Go ahead and add “proper positioning in the neutral zone” to the pile of things the Capitals are working on with Alex Ovechkin.
Per the Washington Times, it seems Ovechkin is growing frustrated with the lack of pucks that are finding their way to his stick as he flies down the ice on the attack.
But is that his teammates’ fault? Or, is it his?
“If I don’t have the puck coming out of my zone it’s hard to give it to him,” said center Mike Ribeiro said. “If it’s chipped a lot of times he has to be the guy to chase that puck. Obviously when I have the puck in neutral zone, I try to find him, but last game I think a lot of our game was chip it out of our zone and trying to get some races there and he needs to get used to that. That’s the name of the game now is to chip the puck and chase it. … That’s something he has to adjust to.”
Head coach Adam Oates echoed Ribeiro’s take, saying that Ovechkin can get the puck more with speed “by being in better position.”
Ovechkin had four shots, but no goals, in Saturday’s 3-0 win in Winnipeg. The Caps’ captain hasn’t scored in his last three games after notching a hat trick Feb. 23 against the Devils.
Washington hosts Boston Tuesday.
Related: Milbury rips Ovechkin
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.