In a sprawling feature for CSNWashington.com regarding the 2015 Winter Classic, Alex Ovechkin discusses how far the Washington Capitals franchise has come since his rookie season. He states that “everything has changed.”
Really, though, the same could be said for his game and his team on the ice.
“Our group of guys here now are more mature,” Ovechkin said. “We’re ready to take a big step. It’s something when you’re growing up you can see how it’s changed. It’s a great thing when you’re a part of it. Me and Brooks and Greenie are the only three guys that have been here after the [2004-05] lockout.
“I’ve been growing up. I get mature. I get older. I look at the game in a different way right now. It’s hard to explain. When I’m on the ice I want to do something different than I did the first couple years.”
Ovechkin, 29, was speaking about Brooks Laich and Mike Green in that quote. Laich had some interesting insight on the Capitals star’s goals, noting that Ovechkin’s trophy case is full of individual awards, so his sights are absolutely set on accolades regarding team play.
While Laich has seen that metamorphosis first hand, head coach Barry Trotz is in his first season guiding Ovechkin, yet he’s had glowing reviews about the winger’s willingness to adapt.
” … I don’t know that there’s been a physical superstar like Alex in the league since, I don’ know, [Eric] Lindros when he was young?” Trotz said.
“[Mark] Messier, maybe? Those guys are few and far between. Usually, the high-end guys aren’t as physical as Alex. He doesn’t get intimidated. It’s funny. The harder you are on him the more revved up he gets, which is sort of cool with a star. There are times he reverts to some of his old habits, but a lot of those things have been ironed out.”
The Capitals stand face-to-face with a team that’s enjoyed the high-level successes they’re striving for when they host the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park on NBC tomorrow.