Ahead of the Capitals rivalry night game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, NBC’s Jeremy Roenick sat awkwardly on a couch with three-time MVP Alex Ovechkin. Necklessly, Roenick asked Ovechkin about his passion for the game and how he felt about the constant criticism he receives from the media.
Ovechkin answered in Runglish. He made a boat metaphor.
“I think there were some things that probably happened before I was here that led to certain things,” Trotz said, speaking in broad terms. “There was some bad advice given to Ovi at times in how they wanted him to play.”
“Ovi’s a guy that will do what you ask,” he continued. “He’s bluntly honest. It’s actually a strength, not a weakness.”
This year, Trotz has moved Ovechkin back to left wing and demanded more of him defensively. Ovechkin leads the league in goals, and the Capitals are challenging for the division lead.
“I made it pretty simple,” Trotz said. “When you have the puck do what you do. When you don’t have the puck, I want you to do what I want you to do. If you do that, you’ll have the puck more.”
If there’s one person who truly is an insider of the NHL, it’s TSN’s Bob McKenzie. While speaking on Montreal’s TSN 690 Monday, McKenzie spoke about the future of Capitals defenseman Mike Green. He believes the UFA will dealt by GM Brian MacLellan before the NHL’s trade deadline March 2nd.
Punk, in real life named Phil Brooks, is a huge hockey fan. While doing an interview with CSN’s Brian Mitchell to promote his UFC signing, Punk made a prediction for the Winter Classic and I don’t think you’re gonna like it.
He predicted the Blackhawks would totally stomp the Caps.
In episode one of The Road To The Winter Classic, EPIX brought us into the luxury apartment of Caps forwards Tom Wilson and Michael Latta. It was the best segment of the night– probably because their apartment wasn’t so luxurious as we might have thought.
Not-Liev Schreiber described the design of Wilson and Latta’s bachelor pad as somewhere between “minimalist and utilitarian.” If your ping pong table is also your dinner table, that’s pretty accurate.
Last night, TSN Insider’s Trading panel discussed a number of topics, including the Oilers’ shortcomings, Jay Feaster’s Twitter jab, and a potential re-tool in Arizona. They also talked about Caps general manager Brian MacLellan, whose patience with the team is allegedly running thin.
On Wednesday, Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laichdid his weekly radio segment with the Sports Junkies. The Wawota, Saskatchewan-native has missed nine out of the last ten games with an upper-body injury. On Wednesday, Laich told the Junkies that doctors believe he’s dealing with a painful nerve problem in his shoulder/collarbone area.
Laich returned to game action last Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks only to re-injure himself. “By the time I left the arena, I couldn’t touch the left hand to my face,” Laich said. “So obviously it was a little bit sore.”
After the Capitals’ 4-2 loss to the Red Wings Wednesday, Pierre McGuire spoke to Detroit head coach Mike Babcock during NBCSN’s post-game show. There was one response from the Stanley Cup-winning bench boss that was particularly interesting to me. Babcock was asked about his long history with Barry Trotz in the Western Conference and if that gave him any insight into the game.
Babcock, considered to be one of the best coaches in the league, instead went out of his way to praise how good of a coach he thinks Trotz is.
He also briefly gushed about Andre Burakovsky, once Pierre told him what his name was.
This seemed really genuine to me, so I had to share.
On Friday, the Washington Capitals got back to business, holding a practice at Calgary’s old Olympic stomping grounds. After the hour-long session was concluded, Nicklas Backstrom spoke to the media and was asked about Caps rookie Andre Burakovsky.
Through six games this season, the Burracuda is a point-per-game player, tallying six points and scoring two big goals. When Backstrom first began his North American career with the Caps, he tallied four points – all assists – in six games as a 19-year-old.
Nicky was asked about how he would compare himself to Andre at that age and it’s great stuff.
Recent years in Caps-land have been chaotic, but there’s always been something you can rely on: everybody having a different opinion on how Alex Ovechkin can improve. You’d think the sixth fastest player to 400 goals is maybe doing alright, but for the media and the revolving door of Caps coaches, “fixing” Ovechkin is always all the rage.
Dale Hunter wanted Ovechkin to sacrifice his body and block shots, Adam Oates wanted The Great Eight to play with fourth-liners, and Bruce Boudreau wanted Ovi to push the pace and look for odd-man breaks.