Alex Ovechkin: “Location, location, location”

Chances are you don’t know Harold Samuel’s name. But in 1944 Samuel, the founder of a real estate company in England, coined the famous phrase about the three things that matter most in real estate: “Location, location, location”.

It’s an idea that’s as relevant in hockey as it is in real estate – but there haven’t been many players who can be identified by a location that they’ve done their best work from. The most famous example in hockey history might be the “Wayne Gretzky’s Office,” that area behind the opponent’s net where he would sit, monitor the situation and make a skillful pass or sneak in for an opponent. shot that would result in a goal.

Today, the one most hockey fans know is “Alex Ovechkin’s Office,” the circle on the left wing from which he launches receiving shots that for 17 seasons have kept goaltenders awake at night. cold sweats. Everyone knows where it came from, but few have managed to stop it.

But with time and maturity, Ovechkin began to add variety to his game – and although he scored 11 goals in 12 games against Detroit on Thursday night, none of them were his signature “au. office “.

Let’s take a look at each of the 11 goals so far and the variety Ovechkin has brought to his game …

Objectives 1 and 2.

Opponent: New York Rangers; Thu 1, October 13

Game situation: Third period, Capitals leading 3-0 and on power play; third period, the Capitals led 4-1 and on a penalty kill.

Washington was already 2 for 5 on the power play and, on their sixth advantage, moved the puck intelligently until it hit John Carlson’s stick for a receiving shot from the top of the attacking zone. The puck hit teammate Anthony Mantha in the chest and shot to the right of goalie Alexandar Georgiev, where Ovechkin was camping. Ovechkin leapt on the loose puck at the bottom of the left wing circle and threw it into the upper corner of the near side, past Georgiev’s right shoulder.

The Rangers had a power play midway through the third period, but it was Evgeny Kuznetsov who controlled the puck in the defensive zone as the Caps were on a lane change. After the change was over, Kuznetsov made his way down the left side in a manner reminiscent of Nicklas Backstrom. Having won the red line, he sent the puck deep into the opposite corner and took his place on the bench. The puck hit the corner boards, and Ovechkin hit it first, beating K’Andre Miller, who was caught flat. Ovechkin circled around the top of the net and knocked the puck over Georgiev’s right pad for the shorthanded goal, his first since Jan. 3, 2009, against, oddly enough, the game-winning Rangers in a victory. of 2-1. The Caps won this game, 5-1.

Objective 3.

Opponent: Tampa Bay Lightning; Thu 2, October 16

Game situation: Second period, scoreless game.

The goal was an example of an opportunity offered and accepted. Tom Wilson tried to pass for Nic Dowd on the left wing, but the pass was behind Dowd, who fell while trying to block the puck. Trevor van Riemsdyk followed to try and dig a pile of puck along the left wing planks. He managed to free him, but he slipped until Ovechkin entering the attacking zone. Ovechkin turned in the middle looking for a shooting lane. Using defenseman Victor Hedman as a screen, he smashed the puck under goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy’s left arm, prompting a frustrated reaction from Hedman. It would be Washington’s only goal in a 2-1 overtime loss.

Objective 4.

Opponent: Colorado Avalanche; Thu October 3, 19

Game situation: Third period, Capitals leading 5-3

Less than a minute after the Avalanche scored a power-play goal to make it a 5-3 game with just over three minutes in regulation, the Caps made a face-off in their own end zone. the right of goalkeeper Ilya Samsonov. There was a stack on the draw, but Evgeny Kuznetsov found the puck and slipped it to Ovechkin between the circles. Ovechkin turned and threw the puck the length of the ice for a goal into an empty net with 2:21 left to seal a 6-3 win for the Capitals.

Objective 5.

Opponent: Calgary Flames; Game 5, October 23

Game situation: Second period, Calgary leading 3-2

Calgary couldn’t control the puck on the offensive side late in the second period. He slipped out of the zone and Ovechkin picked him up on the defensive side of the red line. He charged down the left wing and with defender Rasmus Andersson trying to close the distance to defend Ovechkin, he landed a wrist shot from the top of the left wing circle in front of goalkeeper Dan Vladar. Calgary would win the game, however, 4-3 in overtime.

Objectives 6 and 7.

Opponent: Ottawa Senators; Thu October 6, 25

Game situation: Second period, tied game, 4-4; third period, Caps leading 6-5

The Caps ceded a three-goal lead when the Senators scored three goals in just over five minutes in the second period. The tie was broken by Ovechkin on a game that started in the Caps defensive end. Nikita Zaitsev’s receiving shot from the top of the zone was blocked by Ovechkin, with the puck rebounding into the neutral zone where Ovechkin found it. Behind the Ottawa defense, Ovechkin stormed into goalie Filip Gustavsson alone, relieving starter Anton Forsberg. Ovechkin cut off the top of the crease, bot Gustavsson to expose the five holes and slid the puck between his pads to make it a 5-4 game at 4:27 pm in the period.

