Alex Ovechkin’s transition to right wing under new coach Adam Oates was one of the Washington Capitals’ top storylines this season. But dozens of members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association apparently didn’t get the memo.
The NHL announced its postseason All-Star teams Wednesday, and Ovechkin was a runaway choice as the top right wing in the NHL, garnering 103 first-place votes and 591 total points to easily outdistance Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis (36, 440). Those totals mean St. Louis is officially part of the “second All-Star team” at right wing.
And wouldn’t you know, Ovechkin somehow earned second billing at left wing. Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins again was an easy first choice there, with 70 first-place votes and 519 points. But 41 voters listed Ovechkin first on their ballots, helping him to 217 points and a second-place finish at a position he played only a few times in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
Old habits die hard, apparently; Ovechkin had been a first-teamer at left wing on five occasions. He becomes only the second NHL player to make the first team at two different positions in his career. Mark Messier took the honors twice as a left wing and later twice as a center.
The embarrassing results immediately caused an uproar on Twitter, with calls to revamp the voting process. Ballots were due at the end of the regular season.
Former Washington Times hockey writer Stephen Whyno, now with the Canadian Press, previously posted his award ballot, which included Ovechkin as the first-team right wing and the Detroit Red Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg as the first-team left wing. (Zetterberg placed fourth in the voting.)