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Ovechkin: ‘I think everybody quit on the play’

Apr 4, 2014, 1:32 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin isn’t willing to shoulder the entire blame for the play on which his coach accused him of quitting.

“It is what it is,” said the Capitals’ captain, per CSN Washington. “He’s the head coach. I get the blame for it. In that moment I think everybody quit on the play.”

Again, here’s the play, which occurred Tuesday in a 5-0 loss to Dallas:

Ovechkin said he didn’t see Ray Whitney sneaking up behind him — “I kind of lost position.”

“We make lots of mistakes, not one mistake,” he added. “You can’t blame one mistake on our game.”

Which is true.

That said, it often seems when Ovechkin makes a key defensive mistake, it’s of the glaring, head-shaking variety.

Or, as sportswriter Bruce Dowbiggin put it, “He doesn’t just quit on a play, he retires on it.”

  1. georgejarkko - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    That’s not what a captain is supposed to say.

    • fivetozeroingame7 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Too bad he’s right

      • joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        newsflash… too bad! georgejarkko is right.

      • joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      • fivetozeroingame7 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        What a shame that was!

      • joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      • joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      • fivetozeroingame7 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        So sad!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Poor craps fans

      • radar8 - Apr 6, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        Ovechkin is the captain and as such has to set an example. Ovi took himself out of the play and didn’t even look for his man. As the captain, he should take responsibility for that bonehead move.

    • drewsylvania - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      Exactly. At best he’s trying to get traded. But he’s not exactly endearing himself to any prospective team.

    • tmoore4075 - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      Exactly. Even if it’s true (it was his man btw), you still own it yourself and leave your teammates out of it. You say that behind closed doors to your teammates, not to the press.

      • joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        Ovi is the dumbest captain with respect to quotes. He has said many stupid things in his career.

        Said he suspected an NHL conspiracy during the playoff vs the NYR last year

        Said he may stay in KHL in 2012

        Called the NHL owners clowns via twitter, and there are more….

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        Really, tmoore? Try telling that to Oates. He’s the one who was quoted by the press saying that Ovie quit on the play. Why didn’t Oates keep that behind closed doors?? Some coach, huh?

        Reporters are always looking for a juicy quote. They shove a microphone in Ovie’s face and ask the most incendiary questions in an attempt to get a rise out of him. His year has sucked. He knows that. Hell, everybody knows that. He’s been hounded all year by reporters – all in search of asking him to explain his lousy year, maybe trying to make him lose his temper so that the reporter has his quote and scoop. So far, Ovie’s maintained. Then, I’m sure they asked for his reaction to Oates’ remark.

        After being asked stupid and humiliating questions all season, I’m not sure how much one man can take. What’s he supposed to do? Bow in contrition? That he’s maintained his composure this long amazes me.

    • drewsylvania - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Oates should have stripped him of the captaincy five minutes after these remarks.

  2. nj666 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Wow you would have thought they blew the whistle the way he was skating back to his zone.

  3. tved12 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    I can’t stand players like this, all the talent in the world but no effort. What a waste. Imagine what he could be if he truly applied himself at all times.

    • lowenni - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      He could score 70 goals instead of 50. Crazy that despite his nights or shifts off, he still scores so much. What a shot. When he does bring it though, he really brings it, so it’s not fair to completely accuse him of a lack of effort. He definitely has a lot of passion, but doesn’t always apply it.

  4. bgrillz - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Ovi, I think needs a change of scenery, and to go somewhere, where he is not the guy. He just doesn’t have it. If you score 50 goals in a season, and you’re a minus 31, you are sorely lacking in your 5 on 5 play. That just can’t happen, especially when you are being considered among the leagues best.

    • bgrillz - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      My bad, -36. half his points have come on the Power Play. So what exactly is he doing 5 on 5?

      • hockey412 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        Watching oh, around 86 goals go in for the other team (probably from the red line)…mind boggling.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        This seems to be the favorite past time – beating up on Ovie. Not that it isn’t deserved. He’s having a horrendous year, as is the entire Caps’ team.

        In an attempt at fairness, though, can we look at his career +/-?

        2005 – 2006 +2
        2006 – 2007 -19
        2007 – 2008 +28
        2008 – 2009 +8
        2009 – 2010 +45
        2010 – 2011 +24
        2011 – 2012 -8
        2012 – 2013 +2

        This 2013 – 2014 season is his worst. By far. It’s hard for me to believe, though, that it’s entirely and solely on him.

      • joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        Ovi is a fraud. Disguised as “The Franchise Player” carrying a contract of $10 mil p/year until 2021. That is the travesty this is finally being revealed. He is the Bernie Madoff of hockey. He is “Ovi Madoff”.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        seriously joey. what’s your beef? we get that you think he’s a horrible player, but why are you pleading, PLEADING your case on every story about OV? it doesn’t make sense for any single person to talk this much trash about a player. you act like he personally assaulted you or something. give it a rest…

      • blomfeld - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:58 PM

        YOU TELL ‘EM COMRADE JOEY !!! :)

        Ovechkin = Parasitism sprinkled with a dash of Madoffism !!!!!!!!!!!!

      • blomfeld - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:03 PM

        FU Ibidinijad … seriously !

  5. ironmd778 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    Overrated selfish fraud. Wouldn’t take him on my team for free.

    • thegreatmorpheos - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Right, of course you wouldn’t.

      And your team is……………….? The Westcheshire Cats?

  6. imleftcoast - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    I agree with you, Jason, that Oates needs to explain why Ovi isn’t playing with Backstrom to score at even strength. That’s a chunk of the minus.

    Not picking up Whitney is a play that anyone could miss. To me, that faceoff against Nashville is a lack of character. Ovi is faking it. He is not interested in getting out to the point to block that, but he wants to fool people into thinking he didn’t make it in time. That’s soccer – not hockey.

  7. dipthatchip - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    is it really that hard to swallow your pride and say something as generic as ‘I’ll take the blame, I need to be better. We all need to be better moving forward’

    Watching this team in complete free fall is painful.

    • govtminion - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      That’s what struck me about this too. If this was another big-name player around the NHL- Crosby, Bergeron, Toews, hell even MacKinnon- who made a play like that, and got called out by the coach, you’d expect the response to be something like “he’s right, that was a bad play, I need to be better.” That Ovechkin’s response is “meh” in effect is almost as surprising as the play itself was.

    • jaguar0413 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      This has become an annual rite of passage in DC. Blame Ovechkin for the shortcomings of the coaching staff and roster construction. I think he’s just sick of dealing with it. He tried to play it like you said two years ago and it just got worse. It’s clear to me that this comment combined with others from Karl Alzner and Troy Brouwer show me that Oates is losing his locker room. The players don’t understand his criticisms and decisions with the roster and they realize that his system will never work.

      • stixzidinia - Apr 5, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        Actually, blaming the coach and never holding Ovie accountable has become the rite of passage. How many coaches have they burned through trying to keep Ovie happy? Next year it’ll be a different coach but the same story. As always.

  8. stixzidinia - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    He “lost position”? No, he got burned because he flat out wasn’t skating. His teammates at least hustled back into the defensive zone. Not a great play by his teammates, but not nearly on the same level as Ovie’s non-effort. Next season it’ll be a new coach, but the same story. It always is. How many coaches are they going to burn through before they figure it out? I’m guessing at least one or two more.

  9. fivetozeroingame7 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    what a beautiful sight.

  10. terrier92 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Had he been playing in a beer league he would have taken grief on the bench. That was glaring lack of effort and awareness. He is a real enigma.

    • patthehockeyfan - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

      ~~ spoken by Winston Churchill in a radio address in October 1939

      and maybe by Adam Oates

      • blomfeld - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        “all you need to do is kick in the front door and the entire rotten edifice will crumble” …

  11. jb8588 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    LOL. Just further proof that this clown has no business being captain. Would love to see this happen to Scott Stevens/Steve Yzerman/Mark Messier/Joe Sakic/Jonathan Toews/Zdeno Chara type captains (aka: true captain material) and for them to take the blame off them. In other words, it wouldn’t happen because they would own up to doing something like Ovi was doing. He literally skates faster in-between whistles than he did on this play in question.

  12. jpelle82 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    once again, making excuses like a petulant child. refusing to take ownership and aknowledge his own responsibility. captain blameless needs impeached for the sake of all. this little comment ” “He’s the head coach” ….yeah that tells me he wont be the head coach for long if ovechkin has his way again.

  13. sjsharks66 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    I’ll say it again. They really need to trade him.

  14. joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    hahahaha! LMAO! Sure! Throw your teammates under the bus. “Me Ovi. Me can’t take blame for nothing.” If this doesn’t tell you that this guy is no leader, then you are clearly ignorant.

    • thegreatmorpheos - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      You would certainly recognize ignorant, fool!!

      • joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        Indeed! And I just recognized another one…. Thank you morpheos You have just been added to the list. 😉

      • blomfeld - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:06 PM

        FU Morpheos … seriously !

      • joey4id - Apr 5, 2014 at 9:44 AM

        Yeah! FU Morpheous … seriously !

  15. mattypbillsmafia - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    HAHA the best is the commentary for the Dallas goal “OV picking up speed to get his guy” ahahahahahahahahah, what??

