Just about everyone has an opinion on how Alex Ovechkin can improve his play. One voice worth paying attention to though, is the guy who knows Ovi better that almost anyone else: Bruce Boudreau, his coach for a better part of five years. On Saturday, Boudreau, now the bench boss of the Anaheim Ducks and a playoff analyst for CBC, finally offered his thoughts during HNIC’s coverage of the Caps/Bruins game.
On Ovechkin’s hitting game:
I would rather have him, quite frankly, not engaging as much. He can hit, he’s not going to get hurt. He’s too big and strong. But when he starts focusing on hitting, he doesn’t focus on scoring. He’s engrained such that ‘if you hit me, I’m going to hit you.’ It’s tough not to do. [If you tell him not to he says,] ‘I can’t. I am who I am.’ I’ve seen him in battles with Chara or Douglas Murray, these big, big defenseman and they hit him and he says I’m going to get them back. And we used to say if you hit him, beware because you’re going to get it twice as hard back but if he avoids them a little bit, I’d think it’d be better for him.
On Ovechkin’s propensity to take long shifts:
I really looked at his ice time a lot, but a lot of times and like a lot of the stars do, you play the point on the power play, you play two minutes so it really adds into your average shift length. And people at the end they look and they say well he’s averaging a minute and two seconds a shift, but if you have five power plays and you’re on for all two minutes it really adds into it. When he’s regular strength he’s pretty normal with the shifts.
Boudreau During Overtime Intermission
On the Chara/Seidenberg matchup:
Never. No, he won’t wear down. The player — Seidenberg in this case — that has to play against him, if he makes a mistake and Ovi’s coming down the boards, Ovi’s going to make him pay. He’s got to play perfect hockey. Ovi’s not a hard guy to read. He’s going to cut into the middle or he’s going to stop and pull up. The one play that Seidenberg did have he made. It looks like he was checking him so easily because he knew exactly what he was going to do. But if he makes a mistake Ovi will to take it to the net and he’ll get a good chance to score.
S/T to @Canada_Gill for both videos.