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)
  • Blackhawks deny locker room strife talk

    Blackhawks deny locker room strife talk

    CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Blackhawks say newcomers Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen are walking into a cohesive locker room. … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 minutes ago
  • Rangers get Coyotes All-Star D Yandle

    Rangers get Coyotes All-Star D Yandle

    The New York Rangers acquired a big piece in their push for another deep playoff run, picking up All-Star defenseman Keith Yandle in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday. The Rangers lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 minutes ago
  • Johansen levels Crosby with big hit

    Johansen levels Crosby with big hit

    Columbus Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen delivers a big hit on Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby that sends him to the ice early in the first period. … More »

    NHL Highlights - 29 minutes ago
  • Jagr scores 1st with Panthers, ties for 5th all time

    Jagr scores 1st with Panthers, ties for 5th all time

    Jaromir Jagr scores his first goal with the Florida Panthers -- his 717th career goal, tying him with Phil Esposito for 5th on the NHL's all-time goals list. … More »

    NHL Highlights - 29 minutes ago
  • Rangers acquire Yandle from Coyotes for package including Duclair

    The New York Rangers have acquired defenceman Keith Yandle form the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes confirmed on Twitter that Yandle, along with defenceman Chris Summers and a fourth-round pick in 2015, are heading to New York in exchange for top … More »

    The Canadian Press - 37 minutes ago