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Ovechkin on difference between this year and last: ‘Trust’

Apr 7, 2013, 10:50 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin couldn’t be much hotter right now. Fresh off Saturday’s hat trick, Ovechkin had a stunning 13 goals in his last 11 games going into Sunday’s game against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Stamkos had a two goal edge on Ovechkin going into this contest. However, Stamkos was silenced by Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth while Ovechkin netted the Capitals’ first goal of the game.

You can see Ovechkin’s 24th goal of the season below:

Ovechkin then tied Stamkos in the Rocket Richard Trophy race with an empty netter that finalized Washington’s 4-2 victory.

It was Ovechkin’s first empty net goal of the season, which ties him with Stamkos in that regard.

Since the NHL started awarding the Rocket Richard Trophy in 1998–99, no player has ever won it three times. However, Ovechkin and Stamkos have both won the award twice.

The 27-year-old Capitals captain has effectively bounced back from two “off” years, where he was still one of the league’s better scorers, but didn’t live up to the high standards he’s held to.

Ovechkin credited coach Adam Oates for his resurgence.

“It’s trust. That’s what I don’t have last year,” Ovechkin said, according to the Washington Post’s Katie Carrera. “When you have that kind of feelings you just want to go out there, play for your team for your coach and do your best.”

Oates demonstrated that trust by allowing Ovechkin to play late into a close game.

Ovechkin’s rise has also helped the Washington Capitals overcome their early season struggles. With Sunday’s win they now have a two point lead over the Winnipeg Jets in the Southeast Division race.

  1. govtminion - Apr 7, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    I’ve said a lot of disparaging things about Ovechkin the past couple of years- and deservedly so. That he’s playing the way he is now… amazing. Whatever the reason may be, I’m honestly impressed with the difference between the player we saw in early February compared to the one we see now. Keep it up!

    …Just makes me wonder where this was the past two and a half years.

    • ravenscaps48 - Apr 7, 2013 at 11:39 PM

      Because they tried getting him to play defense

      • ravenscaps48 - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:19 AM

        Ovechkin is an Offensive player. Bruce panicked and switched systems. Dale came in and completed the transition from Offense to Defense, and that set Ovie back. Oates being the gifted offensive player knew how to fix it, and he has gotten him back to his “Russian Machine” form. Go Caps. HUGE game at Bell Centre on Tuesday!

      • jpelle82 - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        pretty much. ovechkin got his way in the end. seems like he is back on the left wing too for 90% of the time too. oates’ pp is sick and he has the trigger man for it in ovechkin. look at oates pp history with nj and how their struggling now without him, not to mention he was a pp wizard in his playing days. ovechkin and stamkos play the same spot on the pp and stamkos has been killing it for the past couple years from the top of the circle with the onetimer. goalies know its coming, just cant stop it….same thing with ovechkin now. he’s got his bread and butter back and the confidence that comes with it. was surprised he got his only EN goal last night by the way, he was usually good for 10 a season in his hay day.

      • badintent - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        iT’s his new girlfriend. She makes him happy and spoon feeds him Beluga Caviar, then some grapes.Duh ! Winning ! pass the Tiger Blood.

      • ravenscaps48 - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM


        He’s been on the RW for 90% of the time. I was at the game last night and all but probably three rushes had him sprinting up the RW boards. Yes, he plays the LW on PP, but that’s because he’s a Righty and it’s easier to get the one-timers off.

  2. caps4cup - Apr 7, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    Go capitals!!! Keep playing strong OV!!!!

  3. panicatthedistrict - Apr 7, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    Alex Ovechkin is back, and Caps fans/fans of the game rejoice.

  4. martysbetter - Apr 7, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Glad to see Adam Oates having success in Washington, much deserved.

  5. blackfoot11 - Apr 7, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Ovi was awesome once again. Caps are rolling. Lets keep the points train moving. Go Caps!

  6. dwightbuttz - Apr 7, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Not too shabby for a dude thats “washed up”. So happy to see my Caps getting hot at just the right time

  7. ludacrish05 - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Govt, it wasn’t 2 1/2 years… It was the end of one and last year due to Bruce and Dale changing to a defensive minded system… You think ovi was going to produce when Dale sat him out most of the game and put out the grinders? That goes for semin too, Dale didnt use any offense player in his system.

