Trotz MacLellan (7 of 13)

Photo: Chris Gordon

Alex Ovechkin is the most important person under contract with the Washington Capitals, more pivotal than either the general manager or the head coach. Signed to a 13-year, $124 million dollar deal in 2008, Ovechkin has become the Caps. His jersey sales sustain the team off the ice while his goal scoring provides the plurality of their offense. The preeminent task for his coach, then, is to manage him effectively. Barry Trotz, hired Monday by Washington, will now have to do that.

“It starts with a relationship,” Trotz told reporters from the Verizon Center club level yesterday. “I know I’m going to work at that but it can’t happen until I have a relationship with him because there’s no trust. For me Alex has to trust that I’m giving him the best advice for the team, for him, to grow his game. I don’t know Alex as well. Going against him, I know what he does well, but I need to know Alex the person. Coaching’s not just about Xs and Os, it’s about people.”

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Trotz MacLellan (6 of 13)

Photo: Chris Gordon

“I don’t know if I could give specifics,” Brian MacLellan said when asked how he differs from his former boss George McPhee. “He’s a good friend. He’s a character guy.”

Then MacLellan broke down. After 10 years in the NHL, MacLellan retired from league in 1992. He got an MBA, becoming an investment banker. In 2000, his old college teammate McPhee brought him back to the sport, asking him to join his young administration in Washington as a part-time scout. MacLellan accepted. Thirteen years later, MacLellan was standing up against a wall at Verizon Center having just filled McPhee job. The two talked during MacLellan’s interview process.

“You know, it’s a hard thing,” MacLellan said, gathering himself. “We’re different people. We have different personalities, different way to approach things. I think any two people are different.”

“We’re good friends,” he added. “We’re really good friends, and we’ve grown up together.”

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On Monday night, the Washington Capitals announced their new GM/coach combo. The Caps have promoted Brian MacLellan to the new general manager position, vacated by George McPhee. They also announced the hiring of Barry Trotz as the team’s new head coach.

MacLellan, 55, becomes the sixth general manager in the Capitals history after spending the past seven seasons as the team’s assistant general manager. Trotz, who spent 15 seasons with Nashville, returns to the organization where he first was hired as a scout in the late 80′s. Trotz has never taken one of his teams past the second round of the postseason.

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Photo: GingerHockey

Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia have won the IIHF World Championship. The Russians defeated Finland 5-2 in the gold medal game to win their fourth title since 2008. Russian captain Alex Ovechkin scored the game-tying goal. Nashville’ goaltender Pekka Rinne kept the Finns competitive, but the Russians feasted on the power play, scoring four of their five goals when a man up.

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Photo: Rich Lam

As first reported by the the Winnipeg Free Press’s Gary Lawless, the Washington Capitals are close to hiring former Predators head coach Barry Trotz. Trotz, who spent 16 years in Nashville, interviewed with Caps brass on Tuesday.

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While Team Russia won 3-1 over Sweden on Saturday, they may be advancing to the gold medal game without their head coach.

The reason: Alex Ovechkin’s KHL coach at Dynamo Moscow, Oleg Znarok, made a throat-slash gesture to Swedish assistant coach Rikard Gronborg. Oooooo, Russian drama!

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ovechkin-assist

Photo: Russian Hockey Federation Instagram

In Russia’s 3-0 quarterfinals win against France on Thursday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said he felt about 90% playing and was uncomfortable wearing a custom knee brace the Team Russia medical team special-ordered for him after suffering a leg injury four days prior.

Playing Sweden on Saturday, Ovechkin still didn’t feel 100%, but he did switch things up. According to Slava Malamud, Ovi wore a new knee brace. He also tallied an assist in Russia’s 3-1 win over Sweden. Russia will play in the World Championships gold medal game on Sunday.

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Ovechkin’s tongue sure does look spry and healthy. (Photo: R-Sport)

For the first time since the Olympics, Russia had both Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin in their line-up. Russia defeated France 3-0, but the two superstars did not skate exclusively together. Malkin was paired with Viktor Tikhonov and Nikolai Kulyomin, while Ovechkin skated on the second line with Sergei Plotnikov and Vadim Shipachyov.

In his grand return from his definitely-not-a-knee injury, Ovechkin skated 12 minutes over the first and second periods. He was benched later in the third period and did not record any shots or points. A day after saying, “I am not wearing any brace,” Ovechkin wore a knee brace.

After the game, Ovechkin spoke to reporters about his health.

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Photo: Pavel Lysenkov

On Wednesday, Team Russia captain Alex Ovechkin practiced with his team for the first time since suffering a knee injury on Sunday against Germany. Or so we thought!

After he left the ice, Ovechkin spoke to a scrum of reporters and waxed poetic on his injury.”It’s hard to say that I have a knee problem,” Ovechkin said according to R-Sport, confusing everyone. “It’s actually something a bit different.”

When asked if he was planning to wear the custom-made knee brace the Team Russia medical staff ordered for him, Ovechkin seemed unsure. “I am not wearing any brace,” he said. “They brought it to me, but so far I have not tried the magical brace. Let me repeat, it’s not my knee, but different organs and muscles. I skated today, I have some pain, but of course, it is better than it was the first day.”

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Ice celebrate the victory (Photo: USHL Images)

The Indiana Ice, featuring Washington Capitals draft pick Brian Pinho, have won the Clark Cup. In game five of a best-of-five series, the Ice rallied to beat Waterloo Black Hawks 3-2 to win the USHL championship. Pinho scored the game-winning goal with just over two minutes to go in the third period. 

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