Seeing Alex Ovechkin wear the "C" on his chest didn't look too out of place Monday night as the Capitals took on the New Jersey Devils. At some point it's possible for that to be a permanent stay. While Chris Clark is still is captain of the Caps, it's still Ovechkin's team.
Ovi has declined the captaincy before. "I'm not ready because my English isn't good enough," Ovechkin told the Canadian Press in 2006. "If I need to say something to the team . . . it's hard. The captain is very important, you must be a leader all the time."
Clark's leadership (and the fact that he is the nicest guy ever off the ice) has helped this team even when he wasn't on the ice. Having to sit out the majority of the season with a strained groin injury, Clark didn't stop being a leader. He was present at every team meeting, in the locker room at every intermission and encouraging youger players along as they made the impossible happen last spring. No one is saying Clark shouldn't be captain, in fact he is the perfect captain for the Caps.
Undoubtedly though, Alex Ovechkin is the face of the Washington Capitals. And Ovi is the quentesential team guy. He would never think of taking that "C" away. While individual awards and accomplishments endear him to hockey fans everywhere, it's not really what he wants. If you told him that he could have could be captain but not have the Cup, he would avoid it like the black plague.
Ovechkin has clearly stated what award he would rather have. "I'm happy I take these cups (the Ross and Richard trophies)," Ovi told reporters at the 2008 NHL awards ceremony, "but the biggest cup is not in my hands. Soon, probably."
While I have been critical of another player becoming captain too soon, Ovechkin is quickly becoming a leader by his actions both on and off the ice as we understand him much more. Ovi has come a long way in just four years. From his broken english in the first year that beloved him to Caps' fans who chuckled with every quote to a young man that has his own clothing line, the league's most valuable player, and the new face of Washington Capitals hockey.
It was still nice to see him wear the "C" even if it were for a night in a meaningless game.
I have a feeling it will be back there. Soon, probably.