The reigning Calder Trophy winner, Ovechkin opens his second
campaign with the Washington Capitals on Thursday, when they
visit the New York Rangers in the season opener for both teams.
The 21-year-old Ovechkin was one of the bright spots in an
otherwise disappointing 2005-06 season for the Capitals. He
became the second rookie in history to score 50 goals and 100
points and easily beat Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for rookie
Ovechkin will have a little more on-ice protection this season
with the addition of former Philadelphia Flyers left wing Donald
Brashear, one of the league's most feared fighters.
Despite the presence of former Vezina Trophy winner Olaf Kolzig,
Washington gave up 306 goals - the league's second-highest
total behind Pittsburgh - and finished next to last in the
Eastern Conference. The Capitals also led the league with 673
Just making the playoffs may not be enough to satisfy the
Rangers, who made their first postseason appearance in 1997
under coach Tom Renney.
Led by Jaromir Jagr, who scored 123 points to finish second
behind San Jose's Joe Thornton for the Art Ross Trophy, New York
topped the Atlantic Division for much of the campaign before
losing to the New Jersey Devils on the final night of regular
The Rangers' return to the playoffs was painfully brief, with a
four-game sweep by the Devils.
New York added some scoring punch by acquiring 37-year-old
Brendan Shanahan, who helped the Detroit Red Wings to three
Stanley Cup titles. He had 40 goals and 41 assists and needs
two tallies to reach 600.
Henrik Lundqvist comes off a sensational rookie campaign, which
saw him post a 30-12-9 mark and a 2.24 goals-against average in
53 games. For good measure, he finished third in voting for the
Vezina Trophy and helped Sweden capture Olympic gold in Torino