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Caps coach thinks Ovechkin has ‘a lot of room to grow’

Sep 12, 2013, 9:46 PM EDT

ovechkinstunnedgetty Getty Images

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin is the reigning Hart Trophy winner, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get better. At least, that’s the view of head coach Adam Oates, which he expressed to on Thursday.

I think he’s got a lot of room to grow,” Oates said “He’s obviously a fantastic hockey player and all it did [moving from left wing to right wing] was allow him to touch the puck more. I think if he gets used to that he’s going to want the puck more and that’s going to help his linemates.”

When asked how he’d feel about Ovechkin possibly moving back to left wing when he plays for Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Oates provided a mixed message. He said “they’d be crazy not to” keep the 27-year-old on the right side, yet he also said he’s fine with “whatever their coach thinks.”

Even if Oates believes that the thing that coach thinks is crazy.

  1. joey4id - Sep 12, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    Is Oates going succeed where Hunter and Boidreau failed? Good luck with that.

    • blomfeld - Sep 13, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      Two things here …

      1) Joey4id = quality ! :)

      2) Ovechkin = new-age, hot-dogging, lazy, parasitic, over-paid, it’s ‘all’ about me, fruit cake, pushover !

      • babykaby - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:03 AM

        1) blomfeld = dumbfeld, stupid, prejudiced, Pens fan, lives in Mom’s basement, never kissed a girl (anyone suprised?), dreams about what it must be like to be a man, and did I say stupid?

        2) joey4id = dumbfeld’s brother, they still share bunkbeds down in that basement.

  2. polegojim - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    Very Very True Statement

    Hope Ovi takes it to heart and constructively, as intended

  3. capsfan19 - Sep 13, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Blomfeld = master troller.

  4. faustandrew - Sep 13, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    Ovechkin will never again outscore his first 3-4 years in the league consistently. I don’t think his game’s heights include more assists and a couple more goals, if he kept relevant scoring numbers for his contract (80-90 points per season) and learned to play better defensively as a whole, then he would be growing into the player he is paid for.

    • jpelle82 - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      i dont think he will ever learn to play better defensively, just an honest observation based on his history and the fact that every season he is criticized for it and he still has done nothing up to this point to do anything about it. that being said, the guy is impervious to injury and is fully capable of putting up 100 pts per year which makes him worth his contract and i think any team would be willing to offer him that contract again today.

    • stakex - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      I wouldn’t be so sure that Ovechkin’s scoring won’t still rival his first few years. As he showed last season, he does still have the ability to do it and even with a rocky start would have easily been on pace to score over 50 goals in a full season.

      As for his defenses, its as good as it needs to be….. very average. There seems to be this belief that Ovechkin is one of the worst defensive players in the league, but that’s not really true. Look at all your top wingers, and you will realize that most of them are far from defensive dynamos. Comparisons to Crosby and Steve Yzerman always fall flat because those guys are centers, and as such have a LOT more defensive responsibility then Ovechkin does as a winger. Those guys have to be good on defense, where Ovechkin doesn’t… he just has to be average.

      In the end he was the league MVP last year, and the top goal scorer…. I think he’s earning is contract just fine.

      • jpelle82 - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        the yzerman – ovechkin comparison was thought up by some reporter because yzerman was a brilliant one-way player (like ovechkin is now) who changed his game and won 3 championships. ovechkin makes no such effort, and probably wont win one unless he does. not necessarily the position they play but the mindset and willingness to do what it takes to win. thats where ovechkin is falling sort in the eyes of many.

        i give you exhibit A:

      • joey4id - Sep 13, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        Let me see if I get this right. With less to do than a center men, which I agree, he still can’t get it done. Very average is very overrated unless you’re factoring puck position in your evaluation. Surely when he has the back he’s not a liability on D.

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