The 2020 postseason will be unlike any other and, as a result, there are a lot of unknowns. As the July 10 start to training camp approaches, let's look at the biggest unknowns facing the Capitals.
Today's question: Will Alex Ovechkin pick up where he left off?
The Capitals may have been struggling when the season was paused, but Ovechkin was not. In the 10 games prior to the pause, he had eight goals and 10 points. Extend that out to 20 games, and he had 17 goals and 20 points.
The season was paused on March 12 meaning it has been over three months since the team last played a hockey game and training camp hasn't even started yet. Whatever momentum there was at the end of the season is now gone. There will be no carryover to the postseason.
So what can we expect from Ovechkin?
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What he was doing in 2019-20 was remarkable given that he is 34 years old. He may be getting plenty of rest during this pause, but he is not getting any younger. In a normal year, the questions over what we can expect from Ovechkin in the next season would begin anew over the summer. How many goals can you reasonably expect from a player of his age? Well, there will essentially be a full offseason between the regular season and the postseason so it is fair to wonder if age will catch up to Ovechkin when the team finally returns to play. After all, he turns 35 in September.
But if there is one player the Caps should not be worried about heading into an unprecedented offseason, its Ovechkin.
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Age is going to eventually catch up to Ovechkin, it is inevitable, but we are not talking about an 82-game season, we are just talking about playoffs. This is not a marathon, its a sprint. The team is not going to hit a January wall where it becomes hard to stay motivated for a Monday-night regular-season game. These are Stanley Cup Playoff games and Ovechkin has always been at his best under the spotlight. In 128 playoff games, he has 126 points.
If the NHL insists on keeping the 2020-21 season at 82 games, I don't know what that will look like. I don't know if an abbreviated offseason will force age to finally catch up with Ovechkin during the season, but that's not what we are talking about. We are talking about the sprint of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Because of that, you should expect Ovechkin to be just fine.
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