point totals were: 92, 112, 110, and 109. When the Caps elected Ovechkin captain for the 2010 season his productivity dropped to 85 points and then again to 65 in the 2011 season. Not coincidentally, the Caps productivity as a team dropped in the same time period. People wondered “What’s wrong with OV?”
What’s clearly happened is a case of The Peter Principle, whereby Ovechkin has been promoted (elected) to a position he is not comfortable in. OV is a superior individual contributor and isn’t suited to a leadership position.
In hockey, the team assumes the personality of its leaders; the coach off ice and the captain on. OV’s game is about freeing himself up as a scorer. The captain needs to set a tone for team play. The captain leads by example. The captain must be unselfish. Yes, sometimes the team’s star can function as captain, such as Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, but Crosby’s approach is unselfish. Ovechkin’s career goals to assist ratio is 1:1. Crosby’s is .57 to 1. Boston’s Zdeno Chara is the prototypical captain. He’s steadfast, tough, and thinks defense first. This approach sets the tone for the team, and the Bruins follow him. Unselfish players make the best captains.
On the current Caps team, Brooks Laich is an assistant captain and would be a much better pick for the head guy. Matt Hendricks, and his tough unselfish approach would be an excellent selection. Until the Caps work out their leadership issues, they’ll remain in this rutt of mediocre play precipitated by less than full effort, and Ovechkin will continue to be distracted from utilizing his skills to the best of his ability. Make the change and watch them take off! Let’s Go Caps!