Everyone knows that Alexander Ovechkin is a top tier player in the NHL and arguably one of the top 5 players in the world. Normally when you have a player with the skill sets like Ovechkin you want him on the ice the majority of the night right? Not in Washington! Since Dale Hunter took over the coaching job for the Capitals he has given Ovi a back seat role and surprisingly the Capitals are winning!
Anytime you have a coach that isn't really afraid of getting fired (or could walk away on their own at the end of a season) it's a Catch-22 scenerio. They can light a fire under their star players and get them playing well or things can go completely down hill and the players can just quit on the coach.
Most coaches wouldn't dream about benching Ovechkin or cutting back his ice time, but that's what Hunter is doing in Washington with Ovechkin playing just 13:36 in the last game his all time lowest for a playoff ice game. It's even more rare when a role player like Jay Beagle plays 19:36 and has 10 more shifts than your superstar! But the Capitals are winning and maybe that's just what they need to win playoff games, they are 6-2 in the playoffs when the great 8 plays less than 20 minutes a night, so if it's helping them win who cares?
Most people remember the Capitals playoffs of late being barn burner type of games where 5 goals are scored and you win 5-4 or 7-5 but now the Capitals are starting to play the close one goal games which secretly Hunter prefers. He likes to keep the game at 0-0 for as long as possible and play for the one shot win! Which is why players like Ovechkin and Semin are seeing so little ice time, he doesn't trust them to play his style of close knit hockey!
Who knows if Hunter will return next season as the coach of the Washington Capitals, a large part of that will be based on whether he really wants to stay at the NHL with the divas or go back to the OHL where he can do whatever he wants and not be questioned. But one thing's for sure he's doing things his way, whether the Capitals win or lose he's making sure it's done his way! But if the Capitals wind up losing to the Rangers (I think they will) then it will be interesting to see what old Hunter has to say about his "benching" Ovechkin strategy!