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Ovechkin felt “trapped” by Hunter, wasn’t happy last year

Jan 14, 2013, 6:34 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

Alex Ovechkin struggled — at least relative to the extremely high standards he’s held to — last season. He had a career-low 65 points, and former coach Dale Hunter limited his playing time in the postseason.

“With more ice I can give more to the team,” Ovechkin said to Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington. “It was [Hunter’s] decision and he had his own mind and his own kind of personality and his own systems. Of course sometimes I felt trapped.”

The superstar forward kept his frustrations to himself at the time, which is something he felt was necessary because the team was in the middle of a playoff run. Still, he wasn’t happy last season and he’s convinced he can do more for his team.

He might get that chance under new coach Adam Oates.

“I just feel trust,” Ovechkin said when asked about his impression of Oates. “It’s the most important thing for any player. When you feel trust from your coach you feel unbelievable and you want to go play for him. Right away when I met him I just feel it.”

The Moscow-native also feels good about Oates’ system and thinks the Capitals will play well in it.

Regardless though, Ovechkin is likely to at very least seem happy.

“I’m always smiling,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. I’m always smiling.”


Brett Hull on Ovechkin: “He’s going to thrive under Oates”

Holtby likely starter for Caps’ opener, No. 1 gig still open

  1. sampulls - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Impressed that he didn’t speak out in the middle of that playoff run.

  2. cameltoews - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    I think he is poised for a big year….well as big as a year you can have with this shortened season. What you guys think?

    • lordfletcher - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      50 goals in 48 games….. :)

      well maybe not THAT great but I think he could hit 30 goals if he starts hot

      -wild fan

    • magicrat13 - Jan 15, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      i have him on my fantasy team….means he is doomed to get injured…sorry caps fans….lol

      • OnRepeat Music Blog - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:31 PM

        I lol’d

  3. phillyphanatic77 - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    I think most outside observers could tell this. You could tell he wasn’t happy with his year in Washington when he mentioned possibly staying Russia. He’s an offensive machine and if you want him to produce he’s gonna take chances. And therefore his teammates are gonna have to clean up his occasional mess. It may be selfish but Ovi was much better playing selfishly than being a team player. Oates should get him back to his 50-goal form.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      *50 goal equivalent in shortened season

    • bmoreredfury311 - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      I have to agree with you, pretty much. Expect for the part about being a better player when hes more selfish. Yes he puts up more points up, but it makes the rest of the team suffer on the back check and when he turns the puck over on the blue. As we saw with Bruce’s run and gun style of play. He needs to take what defense he learned from Hunters system and let Oates system open him up and being less predictable will help. I know people will disagree, but i personal think Ovi is a big team player and ultimately cares about his team winning and not his own personal numbers.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:00 PM

        I agree it hurts the team sometimes, but I said his selfishness makes Ovi better, not necessarily the team. If Holtby can play to his potential and Ovechkin is his old self then I don’t wanna see this team come playoff time. I’m sure Bruins fans would concur.

      • ravenscaps48 - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        I’d like to think if he had Backstrom for the full season instead of 42 games (Thanks Rene Bourque) that he maybe could’ve flirted with 50 Goals. 38 Goals without your best playmaker for half of a season? Not bad. You’d see the same thing happen with Stammer if St. Louis was out.

  4. noc4ovi - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    I’m sorry. But this guy could not step up his game when it was time. He’s not a winner.

  5. steelers88 - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Crosby will have a better year than Ovechkin. I do think Ovechkin will be pretty good this year though.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      With all of Crosby’s rust and the fact he hasn’t played this season, I don’t think so

      • sfbookreviews - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        Rust? After having not played in the first 60 games, Sid scored 37 points in 22 games to end last season (with a plus 15). I don’t think rust is going to affect him much.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 15, 2013 at 5:43 AM

        I’m probably one of the few people on here who doesn’t have a complaint against Crosby. Obviously he will be filthy this year because he’d still be one of the top ten players in the league if he was wearing double runners and a blindfold.

        All I’m saying is that it’s more than likely that he will be behind Ovechkin from the start because Ovechkin is already up to game speed. The same can be said for any of the guys who have been playing in a pro league during the lockout.

    • lordfletcher - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      you really didn’t go all out on that prediction…

      let’s see… 2-3 years ago you are talking about the #1 and #2 players in the world…

      Crosby and Ovechkin have plenty to prove this year. Crosby needs to play 42+ games and Ov needs to score 25+ and return to dominance

      I think both will do just fine in their own ways

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 15, 2013 at 5:44 AM

        It’s like choosing between a blonde supermodel or a brunette supermodel. Is either really a bad choice?

  6. capsfan19 - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Hell yea ovi!

  7. jason9696 - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    The Capitals played well under Dale Hunter. But damn did they ever play boring hockey.

    • vbcaps - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      I watch every caps game…boring under Hunter sums it up pretty well

  8. ludacrish05 - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    He doesn’t appreciate his fans, but I hope he can bring in a Stanley cup

    -caps fan

  9. puckdog - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world to have to bite your tongue, especially when things aren’t going the way you want them too. That he was able to do it proves that he’s not as selfish as some people make him out to be and really wants to win. Selfish would have been lashing out. I’ll be rooting for him to have a big year (except for when they’re playing the Wings). If I’m him I’m ready to explode in a great way.

