No, Ovechkin’s missed hit on Stepan wasn’t the right play, says coach Oates


Alex Ovechkin may play under the NHL’s most powerful microscope. Whether deserved or media overkill, it’s hard to think of another player whose game is picked apart to the extent of the Washington captain’s. One day, he needs to knock off all the turnovers at the blue line. The next, he has to add more to his repertoire than cutting to the middle and shooting. Oh, and don’t forget to skate on to pucks in the neutral zone. Also, line changes — he needs to do those better, too.

Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Rangers gave onlookers another play to scrutinize:

Ovechkin’s missed hit on New York forward Derek Stepan created a 3-on-2 for the Rangers, which New York quickly converted.

After the game, Caps coach Adam Oates was asked if it was the right play for Ovechkin to step up and attempt to nail Stepan.

“No. It’s not,” Oates said, per the Washington Post. “We have tracking rules, and I think he was gonna hit him and he let him go, and because of that we got a little out of position.”

The 10-13-1 Caps — currently seven points out of a playoff spot — host Carolina Tuesday.

Related: Ovechkin wants referees to respect the Capitals