NHL Playoffs 2012: Alex Ovechkin Proves Why He Deserves the C on His Sweater

Ian BarryCorrespondent IIIMay 2, 2012

The Washington Capitals have managed to knock off the second-seeded Boston Bruins in the first round.

During this playoff run, captain Alex Ovechkin has set career lows for ice time and proven why he deserves the C on his sweater.

It is obvious that the Washington Capitals have been attempting to change their team concept over the past few seasons.

The Capitals have changed direction and fallen in line with the majority of the defense first teams in the league. 

The biggest change that came from the new direction was the change in the coach. The Capitals fired Bruce Boudreau, and brought in Dale Hunter. Hunter is a defense-first coach who spent his playing career with the Capitals. 

Hunter started making changes to the way that the Capitals played, and turned the team into a defensive-minded unit. With the focus on defense, scoring stars like Ovechkin saw a huge cut in their amounts of ice time.

Ovechkin started to play close to 15 minutes per game during the playoffs, which is much lower than he is used to. Ovechkin set a personal low during Game 2 against the Rangers, when he had just over 13 minutes of ice time.

The entire time Ovechkin was losing minutes, he said exactly what a captain should say. Ovechkin told the media that if the team needed him to sit, that he would sit because he will do what is best for the team. 

Ovechkin is a goal scorer, and that has always been his role for the team. Even with his reduced ice time Ovechkin has still scored important goals.

During Game 6 of the Boston series, Ovechkin was able to score late in the game to keep the team alive and send it to overtime. More recently, Ovechkin scored late in Game 2 against the Rangers, which would eventually be the game winning goal for the Capitals. 

Many superstar players would be outraged by being sat, and they would call out the coach and complain. Ovechkin knows the responsibility that comes with the C on his jersey, and he makes sure to set an example.

Alex Ovechkin has made sure that he puts what is best for the team in front of what is best for himself in the playoffs. 

Ovechkin has done as much as he can for the team when he is on the ice. Regardless of how much he plays, Ovechkin will continue to act how a captain should on or off the ice.