The Great Eight is back.
After a highly impressive opening week of hockey played by the captain of the Washington Capitals, Alex Ovechkin earns himself the much deserved title of the NHL’s “First Star” of the Week, the NHL announced Monday.
The Caps may not be off to most explosive start to the season that we have ever seen with a record of 1-2, but #8 most definitely is. The Ovechkin that we saw on the ice last week, may have psychically looked very different from the goofy, tucked jersey, crazy-haired Russian that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, but we were able to see the talented and driven player that we all fell in love with years ago. Ovechkin’s performance in his team’s first three games to the 2013-2014 season was anything but weak. He was willing to put himself out there for the team’s sake, creating opportunities and putting the puck in the back of the net.
The 28-year-old Moscow Native leads the league with 4 goals, 6 points, and 24 shots on goal. Out of the four goals Ovi has contributed, three came during the man advantage, which has been recognized as the NHL’s top power-play. However, if this squad does not begin to light the lamp on full strength more often, the season may not end in the Caps’ favor. The captain realizes that his team’s offense cannot continue to rely on five-on-four situations as much as they currently do.
“We can’t wait for the power play all the time, that’s what we’ve been talking about and we just have to make changes in the five-on-five game,” Ovechkin said. “Of course we still have chances to score goals, but we have to use it, we have to score.”
Montreal Canadiens‘ forward, Lars Eller, earned the second star of the week spot with 3 goals and 2 assists. Pittsburgh Penguins netminder, Marc-Andre Fleury, came in third with .50 goals against average and a shutout in two games.
Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals entertain the Carolina Hurricanes (1-0-1) in the nation’s capital at 7 PM on Thursday night. Will Ovechkin continue to tear up the rankings, or will competing for the gold medal in his homeland’s Olympics detract from his regular season NHL numbers? Only time will tell.