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Posted at 9:15 AM ET, 02/18/2011

Is 'old Ovi' back?

By Katie Carrera

Over the past few games and again last night in Washington's 3-2 loss to the Sharks, Alex Ovechkin was a dominant, attention-grabbing presence. From the first shift of the night, when he and San Jose defenseman Douglas Murray got tangled up after both trying to finish a check on the other and needed to be separated by Mike Knuble, it was easy to tell that Ovechkin would have some sort of impact on the game.

That is the Ovechkin the Capitals have been missing so often this season. One game, or even a handful, can only be considered gradual progress, but if the captain is indeed starting to get his swagger back it's definitely a positive sign.

Ovechkin at his best can rub off an infectious, locomotive like quality on the rest of the team and the Capitals play more physical, take more shots and seem to skate with more ferocity when he's fired up. Against the Sharks, Ovechkin and linemates Nicklas Backstrom and Knuble all played with that fervor and generated scoring chances. They just weren't able to put them all in the net.

That said, if Ovechkin's three goals in the past four games and the liveliness he's been showing on the ice is here to stay, Coach Bruce Boudreau certainly won't complain.

"I think it's really encouraging," Boudreau said Thursday night. "I just told [assistant general manager] Brian MacLellan, I said the same thing. Ovi looks like the old Ovi now. I haven't been able to say that and in recent games he has been. Let's hope he continues that.

"The energy he's playing with and he's coming back hard," Boudreau said when asked to define 'old Ovi.' "He's not staying upright and his shifts are staying short. All of those things that encompasses a good leader, that's what he was doing, and when guys are hitting him he's taking it upon himself to not be the hittee but the hitter and going after them. He's getting six, seven shots on goal a game. He does that he's going to score every game."

Have you seen that same rejuvenated play from Ovechkin as well?

By Katie Carrera  | February 18, 2011; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Quote of the night from Sharks' 3-2 win over the Capitals
Next: Statistical analysis: Alex Ovechkin on the power play, then and now


Assigning Poti to Hershey would be McPhee admitting he made a huge blunder resigning him. Won't happen.

Posted by: underpants2

I don't think a team is allowed to waive a player, which they need to do to send down a veteran, who is injured.

Posted by: sgm3

Would it matter? Do you think he would ever waive Poti?

I wish they would shut him down for the year and put him on LTIR.

Weiss is the guy we absolutely need. We have two days off, perfect time to make a trade. No reason to wait any longer.

Make it happen.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 18, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and OV is starting to heat up. Thank God.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 18, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Old Ovi won games.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 18, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

For all those looking for Weiss I do not think it would happen.

"After GM Dale Tallon's proclamation that everyone on the Florida Panthers' roster was expendable, it appeared that Stephen Weiss was a prime trade candidate. Weiss may not be traded after all.

George Richards of the Miami Herald says that a trade involving Weiss probably won't happen. Previously Weiss had been linked to the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings.

"The reality is Weiss is probably not going anywhere. The Panthers have 'plenty of holes' as (coach Peter) DeBoer put it. Weiss is not one of them," Richards writes.

Weiss also has a reasonable contract. He is signed for $3.1 million per season through 2013, which will make it easier to keep him as an additional piece as Tallon rebuilds." (ESPN)

While he may be "available" whoever wants him is going to have to overpay big time because they don't need to trade him.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 18, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I want a new and improved that plays both ends of the ice. It is nice to see him charging forward during offensive breaks, but he needs to get back on D and put some pressure on the puck.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | February 18, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Ovi is not my favorite player but I appreciate the observation that maybe he is getting his swagger back, and the Caps have missed it.

Posted by: pirate1 | February 18, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"Old Ovi"...hmmm, yes he's been better, but I just want to just sit on this one for a week.

I will say this, Backstrom's energy was at an all time high last night. Maybe he went back on his Adderall?

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 18, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

BB has been praying nightly to the Hockey gods and Hadeed that Ovi come back. What was that old song?: "Bring back, bring back, bring back my Ovi to me..."!
GMGM working on deal to bring in Corvo and switch him to Center (a position he apparently played well in Mites). JK.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 18, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Semin, and Chimera and 1st round pick in 2011 for Weiss

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 18, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

cstanton: Jeff Brown was a very good offensive d-man. I think he had three assists in one of the SCF games vs Wings, then got hurt. Plus I think they dumped Cote (no loss then) to get Brown. It was a shrewd move, it just didn't work due to injury.

sgm: You have noticed Hannan's "paw to the jaw" move. I hope they keep him next year, as our other d-men are picking it up. And welcome aboard the "Let's trade Chimera" express. Finally, you have come to the conclusion I did last August that Perreault was "not the answer," or any answer for that matter.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 18, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Seems like old Ovi is back, which is a good sign for the final month and half of the season. Everyone plays better when he's "on" and I hope the recent play is a sign of things to come. He has made a couple noticeable defensive mistakes recently, but I'd rather have him scoring and playing hard than sitting back and working on D.

