Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's been a long time comin'

A historic moment occurred for Capitals fans tonight, as Alexander Ovechkin became the first player in team history to win the NHL's Hart Trophy, given annually to the league's most valuable player. In addition to Ovie's milestone, coach Bruce Boudreau was honored with the Jack Adams trophy for coach of the year, the first given to a Caps coach since Bryan Murray in 1984. Furthermore, Ovechkin won the Lester B. Pearson award for MVP, as voted by the NHL players themselves, joining his Maurice "Rocket" Richard (most regular season goals scored) and Art Ross (most regular season points) trophies in his total awards cache.

It's not as if this man could become any more impressive going into the awards ceremony, but somehow, that's exactly what he did. Ovechkin just defies logic at every possible turn. A 22-year-old, hard-working, polite, humble, team-oriented superstar in this current climate of athletes is simply not something you see very often. I've been in attendance at the Verizon Center when he receives the puck in the midst of play and the buzz that resonates throughout the building at that very moment is unlike anything I've experienced before. The whole crowd is just expecting him to do something unexpected. With a haul of 65 goals and 47 assists last season, they had every reason to do so.

Granted, the Washington Capitals have only been in existence since 1974, a relatively short lifespan compared to other clubs in the league. In that short history, the Caps can claim a few truly great players, or players that would go on to achieve greatness after having played with us.

But Ovechkin is something entirely different.

For the first time ever, the Caps have, without a doubt, the best player in the league (and the world, for that matter). Really, when has any Washington sports team ever had the best player in its respective sport? The Wizards had Jordan, but way beyond his prime. The Bullets won an NBA championship led by Wes Unseld, but in no way was he the best player in the league. Honestly, I can only think of Sammy Baugh for the Skins and maybe Walter Johnson of Washington Senators fame, each one of them playing decades upon decades ago.

What I'm trying to say is that Alexander Ovechkin is truly re-writing history in the here and now. I feel like it will be a really significant thing to say you got to see him in person one day. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I hope tonight's haul of trophies will lead to Ovie lifting the most prestigious one of them all in the future.



  1. Couldn't agree more. Maybe this will start to clue people some of the traditional media to start paying more attention to the caps year round. It's also scary because getting a hart so early in his career is frightening, because he will only improve, and his teammates will only get better.

    Did you see the awards ceremony by the way? One of the funniest things ever, with all the juniors players in the audience wearing jerseys... extremely Canadian. His acceptance speech didn't disappoint either, vintage Ove.

  2. This is what I thought we would be getting when we signed Jagr a few years ago. It is really nice to see a superstar finally living up to their expectations in DC.