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Alex Ovechkin: 'We just want to be in good shape for the playoffs'

Alex Ovechkin isn't practicing today at Verizon Center, swapping out his red Caps sweater for some very ripped jeans and a sweatshirt after the Caps took their team photo. John Carlson, Eric Belanger, Alexander Semin, Tom Poti and Coach Bruce Boudreau took the day off as well. So yes, you could call today's practice optional.

Here's a quick video of Ovechkin talking about the playoffs and the Caps' recent slow starts:

And here's some of that Ovie style:

One other note: The quote of the day comes from owner Ted Leonsis, talking about not being in the Caps' team photo this year: "I've been in it every other year, and we haven't won the Cup."

More to come from Geno in a bit.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 31, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
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Next: Laich expected back tomorrow


No need to panic- they are just playing out the season. Tighten up the last few games here and figure out who will stop the puck in the playoffs.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 31, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Nice jeans.
Or is it "nice genes"?
I'll take his genes over his jeans.
I think I saw those jeans being chewed by a pack of wild dogs in Tijuana before they were special ordered by Ovi's fashion assistant.

Posted by: coolcraig | March 31, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

well maybe they should just admit that then because it seems the players and the coach are on totally different wavelengths. Bruce just stated "We need to get back to playing 60 min hockey".

Steckel talked about another slow start.

Now Ovy is implying the reason for the slow start is they're resting up for the playoffs (I'm assuming based on the headline, i didn't hear the audio clip)

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I know they are just playing out the string at this point but there is no need to let teams get any more confidence. I want opposing teams to fear these Capitals and to feel dread when there time comes. I thought last night they played fairly well but there has to be some tightening up of the PK. A great regular season is not good enough anymore. I will be with them until the bitter or fantastic end but I am fearing more and more that it will be a quick one.

Posted by: Big_Pushy | March 31, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

yeah the PK should have no bearing on the Caps trying to stay healthy (unless its about blocking shots). Use this time to address the PK, at least.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

As a side note, those jeans probably cost more than 1 or maybe 2 of my paychecks.

Posted by: Big_Pushy | March 31, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

another disconnect between player and coach:

“Well, I don’t like five goals against,” says Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. “This has happened twice in a row and we’ve got to get better. There were four pretty iffy goals out there tonight.”

Caps defenseman Tom Poti did not blame the netminding.

“We weren’t picking up the loose guys in front,” he laments. “None of those goals were his [Jose Theodore] fault. They were our fault – defensive reads and things like that.”

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

To the powers that be: Please either get a quality sound recording/video or just report what is said. It is becoming very frustrating to "listen" to an unintelligible clip.If you are "reporters" you can report and we can "watch" and "listen" to the sports interviews on TV where the quality is better and there are always recaps of what was said. .

Posted by: CapCenter105 | March 31, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Weeks was right on point last night on the NHL network talking about the Caps defense...he said their positioning is terrible therefore they are always scrambling to get back or recover, which is especially obvious with bad rebounds in front of our own net.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 31, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse


I don't disagree with you on the disconnect in the comments between bruce and poti, but my read is poti is just trying to protect his goalie. Bruce has never been shy about calling out his goalies but I think tom is just standing up for his teammate.

Posted by: justbrewit | March 31, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Big_Pushy: You need a career upgrade if that is true. Try the Washington Post classifieds. You don't have a future at Taco Bell.

Posted by: coolcraig | March 31, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

recap of goals against last night

Goal#1 - Backstrom's fault inspite of a solid hit by Shaone that freed the puck loose. Backstrom had his pocket picked.

Goal#2 - screen set up, Mo hammers the guy late. Corvo does nothing productive

Goal#3 - Fehr gets his pocket picked by the Ottawa blueline. He should never handle the puck that far from the net. Shaone covers the far wing, Corvo leaves the middle of the ice and clears a lane for the forward to score, our other forwards are slow on the backcheck esp Chimera

Goal#4 - Schultz looked like a beached whale. I have no idea how he thought he could block the pass like that. He should've let the goalie handle that angle and he should have worried about the forward standing near the crease.

btw, do you realize the Caps TWICE gave up a 2 on 1 break while they were on a penalty kill? How the heck does a team on a PK get caught up ice like that ? And watching Corvo play D makes me miss a guy named Joel Kwiatkowski.

Also think when all is said and done, I think/hope Green and Mo will be back as a tandem. Schultz and Green are losing some of their chemistry, frankly Green's carrying Schultz in many ways right now. Sarge is slow to react to whats going on around him.

Also thought the Perrault goal was sweet. More of a playoff type of goal than the 2 Semin goals were. Perrault just hustled off the faceoff and turned a faceoff loss by Chimera into a faceoff win by checking the defenseman off the puck.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I have been a Caps fan for long time. This winter I started to play in a Sunday night league. I am 43 years old and if I played with the same intensity Ovie played with last night, I would seriously think about quitting. Hockey is played at both ends of the ice. I don't care if the game is meaningless or not. If you are hockey player then play, don't coast and backcheck like you are playing pick-up. That was pathetic. Resting - Yeah, Right!
Good hockey teams crush every opponent and regard slumps with discontent. They are not glad it is happening at anytime. WAKE UP OVIE! PLAY LIKE WE KNOW YOU CAN!

