The electric superstar forward has long been a lightning rod for criticism, a distinction that will not change this offseason after Washington missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
"It's part of my job," Ovechkin said Monday as the Capitals dispersed for the summer. "I'm captain of the team and of course I have to take responsibility, I have to take criticism."
Ovechkin earned his fourth-career Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy with 51 goals this season, becoming the 11th player in NHL history to score at least 50 goals in five separate seasons.
Yet Washington's underachieving season and his minus-35 rating, the third-worst in the NHL, overshadowed that personal achievement. Ovechkin narrowly avoided becoming the first player to ever lead the League in goals while also having the worst plus-minus rating.