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“Ovechkin’s last fight”. How Ovi was reborn and came back in search of Gretzky

Date: May 22, 2024 Time: 12:14:31

Alexander Ovechkin scored only eight goals in his first 43 games. It was a truly terrible result for the best sniper of our time and, probably, in the entire history of hockey.

However, in the second half of the season, Ovi revived and over the next 36 matches he scored 22 goals, while producing several completely crazy streaks. Thanks to this, the Washington captain reduced the gap with Wayne Gretzky to just 42 goals, and the capital itself returned to the playoff race.

At the same time, some details of Ovechkin’s revival remained hidden from the eyes of the general public. The well-known journalist from The Athletic Chris Johnston told what detail helped the forward and also conveyed the words of Alexander’s teammates about the captain’s return. We provide a translation of an article by our American colleague.

Alexander Ovechkin

Photo: Washington Capitals HC

Alex Ovechkin’s search for his lost scoring instincts proved exhausting when, in the first half of this season, he lost the one thing he could always count on.

The man chasing the NHL’s all-time goals record suddenly found himself switching between four or five different brands and models of sticks. This led Washington’s coaching staff to delve into statistics and video in an attempt to find answers to why pucks weren’t entering the net more often. And naturally, that left his teammates looking in the mirror (not to mention the ice) for ways to help their captain get back on track.

“Their scoring standard is a lot higher than the rest of the world, and when you’re not scoring at the rate you want, I think there’s a lot of question marks,” Capitals winger TJ Oshie said.

What’s happening? What’s happening? Is the problem your colleagues? Are you going backwards? Has age finally caught up with him?

In a span of 43 games from mid-October to late January, when Ovechkin scored just eight goals, it was simply unprecedented. During that time, there was a 14-game goalless streak, by far the longest drought in a career in which Alex captured the NHL scoring crown nine times in the 18 seasons prior to this one.

Ovi managed to set several records even this season:

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As everyone in Washington searched for answers, a new layer of doubt was added to the broader debate over whether Ovechkin could break Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 regular-season goals.

The achievement began to seem inevitable after Alex scored 42 and 50 goals the past two seasons, but when Ovechkin arrived at the All-Star break this winter on pace for a 17-goal season, it was natural to wonder if he had only just begun. Is it possible to have such a rapid decline at 38 years old?

Then he got up for the final fight.

It all started in the least likely place: eight time zones away from DC, in the United Arab Emirates, where Ovechkin rode a camel through the desert, vacationing with his wife Anastasia and sons Sergei and Ilya, and rubbing shoulders with the former soccer star Wayne. Rooney.

Alexander Ovechkin with Wayne Rooney

Photo: From Wayne Rooney’s personal archive.

The trip gave Ovechkin much-needed time with his family and warm weather. It also gave her a chance to clear his mind. And it was a turning point for both the player and the team.

The Capitals were 11th in the Eastern Conference heading into the nine-day break. Ovechkin felt a renewed spirit when the team reconvened in early February.

“I think this is the best time of year,” he said. “After the All-Star break, no one thought we would be in the playoff race, but I think we all rewired our brains in a different way.”

Looking back, there were signs of a turning point before the next pause. On January 27 in Dallas, in the last game before traveling to Dubai, Ovechkin scored from long range with a wild shot through traffic – the first of two Washington goals in a six-on-five game when goalie Charlie Lindgren was replaced by an extra. attacker to secure a valuable point in the standings.

You can watch the video on the official NHL website. Video rights belong to NHL Enterprises, LP.

It was not what you would call a classic Ovechkin goal. Nor was the one he scored after a rebound from Nils Oman in the game against Vancouver on February 11.

You can watch the video on the official NHL website. Video rights belong to NHL Enterprises, LP.

Still, both goals counted and helped spark a streak of eight goals in eight games that took his season total from eight goals in 43 games to 16 in 51. According to Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery, he acted as a pressure release valve after so much. He seemed to be working against Ovi.

“Some of those pucks went in and now it feels good, now watch out,” Carbery said. — Scorers, when they gain momentum, feel more confident… it feels like when they receive a pass on the breakaway or in the offensive zone, there is a chance that the puck will fly towards the goal. This is what I saw changed.

The level of confidence and swagger he displays on the ice now makes him look like the old Ovi.”

He puts pucks on the net like he did before.

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Ovechkin scored eight more goals in a five-game span in March, becoming the oldest player in league history to accomplish that feat.

And he decided on one of the Bauer models after trying several clubs at the beginning of the year.

“Right now I’m sticking with a putter,” he said. “I’m very happy with her.”

Who can blame him? When the Capitals swept the Devils, Islanders and Red Wings in the playoffs, he scored 17 goals in 23 games.

“Every time he gets the puck, the crowd looks at him more and more and it seems like he could score at any moment,” teammate Dylan Strome said. “Having him on your team is a great feeling.”

Oshie added: “When he gets on the ice, it feels like Ovi’s hunger for pucks is back and in full force. I’ve never seen anyone like that. Of course, there are guys in this league who are very good scorers, but I personally have never seen anyone who would like to score more goals than Ovi.”

Their success also put the Capitals back in the middle of an unlikely playoff chase.

Alexander Ovechkin

Photo: Washington Capitals HC

During a season that saw the departure of former mainstays Nicklas Bäckström and Evgeni Kuznetsov, as well as veterans Anthony Mantha and Joel Edmundson who were traded for draft picks at the deadline, the Capitals remained competitive and fulfilled the commitment of the organization to give Ovechkin a platform. to continue the pursuit of Gretzky.

He is 42 goals shy of the NHL’s all-time best, a number that appears to be within reach before his contract expires after the 2025-2026 season.

As for what briefly slowed down his search earlier this season, there are several different factors.

Ovechkin isn’t creating offensive opportunities at the same rate he used to, and his shot count before the All-Star break was the lowest of his career. He believes the Capitals’ more “aggressive” approach since then has opened up his best scoring opportunities.

Carbery said the coaching staff worked with Ovechkin to get him closer to center ice and noted that Alex had bad luck hitting the crossbar six times in the first month.

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Over time, some of these things started to even out. And the clock went back.

“Thankfully, we’re all pretty patient,” Oshie said. “And I’m sure he’s on an incredible streak now and leading our team.”

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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