Alex Ovechkin

Well look at Alex Ovechkin being all captain-like


There’s been a lot made of Alex Ovechkin’s status as the captain of the Washington Capitals. With the team struggling and stumbling around this season, there are many clamoring to see Ovechkin drop the “C” and get back to being good ole’ Ovi.

Funny thing happened though, Ovechkin found his stride and is busy leading the Capitals along just fine without losing a letter from his sweater. With two goals last night, Ovechkin upped his season total to 32. All of a sudden, Ovechkin is back in the top-ten in the league in goals scored and the Caps are in control of the eighth spot in the East.

As Tarik El-Bashir of The Washington Post notes, carrying the team is nothing new for Ovechkin.

“I feel pretty good, you know?” said Ovechkin, who is on pace for 36 goals, which would be a four-goal improvement over last season but 29 fewer than his career high. “I don’t have so many chances to score goals. If I have a chance, I have to use it. Teams play against my line very hard. They put some pressure for me and for my partners. If I have a chance to score, I have to score.”

No pressure there for Ovechkin at all. Obviously if Ovechkin continues to pump in goals, the Capitals won’t have to sweat so much about making the playoffs and can switch their focus on ruining someone else’s postseason hopes.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.