PHILADELPHIA — Barry Trotz can appreciate some of what Alex Ovechkin has to endure as the face of the Washington Capitals.
“I think he’s like a coach sometimes,” the Caps’ new bench boss said Saturday. “When they win, he gets a little bit too much credit, and when they lose, he gets too much blame. … My job is to deflect some of that and have his back when it’s not his fault.”
That said, Trotz believes Ovechkin has to “grow his game if we’re going to win a championship.” And while that goes for everyone on the team — he was by no means trying to single out his captain — he did share one specific critique with reporters.
“Alex has got a bit too much glide in his game,” said Trotz. “When you’re standing still you’re really easy to cover.”
Instead of gliding, Trotz wants Ovechkin skating back hard when he doesn’t have the puck. Not so much to help out in the defensive end, but so when the Caps regain possession, Ovechkin is in a better position to receive the puck and do something productive, with speed.
“Then you have some options,” said Trotz. “I think if he gets a little less glide in his game that he’ll be as dynamic and hard to handle as he ever was.”