Later, with the Caps having a one-goal lead midway through the third period, Tom Wilson held the puck at the goal line to Gustavsson’s left. He found Ovechkin through the ice at the top of the left wing circle. Ovechkin took the pass and put the puck over Gustavsson’s right arm in the net to bring the score to 7-5, 10:46 in the period. That would be the final score.

Objective 8.

Opponent: Detroit Red Wings; Thu October 7, 25

Game situation: First period, scoreless game, Capitals on the power play.

As the clock slipped under the one minute at the end of the first period and the Caps on the power play, they pulled off a superb three-way passing game that started with Anthony Mantha in the right place sending the puck to Lars Eller in the goal line for left goalkeeper Thomas Greiss. Eller saw a path through the top of his crease and used it to find Ovechkin at the bottom of the left wing circle. His lone stopwatch was stopped by Greiss’ right pad, but the puck went to Ovechkin, who converted the second chance over Greiss down at 7:05 pm. The Caps then gave up a two-goal lead and lost in overtime to the Red Wings, 3-2.

Objective 9.

Opponent: Arizona Coyotes; Thu 8, 29 October

Game situation: Third period, Caps leading 1-0.

With less than a minute to go in settlement and the Caps holding a slim 1-0 lead, Ovechkin was positioned atop the left wing circle in the defensive zone as a battle for the puck unfolded on the along the wall. Evgeny Kuznetsov had enough room to hold the puck to Ovechkin, who turned and shot the puck along the ice at 7:39 pm to give the Caps a 2-0 victory.

Objective 10.

Opponent: Florida Panthers; Thu 10, 4 November

Game situation: Second period, Caps lagging behind, 4-1.

A practice from Gustav Forsling missed out for the Panthers, and the missed shot took a long bounce off the end boards. Ovechkin chased the puck just to the defensive end of the red line and fed Lars Eller by passing to his right. Eller skated the puck in the attacking zone and dropped it for Ovechkin entering the attacking zone. Ovechkin stepped forward, supporting the Panthers defense, and smashed the puck on goalie Spencer Knight’s left leg on the 18:11 long side in the period. The goal started a three-goal return for the Caps to force overtime, but they couldn’t get the fifth goal with Florida winning in overtime, 5-4.

Objective 11.

Opponent: Buffalo Sabers; Game 12, 8 November

Game situation: Second period, Caps leading 2-1

Midway through the second period, Evgeny Kuznetsov placed a slippery puck in the right spot. He passed to Dmitry Orlov at the top of the attacking zone for a wrist shot that cut the handle of Ovechkin’s stick between the hash marks and goalkeeper Dustin Tokarski at 8:55 to give the Caps a 3-4 lead. 1 on their way to a 5-3 win.

So there we have it. Eleven goals, none of them is the signature of “the office”. But there are some striking things about the goals Ovechkin has scored so far. Of course, there is a decided “left side” tendency to his goal score, but that’s the position he plays. But only five of his nine non-empty net goals are really left side goals. There are the two markers at the top of the fold (objectives 2 and 6 on the season) and the two between the hash marks (objectives 3 and 11).

And that leads to the next striking thing about its purpose: distance. Ovechkin is a high volume shooter, but he’s also a ranged shooter. This year, the average distance of his non-empty net goals is 22 feet. Three are ten feet or closer. Ovechkin doesn’t go so much in fatty areas to score as he finds voids in the defense that allow him to look good at close range or rebounds.

Ovechkin has two goals in an empty net in 12 games. While this may sound terribly impressive, there are two things to consider in this area. First, he’s set to finish with 14 empty goal scorers this season, which would more than double his career record (six empty goals in 2019-2020) and far eclipse the nine empty net goals recorded by Pavel Bure in 1999-2000 as the best of all time.

Second, scoring empty goals means you’re out on the ice late in a close game. Ovechkin has been seen as a defensive handicap, fair or unfair, for much of his career, but he presents a unique problem for opponents looking to equalize – he is not afraid to shoot and he has the touch of. a goalscorer. There’s the balance and tension between Ovechkin’s flaws as a defender and his ability and tendency to close games with long-range shots, which head coach Peter Laviolette has accepted, in favor of the Caps and Ovechkin to date.

In the end, Ovechkin continues to complete his scoring game. There’s the reputation that precedes his shot on reception from his desk, but he added new dimensions to his game that could give him a better chance of catching Wayne Gretzky as the all-time leader in goals scored. Two players who recognized the advantages of “location, location, location” but didn’t let them limit their chances of scoring in any other way.

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