The Assignment: The Washington Capitals are fighting for their playoff lives. They are using up some of Alex Ovechkin's prime seasons in an effort to make the postseason. He will need to reach 50 goals and beyond in order for the team to make the playoffs, and even that might not be enough.
Why the Pressure? Ovechkin's incredible goal-scoring talents are being wasted with little support. The complementary players are well shy of good enough, and the Capitals are spending a lot of money every season on their best player. The longer this arrangement goes without playoff success, the more difficult the relationship will become.
Can He Handle It? It's difficult to imagine Ovechkin being happy with another playoff disappointment. In a stunning nine-year NHL career, he has played only 58 postseason games. At some point, Ovechkin and the Capitals are going to have to come to terms with the problem. They are a bad team with a great player and would be better off trading him and starting a rebuild.