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Alex Ovechkin is feeling the need for speed

Apr 30, 2012, 9:17 AM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

While we’ve seen Alex Ovechkin play the role of battering ram through the playoffs as well as the occasional sniper, there’s another part to his game that he wants to see put to use.’s Chuck Gormley hears it from Ovechkin that his speed is something the team should use to their advantage to try and deal with the Rangers’ staunch defense.

“If I want to have [scoring] opportunities they have to give me the puck at full speed in the neutral zone because in the [offensive] zone it’s harder because they have [Dan] Girardi and another guy [Ryan McDonagh] on me.”

Girardi and McDonagh have been making opposing skilled players miserable all season long and when you throw Marc Staal into the mix as well, there’s just not a lot of room for guys like Ovechkin or Alexander Semin to move around on the ice. Ovechkin says he has to find ways to get the puck and get into shooting lanes, other things the Rangers are great at eliminating.

We haven’t seen the dominating Ovechkin much in the playoffs but if he can get free and do the things he says will work, betting against him succeeding would be a bad idea.

  1. snoop0323 - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    What a baby. The truly great ones make plays for themselves and make their teammates better. Ovechkin has done neither in these playoffs, and now he is blaming his teammates and/or the game plan for his scoring woes. Typical Russian. All the talent in the world but plays when he wants to, and always find someone else to blame when he is not scoring.

    • stakex - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      If there is one guy in the NHL whos hart shouldn’t be questioned, at least in the playoffs, its Ovechkin. Hes been one of Washingtons most engaged players so far. I just love how everyone hops on the “Hes lazy” or “He doesn’t care” bandwaggon just because hes being kept in check so far.

      You know what Ovechkins problem is? In the first round he was matched up against one of the best defenses in the NHL with a coach behind him thats not getting him on the ice enough to be effective. In the second round now, hes going up against a team thats even worse for his (and Washingtsons as a whole) style of play. Ovechkin is a wide open, run and gun style player… when you ask him to play safe and sit back playing defense, he might as well stay on the bench. We could also get into the fact hes playing with sub-par linemates, and Hunter isn’t doing a good job using his best player… but you get the point.

      As for your “truely great players make plays for themselves” crap, let me remind you that hockey is a team sport. Gretzky himself use to say that the hall of fame team around him with the Oilers made him the player he was. While that might be him being modest, its a point made by the best player ever that goes directly against what you said.

      • jkay1818 - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:08 AM

        hes a great player no doubt, but, his mins were down in round one because he isnt buying into that system. He is a turnover machine in the neutral zone and doesnt play a shred of defense. What i never understood about him is in the offensive zone he plays at 110 mph, he is built like a truck and can blow people up, out muscle for the loose pucks. it baffles me he doesnt do that in the defensive zone. I know all too well about ovechkin. generally the rangers lock him down and then he scores a goal in a 1-1 game shooting top corner in a screen, or muscling his way on one knee to the goal and finding a way to wrist it in. I dont know if its as much a knock on ovechkin as its just the rangers have a good gameplan on him. it used to be staal shadowing him and they went to war. Now they have girardi who can bang with people and mcdonagh who is an amazing skater, its a double threat for him. Then add the fact when tortorella doesnt get the match up in place, he can put staal out there. in a series like this where they have to wear him down, the rangers miss a guy like michael sauer tremendously because he can skate for a big guy and play the body. After a few games his large frame takes a toll on defenseman.

    • stevefromsacto - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      You mean like “Sid the Kid”? Bet he’s making some nice plays…on the golf course.

      Ovechkin has not had a great playoff run so far, but to can call a guy that is willing to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Zdeno Chara and who has double-digit hits game after game “a baby” is a joke.

      Tell me you wouldn’t want him on your team, snoop, so we can all get a good laugh.

      • snoop0323 - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:50 PM

        I didn’t hear Ovechkin’s quote, I just read it in this article. Maybe the old saying “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” applies here, but in the first sentence of this quote, he blamed his teammates, coaches’ game plan, or both. And this guys wheres the “C” on his chest? As for steve, get ready for a big laugh. I would not want Ovechkin on my team. What has he won in his career? The answer is nothing. You can laugh all you want now, but in 10 years when he still hasn’t won anything accept a goal-scoring title, I’ll be the one laughing if I even care enough about this conversation to remember it 10 minutes from now, let alone 10 years.

  2. jkay1818 - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    and that other guy. he’s a 21 year old kid mcdonagh, he is going to be a beast. he has been great all season.
    He is contradicting what he is saying, how his teammates need to give him the puck full speed. take it easy lebron, that was the Rangers whole game plan in game one. they were standing him up at the line.

  3. rpiotr01 - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    I know he goes invisible for spurts, but this guy is the best player on the ice whenever he’s out there. He has the kind of shot that can change a game, and he only needs 1 or 2 chances at it. The Rangers will be all over him, but he WILL find open ice eventually, and he WILL bury a couple. Saying this as a Ranger fan. I’m mighty proud of the way Girardi and McDonagh have played against top lines all year, but he’s really an exceptional hockey player.

    • barkar942 - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      Agreed- however he just doesn’t seem to show up every night with 110% like other stars in the league seem to. I’ll take Callahan any time over Ovie- too much of a one way player.

  4. dresslerbrayden - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Ovi is going to come out hard in Game 2. Once he catches fire he’ll be unstoppable. Even though his recent struggle with producing the amount of points he used to, he’s still those most dangerous player on the ice. The Rangers have to keep there top two defense man out when he’s out there. They’ll make a mental mistake sooner or later and allow Ovi to heat up. He has shown such enthusiasm and motivation during the first round so far, he’s bound to come out big during the semi’s.

  5. bigdong28 - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    This has to be a Russian thing because if you watch video of Nikolai Zherdev you can see his skill is very similar to Ovie’s…skates the same, shoots the same, has the same style. BUT…he can’t play D and he has a huge problem with playing a role in a system. Hence why Zherdev is no longer in the league and why he was benched in philly last year and why Ovie isn’t doing anything right now. Zherdev was the rangers leading scorer a few years ago but he definitely has the same deficiencies as Ovie. To win in the playoffs, you must play as a team with a plan, I don’t think certain skillful Russian players can grasp that or play a part in it…it’s a damn shame

  6. dowhatifeellike - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Ovechkin is good off the puck and has good attacking movement, but this season he’s shanked a lot of one-timers and/or broken his stick on the shot. He’s passing more/shooting less, but it just seems that he’s pressing too hard when the puck comes his way. He’s got that “make the tough play but screw up the easy ones” thing going on that I see so much in baseball.

    Semin is very good with the puck on his stick, but pretty useless without it. If you combine Semin and Ovechkin, you might get the best scorer in history… or the worst, depending on how their skillsets combine.

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