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NHL Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin Should Take Notes from Rory McIlroy

Washington Capitals

Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports

Washington Capitals sniper Alexander Ovechkin and Russian tennis star Maria Kirilenko recently called off their engagement. While no one wants to see anyone go through a heartache, it could end up being the best thing for AO and the Caps going into the 2014-15 season with a new look coaching staff and front office.

For all of his amazing abilities on the ice Ovechkin seems to always disappoint, despite leading the league in goals scored in each of the last two seasons. His defensive game is kind non-existent and in so many ways cancels out his offensive productivity. Likewise his playoff no-show against the New York Rangers in 2013 and the Capitals missing the playoffs entirely in 2014 further give credence to the criticisms of Ovechkin.

There have been a number of changes in Washington as the Caps enter the Barry Trotz era having gone through three head coaches since 2011 and the front office has undergone a complete overhaul. Despite all of these changes the team on the ice has remained relatively unchanged as the majority of the core from the last few years are still there. The lack of changes in the personnel department puts pressure on Ovechkin to stand and deliver with the eyes of the hockey world on him.

No one would suggest Kirilenko was the root of Ovechkin’s struggles, but freeing his mind could lead to the Ovechkin of 2007-10 making a return to D.C. Look no further than golfer Rory McIlroy who months after calling off his engagement with another tennis star in Caroline Wozniacki won the British Open for the first time in his young career. McIlroy silenced a number of doubters and detractors in his Open victory and Ovechkin could do the same with playoff success this season.

The best revenge is success and if McIlroy can use winning one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world Ovechkin can do the same on the ice. If it takes a broken engagement for “The Great 8” to realize how great he can be, so be it. Capitals fans will surely take it, heartbreak and all.