Capitals

Quick Links

Alex Ovechkin and how the Stanley Cup Final will affect his legacy

Alex Ovechkin and how the Stanley Cup Final will affect his legacy

There is no arguing that Alex Ovechkin is the greatest hockey player in Washington, D.C. history.

But what takes place in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final could ultimately determine his legacy as one of the all-time greats.

Or one of the all-time greats to never win a championship.

Ovechkin is on the ‘100 Greatest NHL Players’ list. He is 19th all-time in goals (607) and could easily finish in the top-5 when it’s all said and done.

He owns three Hart Trophies (league MVP), a Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) and three Ted Lindsay Awards (players’ MVP).

He’s led the league in goals seven times and points once.

As impressive as Ovechkin’s resume is, however, it is missing one key accomplishment.

And that, of course, is leading his team to a Stanley Cup.

With the Caps three wins from their first Cup, we asked NBC’s hockey experts, a collection of hockey lifers who have combined to play and/or coach in more than 3,500 NHL games, if they believe Ovechkin needs to win a Cup to secure his spot in the “pantheon of hockey’s all-time greats.”

Here’s what they said:

Mike Milbury

"He’s going to go down as one of the all-time greats. I think it’ll be disappointing, as it was for me, having been to a number of Finals, to come up short. It would be for Ovechkin, too, or anybody else—Jean Ratelle, Brad Park, they never managed to win a Cup. But I don’t think it’s going to tarnish his legacy."

Eddie Olczyk

"My opinion of Alex is not going to change whether he wins it or not. He’s going to go down, in my opinion, as one of the greatest goal scorers of our generation. Will mainstream media, will other hockey pundits look at him differently if he wins? Probably. But there have been many great players in all sports that have never won a championship. To me, I won’t look at him any differently if he wins or loses. That’s me, because I think he’s been so consistent. His playoff numbers are off the charts. For mainstream media and fans, they won’t have that crutch if he indeed wins a Cup or two at some points in his career."

Pierre McGuire

"No, he does not. If you look at just the recent history of all-time greats that have gone in: Adam Oates was never a Stanley Cup winner; Cam Neely wasn’t a Stanley Cup winner; Paul Kariya wasn’t a Stanley Cup winner. And then if you go back to the old days, Jean Ratelle wasn’t a Stanley Cup winner; Rod Gilbert wasn’t a Stanley Cup winner; Darryl Sittler wasn’t a Stanley Cup winner. These are upper echelon, superiorly respected people around the hockey world.

"The thing that separates Alex Ovechkin from a lot of people is seven Rocket Richards, three MVPs and a Calder Trophy. That says it all about individual accomplishment. And he has been one of the most dynamic, if not the most dynamic, goal scorers in the history of the game. If you ask any team in the league, would you want Ovechkin or you wouldn’t? The other 30 teams would all want him, in any era."

Keith Jones

"No. Because he’s done enough to separate himself from other players. He’s a unique talent that people pay to watch play, whether at home or on the road. That alone makes him one of the all-time greats. You could use the same argument for Eric Lindros; I think Ovi has taken it to a far greater level. And Lindros is in the Hall of Fame.

"Is Ovechkin in the top 10? He’s there. I think he’s in it."

Brian Boucher

"I don’t think he necessarily has to win. To me, you think of the great goal scorers that we’ve have had in a game, you could argue that this era that he’s had to score in is the toughest to produce. To me, I have immense respect for what he’s done during his time. Having said that, we always want to put a championship on a guy, to kind of put an exclamation point on their career. It would definitely be a nice feather in his cap. But, for me, to validate his career and what he’s done, he doesn’t need to win a Stanley Cup. I’ve always thought he’s performed well in playoffs. If you look at his goals per game numbers, they are there. It would be nice for him, but he’s had one heck of a career whether he wins a Stanley Cup or not."

Anson Carter

"I think he’s right there right now, in terms of the best goal scorers that we’ve ever seen. Alex Ovechkin is in the conversation. But I think he has to win a Cup to put himself in the super-exclusive club as best player of all-time. That’s what separates the best of all-time, the Gretzkys, the Lemieuxs, the Bobby Orrs and the Gordie Howes."

Each of the NBC analysts agreed that Ovechkin has already secured a place in hockey history. There were, however, some subtle differences in their responses as to where exactly he’ll settle in that history.

Of all the comments, Olczyk’s reference to the “crutch” stood out as the most interesting one. Indeed, there are always going to be a handful of haters among the media and the masses when it comes to Ovechkin, who, at times, has been a polarizing figure in the game. 

But if Ovechkin can lead the Caps to a Cup, any argument that he’s not one of the all-time greats won’t have a leg to stand on. 

MORE STANLEY CUP FINAL NEWS:

 

Quick Links

T.J. Oshie skates with military families as part of Courage Caps initiative

T.J. Oshie skates with military families as part of Courage Caps initiative

Capitals winger T.J. Oshie and his teammates hosted an event supporting the TAPS program, which helps military families who have lost a loved one in service to their country 

The Capitals hosted an afternoon skate on Thursday for dozens of military family members who have lost a loved one during their service. 

Oshie and teammates Garnet Hathaway and Nick Jensen were on the ice at MedStar Iceplex in Arlington. They skated. They took pictures. They signed autographs. It was all part of an annual Courage Caps event for members of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). 

That organization has helped support over 90,000 families of fallen military heroes with grief and trauma resources, emotional support, camps for children and seminars and retreats for adults struggling with loss.

Sale of Courage Caps t-shirts and caps have helped bring in almost $1 million since 2011. The merchandise will be available at the organization’s team stores at Capital One Arena and MedStar Iceplex all November. The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) is a supporting partner. 

Families not only interacted with Oshie, Hathaway and Jensen on the ice. Captain, the Capitals’ service dog in training, made an appearance along with mascot Slapshot and members of the ALL CAPS crew.

Oshie raced two boys and appeared to lose to the smaller of them just as they crossed center ice, laughing all the way. Jensen helped another novice skater by escorting her around the ice. Afterward, the Capitals and Papa John’s hosted a pizza party for the families.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Capitals vs. Canadiens Game 21: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Capitals vs. Canadiens Game 21: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Winning seven of their last eight games, the Washington Capitals haven't suffered a regulation loss in an entire month, thus steamrolling the NHL and looking to continue a 13-game point streak. After narrowly escaping the Flyers with a shootout win, Washington is poised to face Montreal, not too far behind them in scoring prowess.

The Canadiens are scoring an average of 3.44 goals per game so far this season, compared to the Capitals notching 3.85 per outing. Montreal sits right behind Boston at second in the Atlantic Division, and the Canadiens even beat the Bruins as recently as November 5. They're 4-5 on the road, eager to bolster their presence outside the Bell Centre with another hefty W in the American capital.

Most recently, Montreal placed Jesperi Kotkaniemi on injured reserve Nov. 1 due to a groin injury, missing six straight games since then. He practiced Nov. 13 and has not been cleared to play against the Capitals yet. Here is everything else you need to know in order to tune in to the much anticipated matchup. 

CAPITALS-CANADIENS GAME 21: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: Friday, November 15, 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7

CAPITALS-CANADIENS TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:00 PM: NHL: Montreal Canadiens @ Capitals
9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:00 PM: DC Sports Live
10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: