The Philadelphia Flyers are really handing it to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. When things go poorly for the Caps, the attention frequently shifts to their highly paid star Alex Ovechkin.
That was the case during the second intermission of tonight’s game, as Mike Milbury provided this passionate critique of Ovechkin’s effort and production:
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Milbury has weighed in on the famous 27-year-old several times before. Here are some choice cuts:
Is he still elite?
Has he been used correctly?
Looking back at Bruce Boudreau’s firing
Crosby vs. Ovechkin – the next Magic vs. Bird?
Alex Ovechkin struggled — at least relative to the extremely high standards he’s held to — last season. He had a career-low 65 points, and former coach Dale Hunter limited his playing time in the postseason.
“With more ice I can give more to the team,” Ovechkin said to Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington. “It was [Hunter’s] decision and he had his own mind and his own kind of personality and his own systems. Of course sometimes I felt trapped.”
The superstar forward kept his frustrations to himself at the time, which is something he felt was necessary because the team was in the middle of a playoff run. Still, he wasn’t happy last season and he’s convinced he can do more for his team.
He might get that chance under new coach Adam Oates.
“I just feel trust,” Ovechkin said when asked about his impression of Oates. “It’s the most important thing for any player. When you feel trust from your coach you feel unbelievable and you want to go play for him. Right away when I met him I just feel it.”
The Moscow-native also feels good about Oates’ system and thinks the Capitals will play well in it.
Regardless though, Ovechkin is likely to at very least seem happy.
“I’m always smiling,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. I’m always smiling.”
Brett Hull on Ovechkin: “He’s going to thrive under Oates”
Holtby likely starter for Caps’ opener, No. 1 gig still open
He may have landed on his feet in Anaheim, but Bruce Boudreau still didn’t want the team that fired him to do well in last year’s playoffs.
The former head coach of the Washington Capitals, now the Ducks’ bench boss, confessed as much in an interview with NHL.com.
“I think human nature dictates that I didn’t want them to win,” Boudreau said. “I think that’s just human nature. I was hoping for some players to have success and players I really like to do well and they did, but quite frankly nobody ever admits it — and maybe I just did — but I wasn’t exactly pulling for them because it would have validated me losing my job.”
Boudreau was fired by the Capitals in November after a tumultuous stint in Washington that included plenty of regular-season success but repeated playoff disappointment.
Along the way the Caps went from playing a run-and-gun style to practically the opposite end of the spectrum under Boudreau’s replacement, Dale Hunter.
Purely from an X’s and O’s standpoint, Washington’s been a fascinating team to watch the past few seasons. (Not to mention all the other drama.)
Come to think of it, one of the many unfortunate aspects of the NHL lockout is that we still don’t know how the Caps will play under new head coach Adam Oates.
Related: Alex Ovechkin ready for offense under Oates