  16. joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Poor guy!

    Caps preaching proper positioning with Ovechkin

    • ibieiniid - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      this makes your 9th comment, and your second thread-starting comment. you seriously need to get a life or do your job… whichever applies to where you are right now.

      • joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        You need to mind you pucking business and find something else to do with your pathetic life than to worry about my life. Moron… you’re actually counting comments…… idiot. Move the puck on.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        ….that’s precisely what I’m telling YOU to do.

      • joey4id - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:34 PM

        :-) You’re telling me not do what you’re doing. Brilliant! Keep auditing my comments. Sounds very exciting.

      • shortsxit34 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        The thought of Joey trashing you for counting comments, while he goes back to posts from years ago to quote himself in an attempt to prove how smart he is, is awesome.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:48 AM

        funny thing is, I don’t even have to count them. just ctrl+f, type joey, it tells me how many are on the page. he just quoted himself again, btw. on the rinaldo hit follow-up post.

      • blomfeld - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        yeah ? … and you need to start lining up against the nearest wall !

      • c9castine - Apr 5, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        dont bother man. you get into an argument with him about nothing before you know it your IQ lowered 50 pts, you threw your oreo at the dresser in utter frustration, thinking “why, why god why do you make people so stupid”. im not even convinced he is of working age.

        ovechkin is a lot of things, bad leader, 1.5 zone hockey player. says the wrong things at the wrong time.

        he doesnt deserve to be burned at the stake though. as i have said before a lot of this situation is on management and coaching. lets say they share the issue equally. unfortunately though, reporters cast their bait, and ovie nibbles every time.

      • c9castine - Apr 5, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        also, he seems to be one of the few people in here that calls people names like moron and tells them they have a pathetic life. one of the other reasons i figure he cant be older than 16. still using the name joey isnt helping out his maturity cause either.

      • joey4id - Apr 5, 2014 at 9:49 AM

        Yeah! FU Ibidinijad … seriously ! Your the same idiot who disregards great hockey minds like Bowman and Clarke because you can’t admit your ignorance. Seriously Ibidinijad … FU moron.

  17. xdj511 - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Great response. “Well, everyone else quit on the play, too.”

    As long as everybody else was doing it, it’s okay, right?

  18. vbcaps - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Blow it up

  19. flyerspsu - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    what a great captain

  20. schneider99 - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    Rangers fan here, I respect the hell out of Ovi for what he does and think he’s a great player, but feel that he has to play better defensively. The fact that he has 48 goals and is a -36 is preposterous. Just my opinion.

    • jaguar0413 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      The -36 is indicative of how bad this team is, not Ovi’s defense. 24 of the minus plays came with Connor Carrick on the ice. He’s not an NHL defensemen and yet he played most of the season with this team. Also, his linemates have a combined 4% shot average on the season meaning that he’s getting absolutely no help in the offensive zone to turn those minuses around. He can’t do it all by himself and he isn’t the reason this team sucks. Take him and his 48 goals off of the roster and this team could be the worst in hockey.

      • c9castine - Apr 5, 2014 at 12:17 AM

        come on dude. conner carrick plays 15 minutes a night. and um, apprently he is an NHL defenseman even if you dont think hes any good.

        agree with you on the linemates…has not been playing with the right line most of the season. but you cant have one without the other. ovechkins number sucks because of the team and the teams number sucks because of all individuals.

        the catch here is that he has 26 goals more than the next guy on his team yet his +/- number is 9 worse than anybody else. their best forwards have the worst defensive numbers. Grabo and Ward are in the positive they play 16 minutes a night as forwards.

        So, dont sit here and try to tell everybody that -36 is purely a team stat. it is not solely on the individual but he has taken it way lower than any of his teammates.

      • stixzidinia - Apr 5, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        Shooting % has absolutely nothing to do with Ovie not skating. The – he earned on this Dallas goal had nothing to do with shooting %. It had everything to do with not even trying. Same with the “controller disconnected” goal against the Rangers. He does that a lot.

  21. slaugin - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    WOW. As a captain he should be leading by example not using the excuse “Everyone else did it too”. He sounds like a 10 year old that is being scolded by his parents

  22. jaguar0413 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    This entire article and line of conversation is so unbelievably dumb. Why exactly is Ovechkin supposed to cover Ray Whitney in that situation? With both D-men and Beagle (the Center) playing in the zone, Ovi’s responsibility is to cover the point defenseman. Is he supposed to magically know that Jay Beagle will leave the middle of the ice for no reason? I thought the whole reason Beagle was playing on Ovi’s line was to provide defensive support. Didn’t work out too well on this play. Then he and Orlov get beat by one player which is what leads to the goal. Why doesn’t Oates criticize them too?