Posted by: Section104 | February 18, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps... Are you high?

Posted by: blanknerc | February 18, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Ovie has definitely turned it up a notch and Backs and Knuble are following suit. So has Hannah - especially with Greenie out. Chimmer, not so much. In fact, I think Chimmer shouldn't have a roster spot at the moment, let alone an A on his jersey. He has been absolutely dreadful the last three games...oh I forget, those games were away...he only shows up at home...if he's tradable at his current form, by all means, ship him out.

Posted by: jakopz | February 18, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

If you could magically move Chimera, Poti, Sloan and Steckel, you'd have $7M in cap space.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 18, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Chimera has size and speed but no finishing ability. He is an average passer and seems lost on the backcheck.

We didn't give up much for him but I think after a year the evidence is there that he is not a top 6 or perhaps even a top 8 forward on a playoff contender.

Agreed that the Poti extension was irresponsible. He is 33 and has had injury problems since he came over from the Islanders. The smart thing would have let 2011 be the guide on whether to bring him back. And the evidence there shows that he is breaking down physically. He is never going to play 82 games again in his career.

I don't know what the rush was with McPhee to resign so many of the current players who I consider to be average performers.

To me Poti and Schultz are two guys the club should be looking to REPLACE over the next year plus not extend.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 18, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Perreault has no business being on NHL ice.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Here's an even better question.

Why are we judging if the "old" Ovi is back. As a captain, shouldn't he have been playing that way all year???

Next question, please!!!

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 18, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

At $122,000 +/- per game, or approximately $4,880 per minute, Ovi should have showed up a long time ago.
Get some decent supporting players in here for the likes of Semin and Ovechkin. Semin skating with MarJo or MP for a second line center option is a travesty. The extension of Schultz and Poti for multiple years is another travesty.
Get rid of McPhee so this town has a chance at a cup in the future. Over a decade of his ineptness is enough.

Posted by: rblatch45 | February 18, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Sens trade goalie Brian Elliott to Avs for goalie Craig Anderson

I don't get this one for either team. Can someone figure this one out for me?

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 18, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

sgm: You have noticed Hannan's "paw to the jaw" move. I hope they keep him next year, as our other d-men are picking it up. And welcome aboard the "Let's trade Chimera" express. Finally, you have come to the conclusion I did last August that Perreault was "not the answer," or any answer for that matter.

Posted by: tominsocal1

Yes, I am now on the "replace Chimera" express. I highly doubt he will be traded, but I will just be happy with starting Beagle over him although I know it won't happen.

I'm not ready to throw in the towel on MP yet as a player. He is young and has time to improve. Clearly, he needs to get stronger. However, he clearly is not the answer for this year(I've been all for getting a #2 center for a while now and was in the group asking for Koivu and John Madden, who would've been the #3).

Hannan is great with that paw to the chest of the opponent. I have no idea how he doesn't get called for interference more often. However, when the playoffs start and they start letting even more go he will be even better. He seems to know exactly where the line is on how much contact he can make.

The player who I've seen start doing that move the most after he has arrived is Alzner. Also, Alzner made some really nice hits along the boards behind the cage last night. Not bone crushing hits, but solid hits that knocked the puck carrier off balance and allowed Alzner to take the puck.

For all the things to be disappointed with this year, it is very nice to have Alzner and Carlson on the back line. They are basically both rookies this year who will likely improve a lot, and they are already playing at a 1st D pairing level. The ceiling of that pairing is very high.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 18, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I think it is obvious that Ovechkin has ramped it up the past few games. Here's hoping it continues.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | February 18, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Semin, and Chimera and 1st round pick in 2011 for Weiss

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 18, 2011 9:56 AM

Are you Serious!!!

Posted by: scropion | February 18, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Sens trade goalie Brian Elliott to Avs for goalie Craig Anderson

I don't get this one for either team. Can someone figure this one out for me?

Posted by: icehammer97

Not sure I get this one. Unless Ottawa is looking to trade Anderson to another team for picks or prospects, or that they are hoping to re-sign Anderson.

I'm guessing Colorado had no intentions of re-signing Anderson and wanted something. It is a strange trade though.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 18, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Hannan is head and shoulders better than Poti, lately he has even shown that he can contribute on offense as well.

What a great move signing Poti for two more years, eh???

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

can they trade Poti and 55 for a bag of peanuts??

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

GMGM won't do anything but sign another 3rd line wing and a crappy Dman....He is scared to make Big Boy decisions and because of this the caps will always be, "ok" but never win a stanley cup....I'm sick of this S#$%

Posted by: joshu1 | February 18, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Extending Poti wasn't as bad as fiddling while Rome was burning, but let's say it's equivalent to playing the harmonica while the Caps are smoldering.

