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Ovechkin on reduced ice time: “Sometimes you get angry you’re not out there”

Apr 24, 2012, 6:37 PM EDT


Depending how you spin it – and it’s being spun differently depending on the media outlet (see here compared to here) – Alex Ovechkin is either angry at receiving less ice time under coach Dale Hunter, or he’s bought into Hunter’s team-first philosophy.

The former suggests Ovechkin is selfish, the latter pretty much the opposite.

We’ll let you decide for yourself.

“My role is still to score goals,” Ovechkin said Tuesday, as per “But in different situations, [Hunter] puts different guys out there. If we win, we win. If we lose, we lose. But I think everybody wants to support each other no matter what. Sometimes you get angry you didn’t play a lot. Sometimes you get angry you’re not out there. But if it’s good for the team, you have to eat it and stay on the same course.”

In Game 4 versus the Bruins, Ovechkin played less than two minutes in the third period while the Caps were protecting a one-goal lead.

In Game 5 at Boston, he spent a career playoff low 15:34 on the ice.

Veteran forward Mike Knuble has empathy for his captain.

“It’s an interesting challenge to change tendencies and to change habits,” Knuble said. “The offensive guys, they’ve been offensive their whole life. Since they could wipe their noses, they’ve been out there scoring goals. It’s kind of hard to get them all to think a little bit differently, because it’s what’s gotten you here.”

Meanwhile, defenseman Karl Alzner credits Hunter for laying out each player’s role so there’s no confusion.

“[Ovechkin] understands now exactly why he’s not out there at times,” Alzner said. “It’s not a shock to me or anybody. We all know who goes out when it’s a D-zone draw and who goes out when it’s an offensive zone draw.”

Of course, Ovechkin’s willingness to go along with Hunter’s plan could change if the Capitals lose tomorrow and don’t make it past the first round.

Funny how that works sometimes.

  1. polegojim - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Coaches/fans get angry when you’re out there in the playoffs… with little to show for it.

    O…. there’s a reason you’ve been in the dog house…. a very good reason.

  2. dougr42 - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Everyone gets angry when you have epic goal resulting turnovers.

  3. hailtotheredcaps - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Keep asking him the same question every day until you get a story out of it…

  4. rg3isvictory - Apr 24, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    In fairness to OVI( I tend to like Hendricks and Beagle) his style of play and those results are what made him a star! Gabby and McPhee’s over reaction to early playoff exits was to become defensive after drafting so many scoring minded forwards and defenseman! That’s not OVI’s fault. He tries and succeeds or fails defensively at a 50/50 split. McPhee needs to deal OVI if this is the permanent direction. And/or McPhee should be fired for his part in spending several years creating a offensive juggernaut and then going in another direction with little success to this point. Then there is the point that OVI is currently matched against some of the very best defenders. Still, as a fan, It’s been difficult to buy into the “new” direction even though it sounded like a good idea. The Caps have played well overall against Boston but I do wonder if the Caps would have had more success with a Holtby in goal during those early playoff exits. I’m not sure if there is a better GM out there that they’d replace McPhee with but he has had more than enough time to win a cup and his firing would be justifiable. There are many better coaching options in my opinion but since the post season started, I like the Caps play. If this direction is to continue then the caps need to make room for some bigger, meaner, faster defenders by letting go of one of those large contracts. The obvious choice would be Semin( since his contract is up and he’s always the whipping boy for not being OVI) but he’s been one of the more productive forwards in this series. And could they sit Hammertime for Orlov already!!!

  5. stakex - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    I’ll tell you this much… Ovechkin and the Caps were both better before Hunter came along. The team might be buying into what hes preaching, but its certainly not working very good. Boston had a few off games that kept the Caps in this series, but expect a Boston blowout tm…. and for Hunter to be packing his bags this summer.

  6. sippindasyzurp - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Buddy look at the torque on his stick.. He must be using a 65 flex!

  7. jond86 - Apr 25, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Good job being a captain that can’t be trusted in 3rd period situations!

  8. supafinger - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    OV Sucks. Why would you want someone who refuses to play defense and commits terrible turnovers all the time to play in the 3rd period of a tight game? Until OV starts trying and playing defense he will keep sucking and keep riding the bench in critical situations. He should worry about actually trying but I think him, Backstrom, Green, and Semin all care more about partying, drinking Vodka, and blonde chicks. When 4 of your “best” players can’t get it done you aren’t going anywhere in the playoffs. As a Caps fan, I have no faith in this team. They will lose again tonight, probably by 3 or 4 goals. I am 99% sure yet another disappointing season will be over tonight.

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