  10. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Where was Ovi during the 09 conference semi against the Pens? Crosby stepped up his game to lead the Pens to the finals leaving Ovi in his wake. I’m sorry but true winners step up when the championship is up for grabs. Something Ovi hasn’t done yet.

    • puckdog - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      Fair enough. Individuals don’t win championships though. Teams do.

      • rsl22 - Jan 14, 2013 at 9:03 PM

        Pretty sure OV had like 10 points in that series, including a hat trick.

      • rsl22 - Jan 14, 2013 at 9:06 PM

        Crosby finished the series with thirteen points—one fewer than Ovechkin’s fourteen points, which was the highest single-series point total since the 1995 Stanley Cup playoffs.

        Thanks Wikipedia!

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:09 AM

        2009 Conference Semis Game 7
        Pens 6 Caps 2
        Crosby 2 goals 1 assist +1
        Ovi 1 Goal 0 assists -1

        The superstars rise when the chips are on the line. Crosby has done it in the NHL and Olympics. Can’t say the same for Ovi.

      • hbwt2 - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        Ovi was there alright…he was awesome through the whole series. But the rest of the team failed to show up in game 7. I know…I was there watching it unfold. Terrible loss for the Caps but that’s what it was…a loss for the Caps. Your assertion that he didn’t step up during the semis couldn’t be further from the truth. You should shed some of the ignorance before posting BS that makes you look ignorant.
        Only bad thing I can say about Crosby(because he was really good) was when 4000 hats hit the ice on Ovi’s 3rd goal, Crosby was looking for a place to hide. After they cleaned them up another 2000 hats came raining down. Only then did Crosby muster enough courage to approach a ref and complain about it, asking the ref to tell the fans not to throw anymore hats. Truly SAD. What was even better was when Crosby scored his Hat Trick a few minutes later,only a single hat found its way to the ice. Bwaaahahahahahah!

    • bmoreredfury311 - Jan 14, 2013 at 10:00 PM

      I was there for the dueling hats and all of Ovi’s goals were straight monsters shots. Two were one timers and other the was a well placed glove side wrist shot at the top of the circle of the draw. On pits so called great goaltender. Crybabys goals were all garbage goals, nothing wrong with picking up the garbage but to say he out played and over shadow him, you sir are just plan wrong.
      And that team wasn’t lead by Cindy, it was lead by a team effort and a good coach.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 15, 2013 at 5:45 AM

        Last I checked garbage goals still count the same as snipes.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        ok. But Crosby remains the youngest captain ever to raise the cup. Look! It makes no difference to me who wins the cup. I’m a hockey fan and don’t let partisanship skew my appreciation for players. Crosby is a franchise player. Ovi has not proven that yet. He’s flashy for sure, but make no mistake about the fact the captains play a HUGE role throughout the course of the year, and through the playoffs. Agreed! There was a team effort, and a coach. they all make up the ingredients to become a SC champ. As do the GM, Asst. GM, coaches, scouts, trainers, stick boy etc….

  11. dkphilly1122 - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Ovi is due for a big season, shortened or not. I love the old Ovi, selfish or not. For the Pens fan who said Crosby is gonna have a better season……Giroux is gonna have a better season than Crybaby Crosby, an MVP season at that. Malkin and Ovi will be right there with Giroux, but Crosby isn’t gonna be in the running. First game he is gonna get lit up by Giroux like in the playoffs last year. I hope Ovi lights him up like old school Ovi use to to everyone. Ovi will do much better under Adams system. Oates will cater more to Ovi in there new system.

  12. cameltoews - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    I honestly think Ovi is ready to become a real captain and take his game back where it should be. There are so many players in the Atlantic you guys can argue about Crosby or giroux all you want but don’t forget the rangers Rick Nash. Nash will finally be playing with a center and winger that can play.

  13. capsfan19 - Jan 14, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Thanks rsl for shutting that guy up. What a moron. So how did YOU forget that small detail?

    • bmoreredfury311 - Jan 14, 2013 at 10:08 PM

      Agreed, funny how they forget that part. But i can already guess the comeback from valoisjoeybfeld69 and other Cindy lovers, “how many cups do you have!?!?”

      Douches! keep leaving in the past Pens, but lets forget about getting knocked out (in the First round) and getting out played the past couple playoffs. Funny how that works, cant wait till puck drop Saturday!!!

      Go CAPS!

  14. bethgoesglobal - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    Surprised no one has mentioned that Oates seems to be trying him out at RW in training camp. If he can be as crafty on that side as he has been at LW we could see the return of “the great 8”. Teams have learned to defend against him and if nothing else, this move will require the opposition to devise a new plan. This alone could be the difference between a 20-goal and a 30-goal season for Alex.

    Gonna be fun to watch

  15. dawglb - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    It’s all about you, Ovie. It’s not about team success. You SHOULD be happy to be stuck in a bear trap for 6 months if it takes your team far in the playoffs….

  16. steviep23 - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Johannson-Backstrom-OV will be the highest scoring line in the league

  17. hawkeyplayer - Jan 15, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    it takes a real star to produce 50 goals in 50 games….

    stars like Mario L….Brett H….and the great one Wayne G.

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