Sunday, April 06, 2008

All Hail Ovechkin!

By any standard, 2007-08 is going to be a year to remember for Alexander Ovechkin.

The 22 year old Washington Capital who seems to relish his one ice time with the same zeal as kid in Timbits hockey, has turned the NHL on its ear this season as he collected not one but two NHL scoring titles as the season came to an end on Sunday.

Ovechkin picked up the scoring title with 112 points giving him time to work on his acceptance speech for the Art Ross Trophy in June, likewise he'll have to cobble together a few words when he accepts his Rocket Richard trophy as the top goal scorer as his 65 goals on the season made him the top of the NHL class this year.

His success in both categories marks the first time that a Russian born player has won both the scoring title and become the top goal scorer in NHL history.

And there's no reason to think that his load will be light in June, in addition there's every chance that he'll be looking at the Most Valuable Player of the Year award yet another name for the legendary Hart trophy. And for his service to the Washington Capitals, he's also considered the favourite to win the Pearson Award, voted on by members of the players' association for top player.

Most importantly though besides all those pending accolades, has been his leadership with the Washington Capitals over the last two thirds of the season, where his scoring and enthusiasm for the game seemed to stir the Capitals on to success.

While the individual awards are important and probably mean a bit to the young phenom, taking his Capitals deep into the playoffs for the first time in five years, would probably be as great an achievement as all the trophies destined for the engraver with Ovechkin's name.

Then again, he probably wouldn't mind having his name engraved on one particular trophy, which could happen should his Capitals cobble together 16 wins between now and June.

Raleigh News and Observer-- Ovechkin clear MVP

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