    If you want to pick on Ovi’s defense, there are other plays that show more. This one is a failure by 5 guys on the ice (as Ovi points out) as was Dallas’ second goal. The story should be that Oates and Calle Johansson have absolutely no idea how to coach. Stop throwing your players under the bus and assume control of the team.

    Remember, this is the same coach that essentially called Brooks Laich soft and said he was faking his injury less than one week before Laich underwent season ending surgery. He is a moron who should be fired immediately after the season.

    • patthehockeyfan - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      Jaguar0413 – what the hell are you doing here? I mean, your comments were not emotional, you made your points clearly, and you pointed the finger in the right direction – towards coaching, or, in this case, the lack thereof.

      Are you sure you’re in the right place? Some of the commenters here act as if they are personally paying Ovie $10 million, and that he owes each and every one of them a personal apology. If Ovie were contrite and bowed to them, they’d complain that he didn’t bow low enough.

      I don’t get it. I don’t know if it’s because he’s Russian, or what. I don’t think I’ve read such vitriol about one human being.

      • jaguar0413 - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        Haha. Well if it helps, I’ve probably donated some of the money that pays his salary (in the form of season tickets). I’ve been rooting for this sad sack franchise since before Ovi arrived. People seem to forget that Ovechkin didn’t invent the early playoff exits of Capitals lore. I have been beaten down by the systematic dismantling of the roster since they lost to the Canadiens in 2010. Why did they have to change and become this boring monstrosity?

        I actually like Ovechkin both personally and as a player and can live with his limitations in both regards. I would never trade him and I do still believe that they can construct a roster around him that can contend for a Stanley Cup.

        There are only two words that will turn me into an emotional, personally affronted fan: ESA TIKKANEN. I demand a personal apology from him and nobody else. Haha.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        Can I ask your opinion of Evgeny Kuznetsov? I was lucky enough to be at the Caps – Canucks game when he got 3 assists, and the Caps – Kings game when he got his first NHL goal. I like this guy a lot, and, given the right circumstances, I think he could eventually eclipse Ovie. What do you think about him?

      • jaguar0413 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:01 PM

        I think his future is at Center. He may finally be the long awaited answer at second line center that McPhee has been searching for his entire tenure as Caps GM.

        Long term, I think he projects as more of a playmaker than sniper, but I wouldn’t undersell his ability to put it in the net depending upon who plays with him. I’ve been really impressed with his instincts and defensive positioning on the smaller ice. There were worries coming out of Russia that he wouldn’t be up to playing NHL level defense. The jury is still out long term but so far I’ve been impressed.

        As a personality, I think he is much more outgoing and personable than, say, Semin was. I think he will transition to North American lifestyle pretty easily. He had a very tough upbringing (his brother was murdered and his parents were extremely poor) so I think that he is more mature than the average 21 year old as evidenced by the fact that he’s been married for two years already.

        I am hopeful that he can develop into a superstar, but it is always so tough in the NHL to rise to that level.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        Thanks, Jaguar. Kuznetsov impressed me as I watched and listened to his first press conference. He’s pretty personable, and he’s confident, not cocky. And, yes, you’re right – more mature. I had no idea as to his upbringing.

        I don’t see many Caps’ games in person, and listening to Craig Laughlin makes me want to shove an ice pick in my ear. With the TV sound muted, though, I do like what I see in Kuznetsov.

        Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he has a long and successful career.

        Thanks again!

  23. capspats - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    Funny how people say ovi shouldn’t be captain. I agree he isn’t the best leader, but who else on the team is better?

    • flyerspsu - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:35 PM

      captain isnt about being the best player, its a combination of talent, character and leadership, Ovi has a ton of the 1st but very little of the next 2

      • jaguar0413 - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:51 PM

        Who would you suggest they pick?

  24. sixchr - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    The Carmelo Anthony of the NHL. This guy has zero compete level and is a loser. He’ll never win anything.

  25. bilbono - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Capitals have had problems for years (maybe excluding the Prez trophy season), but they managed to keep it hidden being in the underachieving Southeast division. It’s easy to make the playoffs year after year when the rest of the SE are perennial cellar dwellers. Now they find themselves in a tougher division. Not Ovechkin’s fault.

  26. bluesdroogie - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    I don’t like ovechkin, I think he is too flashy and too self absorbed. this year cannot be solely on him. he has not backchecked well and he is not a defensive player this year at all but to lay blame on him and only him is not quite right. hockey is a team sport. he has missed his positioning and not taken his player which has resulted directly in goals scored against but there are 4 other caps on the ice that can play too. AGAIN NOT a Caps fan or Ovechkin fan.

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