Posted by: psugolf | March 31, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Not panicking, but very bad habits are setting in. Team Defense, is terrible, including backchecking and positioning. Penalty killing will cost them, it's been bad all year. Some players look like they are just going through the motions. Fleischman has played 1 good game since the olympics, and that was after he was scratched. I know they can't go every game like it's a playoff game, but some guys are in a relax mode and just not moving their feet. I think they definitely miss Laich.

Posted by: topshelf | March 31, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Bruce has never been shy about calling out his goalies but I think tom is just standing up for his teammate.

Posted by: justbrewit | March 31, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

that is an odd thing how often he calls out his goalie. I don't recall many other coaches who do that. The one constant with the Caps for the past 12 yrs has been a shaky defense. Why does this org gloss over that fact ?

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

from older post...

which gets back to the trade deadline discussion: what pieces did the Caps need to add? At the time, I though defenseman and top line power forward. we got neither.

Posted by: doughless | March 31, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: doughless | March 31, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse


Goals #2: Seriously, Corvo does nothing productive? You can basically say that about any player on the ice when a goal is scored. Lets not be ridiculous. It was a point shot and the screener, who ShaMo was covering, bumped into Theo. Why Corvo is even mentioned on that goal is beyond me.

Goal #3 was the backcheckers fault. Chimera was back but he did an awful job of covering anybody and just skated to the side of the net. MP was way too far up ice and not involved in the play. Corvo covered his man as a player is suppose to do. The player who scored was Campoli, a defenseman. It was the backcheckers fault. Kevin Weekes stated this on NHL on the Fly last night too.

We know you don't like Corvo but don't skew the facts to try to blame every goal on him. When you do this you lose credibility when you actually have good points to make.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 31, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

cstanton, totally agree. Why is everyone jumping on Corvo, he hasn't been bad or great, considering he's playing with all new players and has only been here for 3 weeks, he's been decent. The team d, not just the defenseman are having issues. And on the overhead of that goal Chimera was coasting through the neutral and he started skating to get back when it was too late.

Posted by: topshelf | March 31, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I meant at SGM3, agreed with your points.

Posted by: topshelf | March 31, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

point acknowledged.

I thought Corvo could have done a better job of not vacating the middle of the ice. That just opened up the lane. He doesn't have to go chasing the forward to the side of the net since his defensive partner already went and pursued the winger on the same side. Stand your ground and force the play off to the side, its a lower percentage angle for the shooter.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

The Caps are the most inconsistent hockey team I have ever seen that manages to rack up 100 point seasons.

This team virtually NEVER plays a full 60 minutes.

Either it's an invisible first period or a meltdown in the third period while holding a lead.

So many of this year's games against Southeast opponents, other also-rans like the Maple Leafs ended up as OT wins or losses.

Rarely has this team separated from a clearly inferior opponent and finished with a 5-2 or 6-2 win.

It's a 4-3 game whether the Caps are playing the Penguins or whether they are playing Carolina.

The last two games against Carolina have been an embarrassment of sleep-walking by the Caps.

Carolina is without Cam Ward and has traded away a number of players for prospects and draft picks. They have a retread goalie in Manny Legace that no one wanted 3 months ago.

And yet the Caps can't beat this team in March.

Why? They simply don't want to work hard enough on defense and along the boards to take the fight out of the Hurricanes.

The other disturbing trend for this team is its propensity to lose OT and shootouts.

You would figure that skating 4 on 4 would create opportunities for the team with the best skaters and shooters like it does in Europe.

Instead the Caps get beat by lesser teams in OT.

Shootouts are a mental challenge. Ovechkin and Semin just don't produce enough in these situations.

If Crosby and Eric Staal can average 40% plus in shootouts, why are the Caps' skill players so poor in his area?

Posted by: leopard09 | March 31, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

And our Russian contingent thinks Americans dress badly.

Posted by: farmgirl19C | March 31, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

What concerns me is not that they aren't taking these last few games seriously, it's that they're continuing to play the same kind of horrible defense that they have all year. If they were losing these games because they were working on the D-men not turning the puck over inside the blue line and actually clearing guys and tying up sticks in front of the net or if the forwards were working on covering their backchecking assignments faithfully, so that the offensive end of the game suffered a bit, I could live with that. In fact, it would please me. But what the Caps are doing is just letting their foot off the gas for about 30 to 40 minutes a night. So what we're seeing is the same bad habits we have all year, without the explosive offense and intensity to cover them up.

It's just very difficult to have any confidence in this team coming into the playoffs. And it's almost like some sort of sick joke. For most of my life, the Caps did all the defensive and teamwork things well, they just didn't have anybody who could put the puck in the net. Now they score like nobody's business but they have neither the will, nor (in some cases) the ability to play the kind of D needed to win.

Anyway, after this year's failure, I hope the lesson finally sinks in: Scoring titles and President's trophies are nice and all but if you want to win the Cup you better be ready to lock people down, and I mean you better be committed to it, from top to bottom. If you're not -- and you don't have anyone named Wayne or Mario on your team -- you won't succeed.

Posted by: fanzee71 | April 1, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse


I wish I could disagree with you. I can't.

I can't figure out the shootouts. Maybe you are right that it's mental. Backstrom seems to be one of the steadier players on the team , mentally, and he's way better than OV or Sem in those situations. Ah well, at least we don't have to worry about those in the postseason.

Posted by: fanzee71 | April 1, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

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