Ovechkin is now -- incredibly -- ahead of his own pace from last season. He has 53 points on 27 goals and 26 assists through the team's first 39 games this season after producing 50 points on 30 goals and 20 assists at the 40-game mark last season.
Capitals captain Chris Clark, who has done more watching than playing over the past season and a half, told NHL.com Ovechkin's experience is showing up on the other side of the red line, where his attention to detail has never been better.
"It's the defensive side of him that hockey enthusiasts don't see or pick up on," Clark said. "He's usually the first guy back, stopping where he has to stop in the defensive zone. He's responsible and you can see it now when he's penalty killing a lot, and he's out there at the end of the games where, in the past, if we were winning he might not be in there. He's turned into the best all around player in the League, not just the best scorer."
With Clark out of the lineup, Ovechkin has also developed as a leader. His personality in the dressing room and his presence on the ice are both stronger than ever, especially now that he's totally comfortable speaking English.
"He's has that quality just because guys see how hard he plays," Clark said. "If a 50-goal scorer and the best player in the League can run through a guy or at least finish his check, why can't everybody do it? You just respect that so much out of him."
That is definitely awesome:
This season after 39 games: 53 points (27G, 26A)
Last season after 40 games: 50 points (30G, 20A)