Ovechkin felt “trapped” by Hunter, wasn’t happy last year

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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.”

Related:

Brett Hull on Ovechkin: “He’s going to thrive under Oates”

Holtby likely starter for Caps’ opener, No. 1 gig still open