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Trotz wants ‘less glide’ in Ovechkin’s game

Jun 28, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT

Washington Capitals v Nashville Predators Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA — Barry Trotz can appreciate some of what Alex Ovechkin has to endure as the face of the Washington Capitals.

“I think he’s like a coach sometimes,” the Caps’ new bench boss said Saturday. “When they win, he gets a little bit too much credit, and when they lose, he gets too much blame. … My job is to deflect some of that and have his back when it’s not his fault.”

That said, Trotz believes Ovechkin has to “grow his game if we’re going to win a championship.” And while that goes for everyone on the team — he was by no means trying to single out his captain — he did share one specific critique with reporters.

“Alex has got a bit too much glide in his game,” said Trotz. “When you’re standing still you’re really easy to cover.”

Instead of gliding, Trotz wants Ovechkin skating back hard when he doesn’t have the puck. Not so much to help out in the defensive end, but so when the Caps regain possession, Ovechkin is in a better position to receive the puck and do something productive, with speed.

“Then you have some options,” said Trotz. “I think if he gets a little less glide in his game that he’ll be as dynamic and hard to handle as he ever was.”

Related: What does ‘good defense’ mean to Barry Trotz?


  1. thesportsjudge - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    This should get interesting!

    • patthehockeyfan - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:02 PM


      The quote, “My job is to deflect some of that and have his back when it’s not his fault,” is what has me wondering how Trotz will react when a loss is Ovi’s fault.

      Jimi Hendrix: “Tire tracks all across your back.” Watch out for that bus, Ovi!

      • Clare Austin - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:49 PM

        Trotz once said that Mattias Ekholm needed to get a dog if he was scared of playing in the NHL. So yeah, there’ll be some quotes if he feels it’s warranted.

      • blomfeld - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:44 AM


    • barkar942 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      It would be so much more fun if it were Torts and not Trotz!

  2. capsnbohs23 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    gotta get my popcorn ready for the brilliant comments we are about to see on this article

  3. storminator16 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Trotz won’t last a season as the coach. Book it.

    • rbbbaron - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      and not because Trotz isn’t a good coach

    • abouv1 - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      Ovi and the Capitals will thrive under the Trotz. Book it.

      • rbbbaron - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        Ovi signs with the KHL before he ever learns to play the full 200ft. Book it.

  4. lowenni - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Everybody is making such a big deal out of this. Ovechkin didn’t complain when Oates switched him to RW, he put up with it when he would be benched for most of the game in the playoffs with Hunter, and now he’ll respect Trotz. The media is making such a big deal out of some feud that’s supposedly going to happen–Ovechkin wants to win. If Trotz can’t convince Ovi of that then there won’t be a feud, Ovi just will not progress, although he’ll still score 50. Ovi will listen to Trotz and do what it takes to help the team win, he’s just been given too much freedom his whole career and never was TAUGHT how to play both ways. Boudreau and Oates let him do his thing, and Hunter didn’t try to teach him defense he just benched him if he didn’t. Ovi will try his best, he’s a respectful guy. He doesn’t have to win the Selke he just needs to skate a little bit harder, and with better conditioning and coaching, both of which Trotz will provide, Ovechkin will become a better player. I’m sure of it.

    • 19to77 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:31 PM

      Horsesh-t he “put up with it” with Hunter. He was the reason Hunter got fired. And he and Oates publically sniped each other several times last year – not specifically for the RW conversion, but for some bad games. Ovechkin is a lot less of a humble, amiable player than you’re trying to make him out to be. If he were that willing to learn, the revolving door of coaches would have stopped with Oates.

      • lowenni - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:48 PM
        “You have to suck it up and use time what Dale is giving to me,” Ovi said Monday night in the visitors’ locker room at Madison Square Garden. “It’s most important thing right now, guys, just win the series and win the game. If you gonna talk about my game time and all that kind of stuff, it’s not a season — it’s the playoffs. How I said before, you have to suck it up and play for team.”
        He added, “Sometimes you just have to put eye in your butt and, you know, play for everybody.”

