Just before Washington’s second round series against the New York Rangers started, Capitals coach Barry Trotz compared captain Alex Ovechkin to Rangers great Mark Messier. With the series heading to Game 7 on Wednesday, Ovechkin had a Messier-like moment when he declared that “we’re going to come back and win the series.”
Trotz for one loved that.
“I saw that and that’s what leaders do,” Trotz said, per CSN Washington. “Leaders say this is what we need to do, this is what we’re going to do. I think I have a lot more respect for someone who will be bold enough to say, ‘I’m the leader of the hockey team. We’re going to go there and give our best game and go out and win a hockey game.’ I’d rather have that than a leader going, ‘Well, we’re going there to lose.’ I mean, come on.
“I love that. I love that a player has got the wherewithal to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go there and we’re going to go after them and we’re going to leave it out there. I have a lot of respect for players that say that. And anybody who doesn’t have respect for that I think is fooling themselves.”
Ovechkin’s statement is attracting attention now, but if there’s no follow through then his words will soon be forgotten. Messier’s guarantee is remembered because he and the Rangers delivered on it.
Ovechkin is having a great career as far as individual accomplishments go, but not when it comes to team success. Maybe this is the year that changes and if it does, perhaps we’ll remember what he said on Sunday long after this series is over.