A year ago Wednesday, Alex Ovechkin was named captain of the Capitals. At the time, Tarik El-Bashir wrote that it was a formality more than anything as Washington had long since been perceived as Ovechkin's team.
In the year since the "C" was officially added to Ovechkin's jersey, the Capitals have gone 53-16-13 in the regular season. Ovechkin himself has recorded 38 goals and 63 assists during that span.
"It's a good experience," Ovechkin said when asked about his tenure as captain. "I said before, the locker room guys, team guys, help me a lot. Experienced guys like [Mike Knuble], [Jason Chimera] these kind of guys help me do some different jobs."
Although he's going through one of his more memorable scoring droughts -- with only 14 goals through 41 games this season -- Ovechkin remains the player who can spark his teammates in a split second, whether it's with a hit or scoring chance. And as was seen in that forgettable game against the Rangers on Dec. 12, when the team struggles, Ovechkin makes his frustration and desperation to get back on track well known.
"I think it's been a great thing for us," Jeff Schultz said of having Ovechkin as captain. "Game in and game out, Ovi plays with a lot of passion and there's times where maybe the team isn't going and he'll go out there and have a good shift or make a big hit and it gets everyone going....He's a lot more comfortable [after being captain for a year] with the guys in the locker room and just with the respect he is given from the guys in the room and on the ice."
Asked to assess the star player's captaincy, Coach Bruce Boudreau reiterated that the title hasn't done anything to significantly alter Ovechkin's impact on the Capitals.
"He's been a good captain," Boudreau said. "He's always been the leader since I've been here. I don't think really a lot changed, other than the letter being on his jersey. I don't think it's affected him too much. He's a great player."