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Alex Ovechkin is the most underachieving MVP in NHL history
14 2015 . USA Today. By Chris Chase

Alex Ovechkin has a good chance to win his fourth MVP award next month, which would give him one for every playoff series hes won in his NHL career. In hockey, individual glory has never ever been so at odds with team success as its been with the Washington Capitals superstar.

There will be hundreds of things to debate after the Caps latest playoff flameout, a 2-1 overtime Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers. There will be takes both hot and thoughtful about why Washington was a loser once again. There will evidence that seems self-contradictory, including that the only goal in Ovechkins sixth Game 7 loss in nine tries was by Ovechkin himself. There will be defenses of the star, usually from those who Rock the Red the hardest: Ovechkin has gone through coaches like White Houses go through press secretaries! How can he possibly have any stability? But everything boils down to one sentence:

Alex Ovechkin is only multi-time NHL MVP never to win the Stanley Cup.

And, even worse, Ovis never even made a conference final. You can blame coaching, you can blame teammates, you can blame whatever you want and nothing impacts that previous statement.

If it seems unfair to lay the blame at the feet of one man on a roster of 20, a player whos on the ice for just about one-third of the game, a player on a team who brought in a coach who was supposed to change the losing culture around Washington, its not. When you reap the rewards, you deserve the criticism. And though the NHL might not seem like a sport where the presence of an MVP automatically leads to a teams greater glory (like in the NBA, but not in MLB), history proves otherwise.

Seventeen men have won the Hart Trophy (MVP) multiple times, dating all the way back to 1923-24. Those 17 men are responsible for 54 Stanley Cup titles. (Well, 16 men: Ovi hasnt added one to the tally.) Even more damning to Ovechkin, almost all of those men have more than one Stanley Cup victory, including every non-active player whos won multiple MVPs in the past half-century. And of the seven other men who have won three or more MVPs, like Ovechkin, theres a combined 20 Stanley Cup titles between them.

On one hand, you have a player that has won as many MVPs as only seven other men to have laced up the skates in the last 100 years. On the other, you have a player who cant get more than one playoff series win per season. Even though hell be 30 next season which still gives him plenty of time to turn it around every successive playoff loss (and Olympic disappointment with Russia) feels like its adding to the immense pressure on the leagues most dynamic star.

The question is: Will Ovechkin become Phil Mickelson, a golfer mocked for years for never winning a major and then winning one, having it click and ultimately tallying five Grand Slam wins and counting? Or is he Dan Marino, an all-time great who never raised a title trophy and seems to be reminded about it every day of his life.

Ovechkin still has time to change his destiny. But first he has to get out of the second round.


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