Caps Top Six: Belly Patting Fun

There’s something cryptic about Alex Ovechkin’s new belly pat goal celebration. He told the Washington Post’s Tarik El Bashir it’s nothing new, but we sure haven’t seen it in recent years. I can’t recall it ever being part of the celebratory rotation.

That’s partly because Ovi hasn’t been scoring as much and when he is scoring the go-to celebration tends to be a flying leap into the glass followed by a group hug. Less goals means less post-scoring dances, but this week we’ve gotten to know the smiling Ovi that won our hearts years ago.

And after seven goals in five games, and seven belly pats to go with them, I’ve come up with a few explanations for this new dance.

The first, he’s mimicking the wrestling title belt celebration poorly. It’s rather simple. Score a goal and then act like a WWE title belt should be around your waist.

Another possibility is it’s a play on the “Ovi is fat” comments that have circled around for the past two years. It was revealed the Ovechkin had played at nearly 240 pounds at one point in his career and that number has been used to explain some of his scoring droughts.

My personal take on it is that he’s saying he’s hungry. The belly pat is a way of saying he’s not satisfied with his individual awards and is rumbly in the tummy for a championship.

Regardless of what it actually means (chances are it’s just “hey I scored, let me do something. Oh, I patted my belly like Pooh Bear! Hilarious!”), it sure is nice to see Ovechkin celebrating again.

Hopefully it doesn’t end in six games.

1. Alex Ovechkin – seven goals in five games, 26:19 TOI versus Minnesota

As they say, better late than never. Alex Ovechkin is hot, incandescent hot, and at the absolute last possible minute. Sure, the team might have liked this a few weeks ago, but it’s here and it’s making the difference for the Caps.

2. Jason Chimera – three goals, two assists

Chimmer’s been awfully cranky these past few games and it appears to be a good thing. If there’s a scrum, he’s usually coming out of it pissed off and when the final whistle blows, he’s coming away with some points. Not a trade-off at all. Keep calm and stay angry, Chimmer.

3. Braden Holtby – shutout versus Minnesota, four starts resulting in six points

The kid with the best helmet design in the NHL took fans on a roller coaster ride this week and walked away a winner. Hard to believe that Sunday’s night shutout against the Wild wasn’t his first, but the third of his career. Now the question is, is there a goalie controversy?

4. Alex Semin – four assists, three game point-scoring streak

Mike Milbury isn’t always right, but during Sunday’s game he hit the nail on the head when talking about Semin. To summarize, Milbury said that if Semin’s skill level matched his work ethic, he’d be a phenomenal player. Maybe he’ll hear that in Russian and think about it because the Caps could really use a phenomenal No. 28 for the final stretch of the season.

5. Mike Knuble – one goal, two assists, three points

Knuble hasn’t been scratched from the line-up since March 10 and it appears that maybe he’s won over Coach Dale Hunter with his play. Whether or not he should have been benched to begin with is debatable, but he’s adding a needed spurt of secondary scoring. It’s OK fans, we can put the #FreeKnuble signs away now.

6. Mathieu Perreault – one goal, two assists, three points

Center play hasn’t been the strength of the Capitals this season, but in the past week No. 85 rekindled some of the magic he had in late January where showed he could play the role adequately. With Nicklas Backstrom returning soon, Perreault’s ice time might dwindle, but it’s hard not to imagine him losing too much to No. 19 right away.

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