Fantasy Hockey Coach - Hockey Pool and Keeper Hockey Advice - Ovechkin Proves Again Hes Playoff Draft Poison

  • Ovechkin Proves Again Hes Playoff Draft Poison

    Players like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and now Alexander Ovechkin are getting a reputation for being an elite player during the regular season but when it's a big game they seem to disappear.

    Ovechkin has remarkable individual and regular season success. He has won back-to-back Hart Trophies, Lester B. Pearson Awards and Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophies. Over the last three regular seasons nobody has more goals or points; Ovechkin has 35 more goals than second-place Ilya Kovalchuk and 35 more points than second place Evgeni Malkin. Ovechkin helped lead Washington to the President's Trophy this season. All those accolades mean absolutely nothing, as Ovechkin has been unable to lead his team when it counts most. All four Stanley Cup playoff series the Capitals have been involved in since Ovechkin joined the NHL have gone seven games and the Capitals have only won one series.

    Over his career, during the regular seasons Ovechkin was averaging 1.34 points per game and he has been able to score at a higher pace during the Stanley Cup playoffs (1.43 points per game). This season most of his scoring came early in the series, but when the games counted most he couldn't get it done. Ovechkin had eight points in the first four games to put Washington up 3-1, however when it came to an elimination game Ovechkin managed to score just one goal and one assist in the final three games. He became very predictable and tried to do too much by himself.

    This disappearing act for Ovechkin is not just for the NHL. Ovechkin has shown to be the best player at World Junior Hockey Championship (WJHC) and the World Championships (WC) but that has not translated into a lot of team success. Tournament all-stars, best forward awards and goal scoring leaders in several tournaments but he only has one gold medal in the WJHC and one gold medal in the WC. In the 2005 WJHC gold-medal game Ovechkin took a pounding by the Canadian players and left the game with a sore shoulder as Canada went on to win 6-1. The Olympics are no different as in 2006 he was the only player named an all-star who did not win a gold or silver medal. At the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games Russia was predicted by many to be in the gold-medal game against Canada but failed to live up to those expectations. In the tournament of best on best, Ovechkin only scored four goals and six points in the eight games he played and Russia failed to make it to the medal round.

    Ovechkin may be a dynamic player and one of the most exciting to watch but when it comes to big games he is starting to get the reputation of disappearing.

    So what does all this mean for fantasy players?

    Well, Ovechkin remains an elite player and is a must-have on your roster for regular season pools, but when it comes to playoff pools I would look at taking someone else who has proven to elevate his game when it counts -- for example, Sidney Crosby or Pavel Datsyuk. Don't go trading Ovechkin, as he is too valuable during the regular season, but just be prepared for him to disappear during playoffs.

    Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs are starting and here are our predictions. We will go into more detail in next week's column.

    In the West, I see both series going six games with Detroit and Vancouver moving on. Over in the East, I think Philadelphia will squeak out the win against Boston in Game 7 in a very aggressive series. Pittsburgh, led by Crosby, will walk all over Montreal and beat them in five.
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