Ovechkin Sacrifices Stats for Good of Capitals

Ovechkin Sacrifices Stats for Good of Capitals

There has been so much focus this season on Alex Ovechkin's career-low offensive numbers and so little emphasis on why he's been willing to sacrifice those individual totals.

It's all in the eye in the beholder, right?

Is Ovechkin having a so-so offensive season or is he being the ultimate "team first" guy by embracing his club's new ways?

The Washington Capitals have transformed themselves this season from free-wheeling offensive machine to two-way, responsible play. They're ranked fourth in goals against per game (2.35) compared to 16th last season (2.77).

In doing so, they had to drag down their franchise player's offensive numbers. We sat down with Ovechkin on Tuesday morning in the visitors' dressing room at Air Canada Centre and one thing he made clear is he's on board with what's transpired.

"Everyone here just wants to win so badly,'' Ovechkin told ESPN.com.

Let's not sugar-coat this. The Caps have asked one of the world's most electrifying players to shift it down a gear once in a while.

"Hey, it's a tough transition from being a thoroughbred, where you're used to going, going, going, to saying, 'You know what? I don't care if I don't win the Art Ross, I don't care if I win all these trophies because I've done all of that. I just want to win the one trophy, and if this is what I have to do to win the one trophy, then that's what I'm going to do,'" Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, who has deftly overseen his team's relaunch, told ESPN.com on Tuesday.

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