What's Buzzing:

Puck Daddy

Alex Ovechkin 'quit' on Dallas Stars goal, says Adam Oates

Harrison Mooney
Puck Daddy

Barring a big finish from Alexander Edler, Alex Ovechkin is poised to become the first player in NHL history to win the Rocket Richard trophy and finish dead last in plus/minus at the same time.

Admittedly, plus/minus is something of a junk stat -- you can earn a plus or a minus without truly earning it at all. But when you're at the bottom of the league in the category, despite scoring 50 goals, it'll bring your defensive effort into question.

So to will having your coach call it out, as Adam Oates did Wednesday, the morning after the Capitals' 5-0 loss to the Dallas Stars. From CSN Washington:

In a post-practice press conference than lasted 17 minutes, Oates voiced his displeasure with his players’ individual efforts Tuesday night, calling out Alex Ovechkin on one of Dallas’ goals and Mike Green relaxing on another.

“Ovi quit on the play, coming back,” Oates said, referring to the Stars’ fourth goal midway through the third period, when Ovechkin coasted through the neutral zone, allowing Alex Chaisson to use a burst of speed to fly past him and feed Dustin Jeffrey for his second goal of the night. “It just goes to show you gotta hustle the whole time. The whole, entire time.”

Is Oates' assessment of the play correct? Pretty much. Take a look:

Ovechkin is hardly in the frame for this goal, but you can spot him at the beginning and the end of the sequence. That's him drifting through the neutral zone as the Stars cross the Capitals' blue line. He's completely checked out. The next time you see him, he's waving at Ray Whitney, who realized Ovechkin was asleep on his feet and hit the gas, blowing by him to break through the middle of the zone for a wide-open feed.

That's a terrible play by Ovechkin, and while he scores a lot, he doesn't deserve to get a pass here for letting Whitney get a pass here. (Credit to Whitney, too. Watch the second replay: he actually cycles around behind Ovechkin to skate in Ovi's blind spot. By the time Ovechkin sees him, he's at full speed, and he's got the puck.)

But let's not blame Ovechkin entirely. You can't let that happen to you, but his mental lapse is just one of many on this play.

This is a 2-on-3. Why is there so much open ice through the middle of the zone? Because rather than stay high, which would have been the sensible thing to do, Jay Beagle heads to the boards to help out on Alex Chiasson. 

And let's not forget Mikhail Grabovski, who is also coasting through the zone as Whitney comes flying in, and doesn't even bother to wave at him. He doesn't take a single stride after crossing the blue line.

Basically, it's abysmal defensive coverage all across the board, so while Ovechkin deserves a lot of blame, when your whole team is defending this terribly, the blame starts to shift to the guy in charge. 

View Comments (144)
  • Karlsson scores 2 as Jackets top Flames

    Karlsson scores 2 as Jackets top Flames

    William Karlsson scored twice to bust out of a slump and Joonas Korpisalo made 30 saves as Columbus beat the Calgary Flames 2-1. Obviously, I haven't been too spoiled with the goals this year,'' said the 23-year-old Karlsson, who entered the night … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago
  • Ducks push run to 6, 13-3-1 in last 17

    Ducks push run to 6, 13-3-1 in last 17

    The Anaheim Ducks wanted to make a statement Friday night against the Arizona Coyotes after losing their first three meetings this season. Since Anaheim entered with a slim lead over Arizona for the third and final automatic postseason berth in the … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago
  • WHL Roundup: Tyler Brown makes 41 saves in goal as Pats down Tigers

    REGINA - Tyler Brown made 41 saves and Lane Zablocki scored one of three first-period goals as the Regina Pats downed the Medicine Hat Tigers 5-1 on Friday night in Western Hockey League action. … More »

    The Canadian Press - 6 hours ago
  • Flames-Canucks Preview

    Vancouver and Calgary both made surprising runs to the playoffs last season and were expected to contend for a spot again in a Pacific Division that seemed wide open. Goals have been tough to come by lately for both teams, though, resulting in them … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago
  • Penguins-Panthers Preview

    It's hard to believe some may still be questioning the legitimacy of the Florida Panthers. Another challenge awaits the high-flying Panthers, who bring a five-game win streak into Saturday night's matchup with red-hot Sidney Crosby and the … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 hours ago