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Ovechkin doesn’t know what to say about Caps’ woes

Jan 19, 2014, 11:23 PM EDT

alexovechkingreenap AP

Alex Ovechkin didn’t really make any excuses after the Washington Capitals’ fifth consecutive loss, but he didn’t just fill in the usual sports cliche blanks to the Washington Post’s Katie Carrera.

“What am I going to say? ‘Wake up everybody’ Or something like that?,” Ovechkin said. “We say too much, go out there and do it.”

It’s easy to see why Ovechkin, 28, is a little exasperated. He scored his league-leading 35th goal on Sunday, but it was the only time Washington managed to score against the New York Rangers tonight.

Some will blame Ovechkin for the Capitals’ struggles even as he continues to produce, but Adam Oates would probably agree that he’d prefer that his team follows his consistent example.

He hasn’t just been scoring, he’s creating a ton of offense, with a league-leading 260 shots on goal in 47 games played. The Capitals have plenty of questions to answer, but getting Ovechkin to be engaged hasn’t been an issue.

They might want to coach him on blurting out the usual “100 percent” and “one day at a time” platitudes, though.

  1. lowenni - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    Really disappointing. The Caps never come out strong and they rarely play a full-60 minutes. When they do, they can at least stick with some of the better teams in the league (like the recent Sharks and Pens games), but they don’t seem to understand how to do that. I think Oates is too soft on them and needs to whip them into shape, I think they need a veteran leader who knows what it takes to win, and I think Oates needs to properly manage his lineup. I’d like my lines like this:


    I would’ve previously had Erat in that third line center spot, but with tonight’s horrible game and his piss poor attitude, I want nothing to do with him.

    • stakex - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      You have Fehr on two lines… so much for proper management.

      I also wouldn’t say the Caps didn’t come out strong tonight. They actually carried the play for a large part of the first period. The Rangers simply capitalized on the one error the Caps made, and Grubauer allowed a couple soft goals which put the Caps in a hole.

    • lowenni - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:09 AM


  2. fivetozeroingame7 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    Completely embarassing.

  3. stakex - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    Its simple…. the Caps just don’t have a very good roster. The idea that if Ovechkin was a better Captain they would be dominant is one I hear a lot, and its laughable. Sure, inspiration can help, but Ovechkin can’t will players to have more talent than they already do no matter how good/bad his leadership ability. With shaky goaltending, weak defense, and a lack of secondary scoring the Caps are nothing but a middle of the pack team… and their lack of success of late shouldn’t be a surprise.

    Oh, and lets not forget that multiple players on their roster have publicly demanded a trade… I don’t see that helping things in the moral department.

    • hockey412 - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      Not sure if I agree. Take a look at the plus/minus on the Caps. Ovechkin is leading the way as far as NOT playing a defensive game, but the entire starting lines suck. It doesn’t matter if you are on the ice for 49 goals for, and contributed 35 of them. It matters that the other team scored 65 when you were on the ice. If the starters don’t start playing team defense, they’re not going to win. It’s not someone else’s job, it’s everyone’s job. There’s a lot of talent on that team, they just don’t get it.

      I realize that plus/minus is a skewed stat. I’m not using it as my proof, only evidence of what’s wrong there. I honestly thought Dale Hunter was CRAZY for trying to implement a defensive system there, but I think I might understand why he was doing it now. Go figure???

  4. johndoe701 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:53 AM

    All Ovechkin needs to say is “we’re the Capitals”. That will explain all their woes.

  5. kmboa90 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    How does George McPhee still have a job?

  6. jrocknstuff - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    Over the course of the season the Caps rarely do come out strong. They are one of the weaker first period teams in the league, getting outscored 45-34. Only Nashville, Ottawa and Edmonton have allowed more, but all 3 of this club’s have scored more than us in the first. So we’re putting ourselves in an early hole fairly often.

  7. fivetozeroingame7 - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    Craps fans should just give up

  8. joey4id - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Nashvile Coach Barry Trotz on Captains

    “To me, a captain is accountable; he speaks for the betterment of the group; he gets the coach’s message into the lockeroom; and he has caring attitude while getting and keeping everyone in line…. [He] embodies what the Nashville Predators are all about on and off the ice-hard work and professionalism.”

    Source: “A “C” of Responsibility,” by Shawn P. Roarke, Impact! January 2003

    Enough said!

  9. montrealbbr - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Their blueline sucks and the team is top heavy. Ovi is great but not great enough to carry the team by himself.

