When Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 23, everyone wondered if the dam had been broken and the goals would start flowing for the Capitals’ 27-year-old captain. In the three games since that breakout game Ovechkin has no goals, two assists and is a plus-1 with 10 shots. Those three games have served as a reminder that while Ovechkin is getting more accustomed to playing right wing, there is still work to be done. “For a guy who likes to have the puck a lot and shoot, at times he doesn’t want to get the puck,” linemate Mike Ribeiro said Monday, referring to Ovechkin’s willingness to forecheck. “It’s part of the game now, to make those D uncomfortable by coming with speed. He has to get used to that.” Ovechkin said he’s most effective when he gets the puck coming through the neutral zone with speed. “When I have speed that’s when I want it,” he said. “I don’t want to get stuck on the blue line, slowly go into the offensive zone and lose the puck and have to go back.” When Capitals coach Adam Oates put Matt Hendricks on the Caps’ top line with Ribeiro and Ovechkin, he said he did so with instructions for Hendricks to “drive the bus” by being the first on the forecheck. Oates said he liked much of what Hendricks, Ovechkin and Ribeiro did on Saturday in the Caps’ 3-0 win in Winnipeg. He pointed out how the Jets’ defense collapsed on Ovechkin, which allowed Hendricks to be left alone for his deflection goal in the second period.
Oates asks Ovechkin to 'earn his keep'
CSN Washington | Mar 5