• SHARE:
  • email
  • Bookmark and Share

Capitals' Ovechkin was upset to be left on bench, but understands coach's move

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, hits Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Zoom Image

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, hits Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

ARLINGTON, Va. - Sure enough, two-time MVP Alex Ovechkin says he was ticked off when he was left on the bench with the game on the line.

He also says he understands why the coach did it and that it could happen again as part of the Washington Capitals' season-long theme that calls for everyone to be more accountable.

Ovechkin wasn't among the players coach Bruce Boudreau sent onto the ice after pulling the goalie with a one-goal deficit late in regulation Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks.

Television cameras caught what appeared to be some unpleasant words from Ovechkin directed at the coach.

But Boudreau's move worked. The Capitals tied the score then won 5-4 in overtime.

"Well, I was (ticked) off," Ovechkin said Wednesday. "Of course I want to be in that situation on the ice, and you know it doesn't matter who I said it (to) and what I said. It look funny on TV.

"It's right now a big story. It's just a little bit frustrating because I'm a leader on the team and I want to be on that kind of responsibility."

Boudreau said he was "playing a hunch" by going with the third line of Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera and Joel Ward, supplemented by Nicklas Backstrom. Laich, Chimera and Ward were playing very well; the threesome accounted for seven points on the night.

"Ninety-nine per cent of the time Alex is the first guy I'm looking at," Boudreau said, "but these guys were going pretty good."

But Boudreau hasn't been shy about reducing ice time for top players in this young season. The message: Play well or sit.

"It's the theme for the whole year. ... I hope the message has gotten clear from July 'til now. I'm hoping we don't change that message," Boudreau said. "We're going to try to stay strong with it. That's what it is, and I think that's the only way that we're going to be successful."

Boudreau says he didn't hear what Ovechkin said on the bench but understands why his star player wouldn't be happy.

"All our players—they're all competitive," Boudreau said. "And, yeah, I don't want them to be complacent and say, 'Oh that's nice.' "

Ovechkin said it's been a long time since he's been left on the bench during such a crucial moment in the game.

"When I was little kid," he said with a laugh. "So I'm right now back to young age again. So thanks, Bruce."

Nevertheless, Ovechkin said Laich's line deserved to be on the ice after having such a good game. Also, as the team captain, it's important that he buy into the accountability theme.

"Yeah, it's one team," said Ovechkin, who has five goals and five assists through 10 games. "It doesn't matter how good you are or who you are.

"If we want to win, we have to be on the same page."

More Stories

Capitals change coach, GM after missing playoffs - but Ovechkin's still the key

WASHINGTON - Missing the playoffs for the first time in a while jarred the Washington Capitals...

Alex Ovechkin has 2 goals, Brouwer scores in OT in Capitals' 5-4 victory over Bruins

WASHINGTON - Alex Ovechkin had two power-play goals and Troy Brouwer scored at 2:12 of overtime...

Alex Ovechkin back at left wing as Capitals open camp under new coach Barry Trotz

ARLINGTON, Va. - As if he knew the question was coming, Alex Ovechkin smiled when asked what his...

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau disappointed by Selanne book criticism, but understands frustration

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Ice hockey great Teemu Selanne managed to make a stir on the first day of the...
blog comments powered by Disqus

THN on Twitter

For our next issue, we want you, the fans, to choose each feature in our Team Reports section. Which of these players would you most like to read about? (See all the choices on our POLL PAGE)

















Contests

Our Partners