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Ovechkin: "I want to be best player in league"

Alex was quoted as saying that in this short article in today's Montreal Gazette.

The star winger was in Montreal yesterday to ink a new endorsement deal, which means he ought to be showing up at Kettler Capitals Iceplex any day now.

Ovechkin wants to be the best player in the NHL. The fans and team management want him to be, too. And with Michael Nylander's help, I think he's got a pretty good shot becoming just that -- as long as he continues to improve in the defensive end and beats out Sidney Crosby for the scoring title.

Note: If you read this morning's Post, you know that I'm in Richmond for the NASCAR race. I'll have some other stuff to take care of when I return, then will be on the Caps full-time starting Tuesday, just in time for the best part of rookie camp.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 8, 2007; 10:59 AM ET
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He can be the best player in the league, no doubt about it. However, as far as beating Crosby in scoring AND improving defensively, I don't think the two can happen together. In his first season, Ovie was not that good defensively, but he could sure put the puck in the net. That was his aim and he had the drive. Last season, he improved his defense, but it also affected his scoring. Admittedly, the team had problems in several spots, but, unless he's unleashed, he won't be able to put up those stellar numbers that we know he can. It's a double-edged sword -- offense or defense? Both are good and both can also hamper the other. In any case, I admire his determination. I hope he beats that little whiner Crosbych every chance they meet.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | September 8, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Awesome, fulltime coverage starting on Thursday. I can taste the ice flying.

Posted by: EricS | September 8, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

i hope he's more concerned with the caps making the playoffs than his own personal accomplishments.

Posted by: nintendowii | September 8, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Good for him! I'm glad he has the drive and determination. I know he'll make it. I think the team will be really good this year and I can't wait to see them play!

Posted by: K | September 8, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"Ovechkin edged Crosby in the Calder Trophy rookie-of-the-year voting in 2005 after notching 52 goals and 54 assists."

Has this become official league doctine now? I don't think I'd call a 124 votes to four result an "edging," but maybe that's just me.

Posted by: norske | September 8, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Great point, norske.

Ovechkin already is the best player in the league - he just has to prove it to all those who have already annointed Crosby as their golden boy. He can do it this year AND the Caps will make the playoffs to boot.

Posted by: tokyo fan | September 9, 2007 2:57 AM | Report abuse

Crysby is always going to have a leg up on Ovie. I mean, does Ovie have his own line of Trucker-wear, available only in Canada, a la SC87, from Reebok? Sid even went the extra mile and got his PARENTS to provide input on the fashion design. It's enough to make you want to run across the border to snatch up a black and gold wife beater or babydoll T.

Posted by: JB | September 9, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Crysby ... lol

Alex answers some questions on his Russian blog:

Posted by: alexovetjkin | September 9, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I suppose we should give Ovie a break, but I think it would be difficult for Washington to play Pittsburgh in the cup finals :-P

If history repeats itself, we'll probably play them in the first round and get two cheap penalties called on us in OT in a pivotal game. Then Crosby will make some "amazing" tap-in for the game winner and everyone will call him the most clutch player of the playoffs.

Posted by: Raber | September 9, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

We'll see - Crosby is undeniably among the greatest in the game - but if Ovechkin went for a stretch where he scored 3 goals in 19 games, we'd be crying for his head on a platter. Crosby piles up the assists as well - but with 25% of his points coming against his favorite whipping boys ,the woeful Flyers ( soon to be un-woeful), let's see how his #'s hold up .
That's where Alex will benefit from Nyls; the scoring weight is no longer all on his, Clarkie's and Semin's back.

Posted by: Shaggy | September 10, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Crosby got a lot of help from Malkin last season. In fact, it was the game vs. Caps where Malkin scored (twice?) and beat Caps. After that game Crosby started to pile up the points. So here's the direct impact of Malkin on Pens and Crosby.

Unfortunately there was no Malkin for Alex last season. I hope Nylander will change that though he is not of Malkin caliber, but he is very good.

I remember the penalty shots when Nylander faked the shot and then deked the goalie. It was an amazing fake, I was like... wow... Ovie and Nylander combination will be lethal.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I think you'd be hard pressed to say Nylander isn't as good as Malkin. Nylander's been in the league for a long time, and if you look at his numbers he's actually gotten better with each season.

Malkin is playing with golden boy on the PP a lot, and if you look at his numbers, 50% of his pts are on the PP. I think it'd you'd be just as right to say Malkin is benefiting from Sid.

Don't get me wrong, Malkin is destined to do great things. I just think it's a bit early in his career to be assessing his value compared to a player who's been in the league 15 years.

Posted by: Raber | September 10, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Besides, if you're gonna be making comparisons to Nyls, you don't need to look any further than Backstrom. I can't wait to see Backstrom playing in a Caps jersey.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | September 10, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

After seeing the crunching hits that AO has laid out on players, I'm not sure how you can say that his D presence is lacking, or certainly less than Crosby. I've rarely seen harder hits on the Cap's bench than his. I wish that the Caps D-men would take notes...

Posted by: Greg S. | September 11, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

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