Written by Clifford Santa Monica,

Alex Ovechkin’s most favorable pairing, in my opinion, is with Niklas Backstrom–the center he did so well with during the lockout when the two of them played for the same team (on the same line)  in the Swedish Elite league. The two of them make each other better. But Adam Oates, for reasons that mystify me, would rather have the two of them on separate lines. Thinking (perhaps) that by separating them he can create two good lines instead of one, he’s gotten next to nothing out of either player relative to their ability all season long until recently.


I like Ribeiro a lot, though. And skating Ovechkin between a space-eater like Chimera and a crafty puck handler like Ribeiro may just turn the GOOD-8 back into the GREAT-8 in the long run.


Let’s hope so,



Santa Monica



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