Following up on our story this morning on Alex Ovechkin’s struggles last night against Montreal, there was no question his ‘off game’ would be brought up today by the media in Washington. And you have to hand it to him, he’s owned up to exactly what everyone noticed, saying today to what was likely a horde of media attention:
“I don’t know why, but last game, I don’t feel that power or something. I talked to Bruce, and how I said, I didn’t play my game at all last night. It’s not about Montreal. It’s all about me.”
Tarik El-Bashir of the Capitals Insider notes that the Canadiens certainly deserve credit for shutting him down. The Habs played him perfectly, as Bruce Boudreau noted today, but it’s not like this is the first team that have ever used a trap system to try and stop him.
We can’t discredit the Canadiens on this, but there’s no denying that Ovechkin has not been himself lately. He needs to get back to having fun, to being the free-wheeling player that has been successful for so long. Is he gunshy after all the criticism he received after his hit on Brian Campbell (including here on Pro Hockey Talk)? Boudreau acknowledges that if Ovechkin is playing his game, then it doesn’t matter what the other team does:
“The deal is when he’s on top of his game it doesn’t matter how they are playing against him,” Boudreau said. “That’s the way we’ve looked at it for the two and half years I’ve been here, and that’s why we don’t try to get him away from matchups. Because if he’s on top of his game, it doesn’t matter who he’s playing against.”
Here’s Ovechkin talking to the media, courtesy of the the Washington Capitals: