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Posted at 9:24 AM ET, 01/ 7/2011

Reflecting on the first year of Alex Ovechkin's captaincy

By Katie Carrera

A year ago Wednesday, Alex Ovechkin was named captain of the Capitals. At the time, Tarik El-Bashir wrote that it was a formality more than anything as Washington had long since been perceived as Ovechkin's team.

In the year since the "C" was officially added to Ovechkin's jersey, the Capitals have gone 53-16-13 in the regular season. Ovechkin himself has recorded 38 goals and 63 assists during that span.

"It's a good experience," Ovechkin said when asked about his tenure as captain. "I said before, the locker room guys, team guys, help me a lot. Experienced guys like [Mike Knuble], [Jason Chimera] these kind of guys help me do some different jobs."

Although he's going through one of his more memorable scoring droughts -- with only 14 goals through 41 games this season -- Ovechkin remains the player who can spark his teammates in a split second, whether it's with a hit or scoring chance. And as was seen in that forgettable game against the Rangers on Dec. 12, when the team struggles, Ovechkin makes his frustration and desperation to get back on track well known.

"I think it's been a great thing for us," Jeff Schultz said of having Ovechkin as captain. "Game in and game out, Ovi plays with a lot of passion and there's times where maybe the team isn't going and he'll go out there and have a good shift or make a big hit and it gets everyone going....He's a lot more comfortable [after being captain for a year] with the guys in the locker room and just with the respect he is given from the guys in the room and on the ice."

Asked to assess the star player's captaincy, Coach Bruce Boudreau reiterated that the title hasn't done anything to significantly alter Ovechkin's impact on the Capitals.

"He's been a good captain," Boudreau said. "He's always been the leader since I've been here. I don't think really a lot changed, other than the letter being on his jersey. I don't think it's affected him too much. He's a great player."

By Katie Carrera  | January 7, 2011; 9:24 AM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin  
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Next: Alex Ovechkin participating fully in Capitals' practice

Comments

And now let the Ovie bashing commence!

I actually think he does a really good job representing the team on ice...esp. with ref calls.

He is always getting an explanation, and he will fight for his team and state his case, but he doesn't carry on and p*ss off the refs like Crosby very much.

I gotta admit that the roughing call on Semin when the guy was bleeding and Ovie is all "he has sensitive skin no?" was priceless. I bet the refs even liked that one.

Posted by: capscoach | January 7, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Langenbrunner to Dallas is done apparently. Call taking place at 10:30.

Posted by: ThePat | January 7, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I heard Colorado tried to trade some red headed wing for Langenbrunner. =)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | January 7, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

for a 3rd round pick

Posted by: ThePat | January 7, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

So the "Langenbrunner wants to stay on the East Coast" was a crock.

Posted by: jeets | January 7, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

It is sort of interesting that in order for the Langenbrunner trade to go through the league had to rubber stamp it because of the ownership issues.

At least he is going to a western conference team.

@capscoach

I agree with you, I would have loved to have had Langenbrunner on the Caps but the next, and probably only, trade GMGM will make the rest of this season is for a center. Barring injury of course.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 7, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

So the "Langenbrunner wants to stay on the East Coast" was a crock.

Posted by: jeets

Apparently, but with TCU joining the Big East maybe Langenbrunner just got confused.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 7, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Langenbrunner might have wanted to stay on the East Coast. Lou might not have been willing to trade him anywhere on the east coast, so they met in the middle and traded him back to where is career began.

Posted by: ThePat | January 7, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

And isn't he being traded not just salary space but b/c he didn't get along with the coach? We don't need any more head cases in the D.C. areas teams.

Posted by: capscoach | January 7, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Question:

Watching the Pens game last night, they reminded me a lot of the Caps last season...offensively lethal (even though they only scored 1 goalin that game)but defensively not as strong.

The biggest difference I see with them is that they play "bigger" than we did...more physical and in your face. I still think they MIGHT have the same issues we had in the playoffs last season though. We have played two good games against them so far (defensively) and they struggled against us. I think they will have to adjust their game come playoff time when teams start bearing down defensively.

Thought?

Posted by: capscoach | January 7, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Well, I don't know. But it seems to me that a team captain should show up for "optional" practices unless he was hurt. Tracee Hamilton was right on that last spring. And even if hurt, he should show up to support his teammates. Chris Clark would do that. I think Brooks Laich would. Probably, a guy like Knuble would. Of course, perhaps the blame should go to the coach who has "optional" practices.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 7, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@poguesmahone

If we learned anything from the HBO series it is that just b/c a player isn't on the ice doesn't mean he isn't there! They are often times looking at video, working with trainers, or getting treatments.

Also...he HAS shown up for virtually every optional skate this season...morning skates are different and don't count...they are nothing more than a warm up that some players benefit from and others don't.

Crosby often does video or training instead of skating...don't hear their fans bashing him about it.

Posted by: capscoach | January 7, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

A lot of times players who are not skating for optional practices are in the weight room. It is important for them on off days to get in some weight lifting to keep up their strength throughout the season.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 7, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Ovi on the 2nd line right side today.

28-19-22
21-90-8

And no im not there, i just got the info off twitter.

Posted by: ThePat | January 7, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Finally putting him back on the right side, he seemed to respond when that happened last time and I have no idea why BB changed it. I also like those line combos, should give more O on the top two lines I would hope.

Posted by: PhilR | January 7, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Ovi on the 2nd line right side today.

28-19-22
21-90-8

And no im not there, i just got the info off twitter.

Posted by: ThePat |

Now that is interesting. Not a bad idea.

I do always worry a little about defensive responsibilities when players change positions. They could start to head back to their normal side for D before heading to their new side and that split second can cause some openings.

But I like the idea of changing things up. Also, with defenders blocking Ovie's shot much more often now from the left wing I think it good he starts playing some on the right side because his shot will be more difficult to block(although he will have a worse shooting angle also) when he is coming down the right side.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 7, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Another note Beagle is centering the 3rd line and MP/Steckel alternating with 4th line with Hendrick and King on the wings of 4th line.

Posted by: ThePat | January 7, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Another note Beagle is centering the 3rd line and MP/Steckel alternating with 4th line with Hendrick and King on the wings of 4th line.

Posted by: ThePat

My guess is that means MP will be scratched as I doubt they want MP centering Hendricks and King.

Although that would be an interesting energy line to watch just to see what would happen.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 7, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

From the HBO 24/7 Ovie seems to have a good working relationship with the refs. When he disagreed, he made his point and moved on. He seems to show the leadership that is needed in a captain. HBO did a great job showing that there is more to preparing than optional skates. Of course many of the people who post here didn't notice.
HBO only showed a small sample of what was said on the ice but, Cindy and $%#&burgh seemed to whine and cry alot. I'm sure this doesn't sit well with the refs. However, I'm sure Colin Campbell "reminds" the refs not to punish Cindy and the whiners. Of course, I see things thru rose (Caps red that is) colored glasses.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 7, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@CapsCoach

Jamie Langenbrunner isn't a head case. He never was in Dallas, and wasn't in New Jersey, either. Just because a player doesn't get along with one coach doesn't make him a head case.

Posted by: jcreech1 | January 7, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Langenbrunner was the Captain of this past year's U.S. Olympic team. I don't think a head case would be asked to captain a team in the Olympics.

Posted by: jcreech1 | January 7, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

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