    • hockeydon10 - Apr 8, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      Don’t forget the third system he played under during that time. His KHL team probably let him just play a wide-open game. Anyway, that’s a lot of coaches and a lot of systems in a very short time.

  8. dkphilly1122 - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    I called this during the strike. I said OV was gonna have a bounce back year and get back to the old OV under Oates. I am a diehard Flyers fan, but love the old and current OV. Everybody talks about Crosby, while he is obviously one of the best players in the world, no one talked about OV. Glad he is having a great year. He’s
    nasty when his game is on.

  9. sampulls - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    Ovi doesn’t realize that his comments are a poor reflection on him. Trust is a two way street. Check your ego next time dude.

    • babykaby - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:56 AM

      Sampulls, When you have one of the best players in the world, and you are paying him an arm and a leg to play, you can’t take his hockey stick away from him. That is exactly what Hunter and Bruce (at the end of his time in Washington) did. Ovechkin has said Hunter barely even spoke with him. How can a coach not interact with his star player? Ovi trusted his coaches to help enhance his play, not totally destroy it. Hunter singlehandedly destroyed the Caps offense last season and all Caps fans and Caps players know it. Ovi’s comments did not reflect poorly on him, because what he said was the absolute truth.

  10. operwapitsai - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    thanks Dadoun for giving some credit to Ovi for once. he took so much s*** when he was in his “slump” and now that he is literally on fire, he is not getting enough respect for it. he is really fun to watch

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Apr 8, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      “Literally”? I do not think it means what you think it means.

  11. hockeyflow33 - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    Remember when he was a slouch, waste of a captaincy and would never score again?

  12. 19to77 - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    I was wondering when this article was finally going to drop. He’s tied for the League lead in goals. I guess now’s as good a time as any. Much as I hate to admit it, Ovi’s back, and pretty much as terrifying as ever. Dunno where the hell he went for two years, but he’s every bit as lethal as he used to be right now.

  13. capsfan19 - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    Ahh what to say… Neuvy had a real good night, on the other end bishop had a handful of insane highlight saves!
    But in the end what we take away is ovi is tied for most in the league. I know ive been extremely critical on the captain but now i will eat my words!! And have no problem with that.
    Ovi feels comfortable to run amock on the ice and do his thing. Its nice to see.
    His deflection goal was good because it shows he’s becoming a more dynamic player than he has been the past couple of years. He’s just all over the place!
    Im not going to say the playoff are locked up (waaayyy to cynical with this team) but i like to think that our chances hve gone way up. Lets go caps!

  14. watermelon1 - Apr 8, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    Sorry, but the difference isn’t ovechkin playing differently.

    The other Caps just finally started stepping up their play, which helps ovechkin immensely!

    They still need to work on eating guys out from in front of holtby… But the offense is playing so much better which is helping Ovie.

    He’s always played hard though. Sure he would have periods of discouragement… But the way the team was playing, who wouldn’t?

  15. prosportswashington - Apr 8, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    Its not even just the scoring, he is doing all of the little things that you would expect a man wearing the “C” to do

  16. bricktop02 - Apr 8, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    What does Mike Milbury have to say now?

    • discountdoublecheck - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      Something still, no doubt. He’s never given Ovechkin any credit regardless of how well he’s playing. But he’s always first in line to bash him.

    • hockeydon10 - Apr 8, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      Milbury will claim that his criticism is what turned Ovechkin’s season around.

      He almost never gives any praise to a non-North American player. He’s not going to change because Ovechkin is playing Hart Trophy worthy hockey.

  17. Bart Breen - Apr 8, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Who cares what Milbury says? He’s a leech on the game of hockey sucking the blood out of the people who play the game night after night. He’s one cheap suit away from being Don Cherry’s protege.

    • bethgoesglobal - Apr 9, 2013 at 5:56 AM

      Milbury could Never pull off a Cherry suit! :)

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