We started it here (see: Will more ice time fix Alex Ovechkin's career slump?) and now Larry Brooks (h/t to Mike Prada) reports a shocking fact:
The one [stat] that leaps off the page as most pertinent and most inexplicable is the 18:43 of ice time per game that as of Friday ranked — get this — 67th in the league among forwards who have played at least 10 games.
Ovechkin's last name means the "little lamb" in Russian, people with gentle temper were called like this. And Ovi is gentle for the most part, but one thing he won't ever forget is when someone limits his ice-time. Trust me, I've been following Ovi with the national team and in the NHL for years now.
More from Larry:
Unless Ovechkin simply is not in good enough condition at the age of 26 to play approximately the 23:03 a match he averaged over the course of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons during which he was the NHL’s most electrifying athlete, then limiting his ice time so people such as Cody Eakin or Joel Ward can get a few extra spins is strategy from another planet that is doomed to fail.
...if I were aligned with any of the NHL’s other 29 teams, well, I absolutely would want Ovechkin to have the puck as little as possible, so I would be thanking the Caps very much for attempting to hammer the charismatic, multi-dimensional peg into a vanilla, one-size-fits-all hole.
Another stat from Mike Vogel, "Diminished ice, diminished returns":
Until this season, Ovechkin had never been lower than 11th among all NHL forwards in average ice time; he was 11th in his sophomore season of 2006-07 and never lower than eighth in the league in any other season.