in two straight Stanley Cup finals, won once and then scored the winning goal for gold in the Olympics, it’s getting harder and harder not to say that Crosby has taken the next step while Ovechkin has not. When it looked like the Penguins might stumble against the Senators in round one, Crosby put the team on his back and was the best player in that series as he lead the Penguins to next round in the playoffs. Ovechkin, for whatever reason, has shown that when the spotlight is brightest he falters.

I’ll have more thoughts on Ovechkin later.