Alex Ovechkin: The Wayne Gretzky of the New NHL

Semi-Sweet MoContributor IJanuary 15, 2009

Alex Ovechkin has been in the NHL now for three years and never ceases to amaze me. From over-the-shoulder goals to dangles splitting the defence, Alexander the Great always shows me that he has more in his bag of tricks. The Russian Rocket of the 21st century has not only revitalized his team, but has also done so with hockey itself.

I'm glad to see that I am not the only one that would pay to see this guy play. Ovechkin has brought hockey back to Washington.

Hockey has always been put on the back-burner with the Redskins and Georgetown basketball going on at the same time, so it was accepted that the Caps would have poor game attendance. In 2004, the Caps had some of the fewest seats filled in the NHL.

The Capitals now pull in at least 17,000 fans per game and had a 24 percent increase in the month of October. This was the second largest increase in the whole league, only behind the Chicago Blackhawks. Now when I drive through the DC area, I see hockey signs everywhere I go.

After three years, there is no doubt that Ovechkin has talent.  I mean he must have been pretty good if he won the league MVP last year. He led the Capitals in goals with 65 last year; the next closest person was Alexander Semin with 26. A coach of mine once said that the way to win hockey games is to score more goals than the other team, and in some games Ovechkin has done this single-handedly.

But goals aside, this guy is a great team player. Being one of the alternate captions, Ovechkin has showed that he will lay everything on the line to get the "W." He has played virtually every position, plays on the power play, and kills penalties. The one thing he hasn't done is played goalie.

But what puts him above and beyond all other goal scorers is that he has been known to hit, and at 6'2'' and 212 pounds, why wouldn't he?

The thing I love about Ovechkin is that he always seems to prove his critics wrong. When people say he's not a team player he shows that he can play as a decoy and when people say he needs to play on both sides of the ice, he hits people into next week.

Not to mention that he has taken what used to be the worst team in the league and turned them into a serious Stanley Cup contender in three years.