Hockey superstar Alexander Ovechkin has been captain of the Washington Capitals since 2010. He's led the team under two head coaches—Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter. Once the NHL lockout ends and the season resumes, Ovechkin and company will be playing under Adam Oates.
With Oates at the helm, it's only a matter of time before Ovechkin will be removed from his position as captain.
Ovechkin's captaincy has been in question for some time now. Just before Boudreau was relieved of his coaching duties, he and Ovechkin clashed when he benched "The Great Eight" during the final minutes of the Nov. 1 game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Hunter reduced Ovechkin's ice time during the playoff series with the New York Rangers. Whether or not Hunter's reasoning was legitimate, it was only a matter of time before he and Oveckin clashed, too.
With the new collective bargaining agreement talks including a possible reduction in player salaries, Ovechkin has threatened to leave the NHL for the KHL, according to Jason Brough of NBC Sports. That's hardly a model example set by the team captain.
Oates is a former captain of the Capitals. He's also arguably the best playmaker in the team's history. He knows better than anyone else what it takes to be both a great player and a great leader.
It wouldn't be surprising if Oates gave another player the "C." Maybe Brooks Laich. That way, Ovechkin won't have to worry so much about the duties of being captain. If he's not captain, Ovechkin's only duty would be to score. Perhaps Ovechkin could return to his days of scoring more than 50 goals a season.
As one of the best centers in Caps history, Oates understands the importance of an elite winger. Even if he believes Ovechkin is a quality team leader, Oates may want Ovechkin to focus only on finding the back of the net.
Ovechkin is a two-time NHL MVP. He was born to score. His uncanny ability to find twine is what made him an All-Star. If he's so good at scoring, why burden Ovechkin with other duties?