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No more excuses for Ovechkin

Nov 28, 2011, 1:26 PM EDT

Ovechkin Getty Images

If Alex Ovechkin was playing to get Bruce Boudreau fired, well, mission accomplished. But even if he wasn’t, the narrative going forward will be the same – Ovechkin is out of excuses.

Not happy with the coach? Fine, he’s gone. Now prove to everyone he was the problem, not you.

Capitals general manager George McPhee said firing Boudreau wasn’t about Ovechkin’s relationship with the coach – it was about the whole team not responding to the coach. But there’s only one superstar captain of the Capitals and that’s No. 8. If Ovechkin doesn’t start playing inspired hockey starting tomorrow versus the Blues, he’ll get crucified by the fans and media.

A man lost his job and you’re still loafing around the ice? No wonder the Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup. Their captain doesn’t care.

Fortunately for Ovechkin, Dale Hunter will do things differently than Boudreau. That’s why he was hired. Specifically what he’ll change remains to be seen, but he’d be foolish if he didn’t put Ovechkin in a position to succeed. Hunter coached some offensively-gifted London Knights teams. They were good defensively, too, but Patrick Kane didn’t score 145 points in 2006-07 with a leash around his neck.

Hunter won’t let Ovechkin do whatever he wants out there, but he has to know the Caps need their best player to start enjoying hockey again. There isn’t a player in the NHL that loves scoring goals more than Ovechkin. That’s what motivates him, and it’s up to the coach to exploit it.

After that, it’s up to Ovechkin.

  1. babykaby - Nov 28, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Only an idiot would say Ovechkin doesn’t care.

    • govtminion - Nov 28, 2011 at 2:20 PM

      And only someone who doesn’t watch the Capitals often would say that he looks motivated.

    • stakex - Nov 28, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      Until the middle of last season, I don’t think there was a player in the NHL that cared more then Ovechkin. I mean hell, I’ve never seen anyone celebrate a goal with such enthusiasim as Ovechkin… even when it wasn’t his own goal.

      This year though? He hasn’t looked the same. He doesn’t have the fire he had in years past. I think its a lot more frustration then it is a lack of desire or motivation… and some people will turn that around as say he doesn’t care. I don’t think thats the case personally, but fair or not its now on Ovechkin to prove its not the case.

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