Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals just can't seem to solve their second round problems. In the nine times that the Capitals have made it into the playoffs with Ovechkin on the team, they've made it past the second round precisely zero times, and three of their eliminations have come in the first round.
Fighting through injury, Ovechkin managed to put up five points versus the Penguins in the seven game series, but it wasn't enough to help the team get over the second round hump. With yet another early round elimination, people have once again begun to point the finger at Ovechkin, questioning #8's ability to lead the Capitals in the playoffs. So what do Ovi's teammates think of his ability to lead as the man wearing the C? CSN Mid-Atlantic spoke with T.J. Oshie, Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen and Lars Aller, and when asked about Ovi's role as captain, they all pretty much came to the same consensus: Ovi's their guy.
“I think he's a great leader"
“I think he's a heck of a guy, great player. I think everybody who's been here for a while has seen him change over the years. He wants to win really, really badly and I think he's probably like the rest of us, a little frustrated trying to figure out what the problem is. He's with us all, but yeah he's been a really, really important piece of this puzzle and great guy to learn from.” (Karl Alzner)
“There's all different types of leaders”
“I think when you see O go out there and he's hitting guys and shooting pucks and playing hard, I think that's when he leads by example.” (T.J. Oshie)
“You get to see a little bit some sides that you don't see compared to when you play against him”
“It was positive. He always has a positive mindset, comes with a smile to practice, to every game. He wants to win as badly as anybody. There's only good things to say about him.” (Lars Eller)
“He played hard and, like all of us, had some really good moments and then he had some blunders like everyone”
“He played hard though, I think he did everything he could though trying to make a difference.” (Matt Niskanen)
Regardless of whether or not you think Ovechkin is the right guy to lead the Capitals going forward, it's highly unlikely that #8 would be lose his role as captain. Yes, the team has failed to make it to the conference finals, but they still won the Presidents Trophy, Ovechkin is still an incredible talent, and quite clearly the guys in the Caps dressing room all believe in his ability to lead.
(H/T: CSN Mid-Atlantic)