        Hunter was not fired, he left for family reasons and to return to coaching the London Knights. Management may have not wanted him back because of the stir he created with Ovi, but Ovi did not get him fired, besides the fact that he was misused by him and we all knew that. Every player on the Caps sniped at Oates at one point because he was an idiot. I’m not saying Ovi is the most humble guy, but he has respect and most importantly wants to win, evidenced in the quote above. He will adjust or at least try his best to help his team win.

    • storminator16 - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      Everyone is making a big deal because Trotz is making his excuses now. Why are we hearing about this? Why not just tell his players what he wants without semi-embarrassing them (i.e., covering his ass)?

      • bmoreredfury311 - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        Because the media keeps asking the question!

      • storminator16 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        So, the coach (who, by all records, “is a grown ass man”) has to answer the question like he did?

  5. vbcaps - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Good. Hold OV accountable for his play. t

    I think Alex needs someone to be authoritative and hold him responsible to play a full 60 minute game on both sides of the red line

    • barkar942 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      …..and then he truly would be one of the best players in the game, not just shooter and scorer in the game.

  6. 13datsyuk13 - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Hunter didn’t get fired he didn’t want to go back.

  7. pj608 - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    We have found frankinstiens handler… Washington is going to be great as long as they listen and play smarter. Trotz hit the nail on the head there and this is just the beginning.

  8. phtjoey - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Finally! Someone from within the Caps’ organization is calling out Ovi. It’s time to play the Coach’s way or it’s the highway. Everyone will benefit if 8 plays 2 way hockey. It’s time! Nobody rides for free. Earn the pay check 8.

  9. johnmr12 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Good luck with that Barry. Ovi has to glide so he can stay out on the ice for 2 minute shifts and increase his scoring chances. Let’s face it, after this many years, it’s pretty obvious that his number one priority is winning scoring titles. His name on that big shiny trophy would be so small, nobody would even notice it. And he only gets to keep it for a single day, whereas the scoring trophy is his to keep forever.

  10. jrocknstuff - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    Actually, from what I understand management really wanted Hunter back and was disappointed in his decision not to return. The comment that Ovechkin got him fired is uninformed and rediculous. I have no doubts that Ovechkin will take Trotz’s comments and direction in stride and work hard to become a better two-way player.

    • phtjoey - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      isk, I mean I agree that Ovi didn’t get Hunter fired, but, to assert that he will take direction from Trotz in stride is wishful thinking. He hasn’t able to do it previously, so, what makes you think he’ll do it this time around?

  11. bleedrangerblue - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    This coming from a coach who’s won nothing. NOTHING!!!! Wow

    • 1cupin74years - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      So does AV have some sort of hidden trophy case I’m not aware of? How was your parade?

  12. hockeyfan91 - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    He wants Ovechkin to glide less. What’s next, actually expect him to go into the defensive end and play both ways? Ok, maybe now I’m talking crazy…

  13. blomfeld - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:19 PM


    Here we are only ‘days’ into Trotz’s tenure as the new Caps bench boss and already he’s being embroiled in the ‘ugly, divisive & parasitic’ problem known as Alexander Ovechkin … and that’s a shame. By all accounts, Barry Trotz is a ‘good & decent’ man who has always espoused hard work, values, courage and ‘esprit de corps’ much like we LA Kings. Yet already the league’s ‘3rd ugliest player’ is causing this ‘quality’ man consternation and untold stress? In fact, it’s now almost a given that the juxtaposition of ‘Trotz’s values vs Ovechkin’s parasitism’ there in DC, is something which is almost ‘guaranteed’ to result in a firestorm in the not too distant future. And with any luck the ‘Ovechkin Question’ will be finally resolved once and for all ! … God willing.

    *** NHL’s most ‘Physically Ugly’ players as per Marie Lebeau @ House of Chanel Sports ***

    1) Brad Marchand
    2) Dan Carcillo
    3) Alexander Ovechkin
    4) Zdeno Chara
    5) Daniel & Henrik Sedin

  14. cliffatola - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    The funny thing is most of the Caps fan base has been wanting to see less glide in Ovechkin’ game for the last few years, please tell me Trotz has a keener sense of observation than this.

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