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Experiment over? Ovechkin back to left wing

Jan 25, 2013, 5:53 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

Three games. Three losses. Zero goals for Alex Ovechkin.

Therefore, Ovechkin will be moving back to left wing for Washington’s game tonight in New Jersey.

Per the Star-Ledger’s Rich Chere, Ovechkin says he told head coach Adam Oates that he was more comfortable on the left side (where he’d always played) than the right (where Oates was hoping to make his captain less predictable).

It’s not clear if this is the official end of the experiment. But with three straight losses to start the season for the Capitals, perhaps both player and coach felt now was not the time for Ovechkin to be getting used to a new position.

Related: Neuvirth to start tonight for Caps

  1. pajabroni - Jan 25, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    His slump has nothing to do with his position. Dude was clearly taking steroids…he is a bum now. The cream of stars in the NHL has risen to the top: Malkin, Giroux, Crosby, Stamkos

    • husky2score - Jan 25, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      Dude seriously? Steroids? This isn’t baseball. And how could you say that three games into the season?

    • stakex - Jan 25, 2013 at 8:27 PM

      Your proof? Oh yeah thats right, you have none….

  2. joecat111 - Jan 25, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    He is an over priced decoy. he only has one move and the league has figured it out. He started his slide once he became team captain. That role does not fit him. He is no captain.

    • 19to77 - Jan 25, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      Most other NHLers seem a LOT more versatile and developed in their games. I mean, he can’t backcheck. He can’t take faceoffs. He’s not a great passer. He can’t even handle the angle changes from switching wings, and almost every winger in the NHL can do that.

      The term “hockey IQ” gets tossed around a lot to talk about guys who have an obviously deep and intelligent understanding of the game. Ovi seems like he has very, very little of that. He’s just a really big, fast shot-machine with a hard release and good vision. He’s a truly pure shooter and never bothered learning much of anything else. Like Kovalev.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:12 AM

        So he’s a one-dimensional scorer? Sounds like a plus to me.

        It’s great that you’re new to hockey but the great goal scorers rarely play defense

      • 19to77 - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:02 AM

        It’s great that you stopped watching hockey in the 1980’s, but that’s not how the game is played anymore. Crosby, Stamkos, Toews, Datsyuk, St. Loius, E. Staal, Hossa, Backstrom, Kovalchuk, Thornton + Marleau, Getzlaf + Perry, Parise and Giroux all play the penalty kill. They are or were all responsible two-way forwards at their offensive peaks.

        But hey, it’s nice to know there are some greybeards still out there who remember what the sport was like twenty years ago.

  3. sergeikremlin - Jan 25, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    It’s only been three games, and the whole team has played bad. They have their third coach in three years and they’re trying to learn Oates’ new system after a lockout and a shortened training camp. Easier assumed than accomplished.

    As far as Ovey goes, there is no doubt that he is still an elite talent in this league. Last year he scored at a “goal-every-other-game” pace, and that was without his no.1 set-up man for half of the season. Now he is learning another new system, being used differently again, and just needs to find his groove. It’s just a matter of time until he is lighting the lamp and challenging for the Rocket Richard trophy.

  4. ethanmacleod1685 - Jan 25, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Let Ovie do what he wants, you can’t tame him, but maybe it’s too late, he’s turned into a confused defensive forward who’s not very good at defence. He has been too overcoached and its screwed him up. Don’t put him on RW and don’t bench him, let him do his own thing, I guarantee you be will turn things around. And I say this purely because……… 65 goals is no fluke!

    • stakex - Jan 25, 2013 at 8:37 PM


      When you have a guy who scores 50 goals (his 4th 50+ game season in five years), 109 points, and is a +45… you don’t then turn around next season and say “Hey, we want you to completely change your game”. That was an awful mistake by the Caps organization, and its one Ovechkin has never fully recovered from. When it comes to a player like Ovi you just let him do his thing.

      As for the whole right wing thing, that was just a terrible idea. The guy had all of one week to learn a new position. That might not sound all that hard for someone whos never played hockey, but it really is. The feel is a lot different, positioning is different, and you have a different view of the ice. It can take months to switch positions and be effective, and you can’t have your best player struggling through a position change for a couple months in a 48 game season.

      • alexb64 - Jan 25, 2013 at 9:21 PM

        Sometimes it seems people think real hockey is like video game hockey where you can just plug a forward in at any position with almost no issue at all.

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