    • joey4id - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      No one player can carry the team by himself. He is the face of the franchise, and the ultimate leader of that locker room. He is also the reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner. He has to be able to “get the coach’s message into the locker room”.

      “What am I going to say? ‘Wake up everybody’ Or something like that?,” Ovechkin said. “We say too much, go out there and do it.”

      You don’t get paid 9.5mil just to score goals.

    • jpelle82 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      there’s a steep drop off defensively after alzner/carlson. i think they put too much stock in green years ago and are paying for it now. erskine is erskine. orlov could be decent in years to come but he’s still not the stay at home guy they will need. i think hillen being hurt 2 years in a row killed them. when schmidt is ready he will be good, carrick has been unimpressive in my opinion. i dont think mcphee has drafted that well in the past couple years, he shouldve been drafting high on the blueline. he took guys like wilson and forsberg over cici, maatta in 2012 (both start and play well). no picks in the top rounds in 2011, virtually no defensemen drafted in 2010, got orlov in 2009 but that was it. 2007 and 2008 was the last time they really made an effort to draft for the blueline and they got 2 good ones in the 1st round in carlson and alzner…its catching up with them…big time.

  10. muckleflugga - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM


    platitudes come cheap fourth hand…i too use barry trotz quotes…

    when defining unquenchable thirst for mediocrity…from the quintessential corporate bootlick who consistently buries his players in public forums…leadership conveyed into the perennial nothingness of hockey…in nashville

    check results…they speak volumes…barry trotz…the ultimate motivator…barry knows captains…barry knows leadership…lmao

    quote scotty bowman…look what his captains have done

    yessireeee, they’ve won a cup or two

    • joey4id - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:19 PM


      Scotty Bowman

      “Good captains have to have a lot of patience. They have to be able to make decisions based on what’s best for the team, not necessarily what’s best for themselves. And they have to be good leaders who will work hard everyday in practice. That is so important, to have someone who is going to lead by example. Beyond that, I always look for someone I can have a relationship with. Your captain is your go-between with the players, and you have to have an open line of communication with that person to be an effective coach. I was very fortunate that I have had some outstanding captains to work with over the years; Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux, and Serge Savard just to name a few. Highly respected captains like that don’t come around very often, that’s for sure. Putting the C on natural leaders like that is what sets average teams apart from great ones.”

      Source: “Wearing the “C”” Leadership Secrets from Hockey’s Greatest Captains”, by Ross Bernstein

  11. jdvalk - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Can we bring up the talent level and coaching acumen that surrounded Savard, Stevie Y, and Mario and then contrast it with what’s surrounded Ovie? Night and day.

    • joey4id - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      I agree with you, but, leaders don’t respond like he does when things go bad. A leader doesn’t publicly throw the whole team under the bus.

      “What am I going to say? ‘Wake up everybody’ Or something like that?,” Ovechkin said. “We say too much, go out there and do it.”

  12. cspsrbums - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    These are grown men and professional hockey players. You shouldn’t need 1 guy with a C on his shirt to have to get you motivated to play correct. That is what the bench and paychecks do. You all over rate the power of the C

    • joey4id - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:51 PM


      “In hockey, the guys who wear the letters have on ice responsibilities and duties. That’s just a tiny piece of what a captain really does, though. Perhaps most importantly, it is he who must serve as the liaison between the players and management. The coaches will devise a game plan and then lean on the captain to make sure it gets executed properly. They can reach to the players all they want to on the ice about X’s and O’s, but there will be no buy-in until the cap’ sells it to the boys in the dressing room. The players hear the coaches, but they don’t necessarily always listen to the coaches-big difference.”

      Source: “Wearing the “C”” Leadership Secrets from Hockey’s Greatest Captains”, by Ross Bernstein

      “What am I going to say? ‘Wake up everybody’ Or something like that?,” Ovechkin said. “We say too much, go out there and do it.”

  13. jdvalk - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    Ovie has had to respond like a leader in sound bites year in and year out. The guy has spoken thousands of captain-speak beau mots in that time and dared to intimate that his words weren’t a substitution for players raising their game — which is just as likely to prove motivational — and that’s some proof that he’s no leader?

    Back to the list cited for captains with such great leadership and patience, St. Mario could whine with the best of them. A small example was when he indicated he wanted star treatment to extend further into the penalty box. “Boston’s Harry Sinden called Lemieux’s behavior “intolerable,” and added, “Cam Neely is out for the year (with a knee injury) and you don’t hear him whining.””

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