ECSF Game 2: Caps at Rangers 730 PM at MSG
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05-01-2012, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Northern Virginia
You play a guy a ton of minutes when you have no choice. Playing guys less preserves their legs for the long playoff grind, and is a luxury you can afford when you are in tight games and are not constantly trailing. It's doubly sensible if you have other players that are more conscientious in their own zone.
When I look at Hunter and Ovechkin, I see Hunter wanting to get to a point when he uses Ovechkin like Hitchcock used Modano, circa 1998-1999 and 1999-2000.
Ovechkin isn't quite there yet on his dedication to the two-way game. When that does happen, his minutes will rise. I don't know if Ovechkin is angry about his minutes, so much as he is waiting to see if it works. Players are motivated to get paid. I absolutely think players care about ice time solely because they care about their numbers, which is a conduit to getting that payday. Ovechkin has already been paid. All he really wants now is to add a Cup to his trophy case, and then look ahead to Sochi, so he isn't trailing Crosby anymore. He wants his respect back in the hockey community. He had it and he lost it, and he wants that back. He gets it back by winning the two championships that have eluded him.
As long as Ovechkin thinks that #Hunterhockey might just be the way to get a championship, he's on board, no matter how little fun it is to play that kind of hockey. If that faith wanes, then sure, we're liable to see some kind of explosion.
Can you manage talent that way indefinitely? Perhaps not, but so what? If they can win a Cup, blow it all up afterwards. They'll have won a Cup. No one in Chicago begrudges the way that team was built for that one run, damn the future consequences, because it worked and the team won the Cup. The goal isn't harmony, or stability in the future, but the Cup in the present. Asset management isn't a goal, but a means to get closer to your goal. Trying to win right now might mean the coach isn't beloved, but respected enough to get temporary buy in.
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