Why hasn't Alex Ovechkin won a Stanley Cup?
Craig Custance: Certainly by no fault of his own. All he has done in his postseason career is put up 82 points in 84 career playoff games -- including 41 career playoff goals. He has been an absolute force at times in the postseason. I'm just not sure if you can win a Stanley Cup built around a winger, even if he is your best player. The recent Stanley Cup winners have been led by franchise centermen: Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Anze Kopitar, Patrice Bergeron. They usually have a premier No. 1 defenseman to go with them -- Kris Letang, Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, Zdeno Chara. Now, with Evgeny Kuznetsov starting to come on to go with Nicklas Backstrom, the Washington Capitals might have the necessary strength down the middle to pull it off. If history has shown us anything, it's that Ovechkin can't do it on his own.
Pierre LeBrun: Craig nailed it. It's all about the position. It's the same argument as the Ovechkin vs. Carey Price debate we had Monday, as far as which player is more valuable to his team. It's about the position. A top winger, for me, just can't have the same impact as a No. 1 center, No. 1 defenseman or elite netminder. Centers traditionally handle so much more of the load at both ends of the rink, both offensively and defensively. It's why centers have dominated the Selke Trophy for so many years and why we haven't seen a winger win it since Jere Lehtinen in 2003 -- that's 14 years ago! Ovechkin once again played his heart out last spring in the series loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but just can't have an impact on a series like Crosby can by virtue of the position they play. Put it this way, Patrick Kane is more talented offensively than Toews, it's not even a debate, Kane is the true game-breaker on the Chicago Blackhawks; but come the playoffs, success will ride on Toews' 200-foot assignments. It's just how it works.
Scott Burnside: Having spent some time with Ovechkin last week as he approached the 1,000-point plateau, there's no doubt his desire to win a Stanley Cup still burns bright. Why hasn't it happened? Stuff happens. Some it is on Ovechkin himself. His cavalier attitude to start the 2010 playoffs when the powerful Capitals were upset by the Canadiens comes to mind. But if anyone thinks the Caps' championship drought can be traced to Ovechkin's lack of effort or production hasn't been paying attention. And for what it's worth, I think the championship narrative is about to be rewritten.
Joe McDonald: No matter how great the player, you still need a supporting cast. Wayne Gretzky, the greatest of all time, won four Stanley Cups because of his teammates. Mario Lemieux won twice as a player with help. The blueprint of a champion consists of solid goaltending, strong defense and a pair of top centers, along with depth and unselfishness. Toss in a bit of luck and you have a strong chance at winning a Stanley Cup. Earlier in his career, Ovechkin wanted to be a one-man show. It didn't work. It took him a while to realize he needed help to win as a team. Under coach Barry Trotz the last few seasons, Ovechkin has learned to rely on his teammates during the regular season. In the playoffs, a team's best player needs to be the best player, and they make the team around him better. The Capitals have the blueprint to win. Ovechkin needs to find that next level in the postseason and he will lift a Stanley Cup.
Corey Pronman: I blame Jaroslav Halak, particularly the 2010 version who played for the Montreal Canadiens and knocked the Capitals out in the first round. For what it's worth, Ovi had five goals and 10 points that year.
Rob Vollman: Because he has played 11 seasons in a 30-team league in the age of cap-imposed parity. Winning the Stanley Cup is hard, even for great players. Of the eight players to win the Hart Trophy since 2005, four of them have won a Stanley Cup, and four haven't. Even the legendary Jaromir Jagr hasn't won it in 24 years.