Skip to content

Ovechkin to remain on right wing

Jan 22, 2013, 1:05 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

He didn’t find the scoresheet in Washington’s opener, but Alex Ovechkin will be on the right wing again when the Capitals host Winnipeg tonight at the Verizon Center.

Ovechkin’s move to the right from the left is part of new coach Adam Oates’ plan to make his captain less predictable.

“I think it balances his game out and gives him the opportunity to get more pucks on both sides of the ice,” Oates said Monday, per

“I watched him in the past and I know his spot and I know where he loves [to shoot] and I’m not taking that away. We’re just trying to add and get him more touches.”

Ovechkin’s “spot” has been around the top of the left circle, often accessed by cutting in, left-to-right, at the blue line and trying to use the defenseman as a screen (video).

But eventually defensemen around the NHL caught on and the result was a lot of shots into a lot of shin-pads.

It’s not the first time a coach has tried to help the former 65-goal-scorer who hasn’t broken the 40-goal mark the past two seasons, but the move to the right side is arguably the most dramatic adjustment.

“It’s not going to click right away,” Ovechkin said, “but I think it’s getting closer and closer.”

  1. jpelle82 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    glad oates finally addressed what every other coach in the nhl has game-planned for when they play washington. dont know how taking away his only move will work out but we will see….oates knows more than me.

  2. ethanmacleod1685 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Not a caps fan but I really hope ovi can find his game!

  3. ravenscaps48 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    He looked LOST on the RW on Saturday. I hope he gets in a rhythm playing over there

    • stakex - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      The only time he looked good on Saturday was when he was playing the left side on the power play.

      • ravenscaps48 - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        Exactly right. He still has the knack for just standing around too, not good

  4. stakex - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Ovechkin scored 38 goals last year on a team that was playing “dump and don’t chase” hockey. I wouldn’t say it was his style of play that was killing his numbers, but rather Hunters style of play. So I’m not really sure if taking him out of the position he has always known is such a hot idea. Perhaps it will work out, but I wouldn’t be suprised to see Ovi back on left wing by mid-season.

    I also don’t buy into the notion that Ovechkin had one move, and that has now been shut down by teams. The guy scored 50 goals in his 5th season (and still scored 38 last year, his 7th season). You mean to tell me he’s a one move wonder, and it took teams SIX years to stop it? I doubt that very much. Its far more likely the switch to defense first hockey under Boudreau two years ago, and then defense only hockey under Hunter last year simply did not gel with his style of play.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      I agree completely, didn’t realize I had just said the same damn thing.

  5. prosportswashington - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    He was 5th in the NHL in goals last year. The only numbers that have been low for him are shots, +/- and assists which I think could tell us more about the rest of the teams scoring ability than his own

  6. hockeywithdrawal - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    You get one coach that wants to implement a defensive scheme with one of the most offensively talented group of forwards in the NHL, only to replace him with a coach that wants to take one of the leagues most lethal LW’s and make him play a position he’s admittedly “lost” at.

    What is wrong with this picture? I don’t buy that shooting from the left circle was Ovi’s only “move”…any more than shooting from that spot is Stamkos’ only “move”.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 22, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Yea, what does Adam Oates know about scoring right?

      • prosportswashington - Jan 22, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        im hoping that GMGM and Ted Leionisis stay patient with Oates. Nobody remembers the fact that the caps have not had the same system for more then a season in 3 years

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1859)
  2. P. Kane (1330)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1297)
  4. M. Richards (1152)
  5. M. Giordano (1135)