Top 5 Players The Capitals Should Have Never Let Go (pt. 3)

– Viktor Kozlov

kozlov

I understand that there’s a difference between intentionally trading a player away and the player retiring.  Nonetheless, the goal behind me writing this is to prove the point that regardless of the reason why we lost a player, the team for either physical or mental reasons, will miss the player.

So much in the same way that I saw Fedorov, I see Viktor Kozlov.  With such a young Capitals team during the 2007-2009 seasons, the veteran leadership that someone like Kozlov provided was absolutely vital to the growth of a team as a whole.

Pay close attention to what is said in this video around the 2:42 mark.

Obviously there is a joking nature in this video, but through it I feel it’s a very clear example of Ovechkin actually respecting someone.  This is one of the few occasions where I can see a group of Capitals interacting in such a close knit way, and I attribute much of this to the “father like” figure Kozlov exhibited, for not only the young Russians on the team, but for the entire team in general.

As much as I feel Viktor was a vital presence in the locker room, I feel he was just as important to the team on the ice.  His first season with the Caps he finished with 54 points, comparatively higher than the likes of Semin and Laich, and a plus minus of 28 was tied with Ovechkin for the highest on the team.

As proud as I am to say that Viktor ended his brilliant career with the Capitals, I can still say with all confidence that his presence on the team is missed.

– Mike Cramer

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