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Japers' Rink Mailbag: Ovi's Power-Play Goals, Dated Sweaters and Heartbreaks

Alex Ovechkin's power-play production in the wake of Mike Green's departure, third-line centers, former Caps and more in this week's edition of "you ask, we answer."

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The first 'Bag of the saddest hockey month. Let's do this:

Back in mid-March we looked at the question of which Caps blueliner should run the point on the power play (and we touched on it in this very space last week). Here's what we said in March regarding Mike Green's and John Carlson's respective abilities to set Alex Ovechkin up for his patented power-play one-timer:

This is the bread and butter of the Caps' power play; everyone knows it's coming, but they still can't stop it. Our eyes tell us that Green is far better at feeding that puck right to Ovechkin's wheelhouse, while Carlson misses the target too often. Are our eyes right?

Green has eight primary assists on Ovechkin power-play goals this year and Carlson has four. Case closed?

Not so fast. Obviously those dozen goals are a small sample on which to base a conclusion, so let's expand a bit. With Green on the ice, Ovechkin is getting 19.47 shots on goal per sixty minutes on the power-play, and with Carlson out there, that number bumps up to 24.74 (a 27.1%) increase. Might those shots be lower-quality (fewer one-timers, etc.), due to worse passes? Sure. But Ovechkin's goals-per-minute are about 23% higher with Carlson on PP1 versus Green, so he's shooting and scoring more with Carlson out there, and since the start of 2012-13, Carlson actually has just two fewer primary assists on Ovechkin power-play tallies (16-14) in 87 fewer minutes (308.22 to 220.67). So maybe perfect placement of that pass isn't all it's cracked up to be... or maybe our lyin' eyes aren't to be trusted. Advantage: Carlson

Whether or not those numbers changed much over the season's final month, and despite a disappointing power-play performance in the playoffs (for which Carlson was the primary point man), Green's departure is unlikely to have a meaningful impact on Ovechkin's power-play goal total (which hit a career-best 25 last year after 24 the previous year and a pro-rated 27 in the lockout-shortened 2013 season). If anything is going to have a meaningful impact on Ovechkin's personal power-play goal total, I'd put my money on a regression in his shooting percentage, which is basically at a rolling 40-game career high right now (though you can really see the benefits of "the Ovi spot" and moving him down from the point to the circle on the power play when the team shifted to the 1-3-1):

Ovi PP Sh%

One last thing to keep an eye on would be the power play's shot rate and Ovi's individual shot rate, but at the end of the day, I wouldn't expect a huge drop-off in Ovechkin's power-play goal production resulting directly from Mike Green's departure.

If you're asking whether it's better to be so deep down the middle that you can push a guy or two to the wings or so deep down the wing that you can push a guy or two to the middle, give me depth at center any day, all else being equal.

As for third-line centers with second-line center upside on the trade market, it's hard to say who is and isn't available, but the Caps would have one of their own in Andre Burakovsky if he starts the season as the team's number three pivot.

I'm sure he's doing his due diligence and certainly recognizes that the current options are sub-optimal, but he's probably content to go into the season with what he's got and address the need when it becomes more pressing if no good options present themselves prior to then.

Probably not, barring a future outdoor game between the clubs.

I'd have bought out Brooks Laich already, but at this point the options are basically trade him with a dowry or hold him and pray he can provide some value. Of those two options, I wouldn't be too happy to pay someone to take him away (although it depends on the specifics, of course), so I'd be hoping for some terrific penalty killing and a quality third-line-caliber performance. Is that asking too much? It might be.

Stanislav Galiev has a couple of things going for him - he's got some skill and he's dirt cheap. That said, if he becomes an impactful NHLer this season, it would be pretty surprising (but not unheard of) given his development curve.

If you're shelling out the kind of money jerseys cost these days, I'd say just about anything is acceptable. For example, I dropped around $300 on an authentic Mike Green sweater a bunch of years back. Do I have to mothball it now? I don't think so - I just won't wear it when Detroit comes to town. Besides, having a "dated" jersey shows you've been a fan for a while, and the crest on the front is more important than the name on the back anyway.

All that said, the least acceptable former Cap jersey would be Joe Corvo, and it's not even close.

Keep doing what they're doing for another 30 years, or blow a two-game series lead in the World Series. Otherwise, sorry Nats - the Caps are the heartbreak kids of this town.


Agree? Disagree?

If you've got something on your mind, go ahead and ask it here on the site, on Twitter (use #JapersMailbag), via email or on Facebook, and we'll try to get to them. As always, there are always a lot of question marks around this team... so let's talk about as many of them as we can.