Terrible day here in socal. The HEATER is actually running!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 18, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I mean I guess I can see the trade working for the Avs getting a younger goalie who they hope that can stay healthy I just don't get why this works for the Sens. They must really have not wanted Elliot. Anderson is a FA so unless they think they can resign him or trade him for something else I don't get why you make that trade. Even resigning him you are rebuilding and he is already old how long are you having him around? I just get the feeling the Sens are making trades just to make trades.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 18, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Because GMGM likes to trade with St. Louis, how about some sort of deal to acquire Eric Brewer and Brad Boyes. I know that there are more desirable players on St. Louis other than Boyes, but you only can get players that the other team is willing to trade.

I would think it is possible a trade goes down today with no game until Sunday, but it would be more likely that it happens Tuesday or Wednesday when the Caps have 3 days off after the road trip.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 18, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Hannan has definitely picked up his game over the last 10 games and is our best defensive defensement. It makes me wonder why GMGM would have resigned Poti given his injury history and age with another veteran defenseman that could have been resigned.

I'm not one to say that the two losses on the road trip were good, but the Caps play was very encouraging. They would have beat Phoenix if it weren't for some great goaltending and seemed to run out of a gas a bit in the 3rd last night (not surprising after playing three games in 4 nights.) If the Caps can beat Buffalo and Pittsburgh, this will be a good roadtrip in my opinion. We still need a 2nd line center and another puck moving defenseman, but let's see what GMGM can do.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 18, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

old OV, as in the one that can't go further than the 2nd round in the playoffs?

Posted by: doughless | February 18, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I have noticed the difference also during these past few games. I think he's back. I really hope he's back for good. Thank God, cause a lot of us fans missed it. Hopefully it's maturity also.

Posted by: capsfan2007 | February 18, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

If you could magically move Chimera, Poti, Sloan and Steckel, you'd have $7M in cap space.

Posted by: tominsocal1
Chimera's issue is consistency! When his speed is on, he's dangerous as hell, but he's inconsistent
Steckel should not be traded. Those that say so, are on crack!
Poti and Sloan, yes please, although it's not going to happen!


Ottawa wins that trade big time... former 37 Win goalie with 7 SO... he's a goalie that when healthy and has a decent team in front of him, could be the difference maker...

I'd rather just take Boyes from STL but at what cost? MP85, another prospect, a 3rd?

Why do I get the feeling like Kovalev will be here before the trade deadline passes? top 6 forward, playing good hockey, UFA, Russian, one of the best stick-handlers in the game when he's on!

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 18, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The only teams that could trade for Poti are teams below the salary floor and need to come up, say if the Isles trade an overpriced vet or two. Or teams willing to swap an overpaid and underachieveing player stuck in a multi-year contract. Are either of these scenarios likely? No.

Schultz may be easier to move with a smaller cap hit, rfa next year, and is not totally ineffective (Poti is, he can't even play). Schultz can be effective, actually, but he is not a playoff calibre defender.

Chim-chim will not get moved, too little output for his salary. He may be effective on a 3rd, checking line for the Caps, if and when they ever build a shut-down line.

As we all know, the Caps really, really need a 2C with playoff experience and leadership abilities. If the Caps cannot get Arnott, then I doubt they can get anyone who can help. Really, who else is out there who can improve the 2nd line significantly and not kill the Caps' cap for the next few years?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | February 18, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Semin, and Chimera and 1st round pick in 2011 for Weiss
@ SoaringCaps

Are you serious? That's a joke right? NO first round pick of ours is going anywhere, to anyone, for anybody! That case should be closed and if GMGM felt obliged to chime in here he would tell us all as much. The only way picks of ANY kind are going out the door is if Iginla, or Richards are involved.........Looks like Kaberle just went to Boston. That's what the Ottawa newspaper is saying. So there goes any chance to upgrade the left handed shot from the point on the PP.

Posted by: Cayugalaker | February 18, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Trade Steckel and Semin while their value is high (Stecks has best faceoff % in NHL and Semin just had hat trick)...they will not produce in the playoffs again and we will be stuck with them.

Depending on Green's injury, we will need a solid D men for the playoff push. I dont trust Shultz and Sloan for the life of me. Anyone have any idea how long Green will be out?

Posted by: scottiemac3 | February 18, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon all,
As a fan of the Capitals for a very long time but only a real serious one the past 5 years or so, I am really intrigued by the commments some you diehard Caps fans make. We have potentially one of the best teams in the league and just about all of you want to change just about everyone but Ove, Mike Green and John Carlson. While you may not like Bruce as a coach, he is the best one we have had in a very long time. He has been here long enough to change players (along with the GM) to his liking. Last year was a lesson learned by all. Give this team a chance to play under Bruce and let us see what we actually have playoff wise. All of this talk about getting this player and packaging these two players for this one is just folks who have the magical answer. I remember the days when we just wanted to beat the Penguins and hope for a playoff spot. Why don't we support the team we have and let these young players mature and develop. Who knows we just might win a Cup?

Posted by: apgsoccer | February 18, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think that perhaps Ovi has been sandbagging a bit through the first half of the season, so he would have more energy and fewer nagging injuries down the stretch into the playoffs?

Posted by: alecw81 | February 18, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

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