The Washington Capitals' run through the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs ended in bitter disappointment, as the Caps once again failed to advance beyond the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
In each of the past five seasons, Alex Ovechkin has been the subject of much criticism, especially because this time around, he wasn't the focal point of the Capitals' game plan like he was in previous years.
Though there is no denying the fact that Ovechkin hasn't been able to help his team reach its ultimate goal, he wasn't given the sort of ice time he's received in the past, and it's unfair to heap blame upon a player that simply wasn't on the ice as much as he needs to be.
Now, with the Caps set to hire the team's newest bench boss in less than a year, Ovechkin will once again be in the spotlight as Washington will attempt to build upon the reasonable amount of success the team enjoyed during Dale Hunter's postseason debut.
With that in mind, here are five reasons to believe that Ovechkin is still the Capitals' franchise player.