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Ovechkin: "We can win the Cup"


Caps players are streaming in front of the media on Friday, offering their final thoughts on the season. The biggest crowd, obviously, gathered for Alex Ovechkin, to hear the team's captain dissect the first-round flameout.

Ovechkin was slightly more expansive than he had been on Wednesday night, and he admitted that the team got over-confident after taking the 3-1 series lead.

"Maybe we just thought it was a done series," he said. "Especially after couple playoffs and what we do in the season, I think everybody knows we can win the Cup, we can be on top of everybody. But when you get the lead 3-1, you think Ok, maybe they're gonna give up and maybe we just gonna win easy game and be ready for next round."

There were several variations on the basic question -- what happened to the regular-season excellence -- and Ovechkin offered some real generalities. But he seemed not to know what to say, saying the Caps seemed like "two different teams."

"I think everybody wants to win not regular season, we want to win Cup," he said. "We all played great in season, but in the playoffs something missed. We just have to concentrate more about playoffs, more about how we have to play in the playoffs, not about [regular] seasons. We just have to be ready for the playoffs and be ready for that kind of pressure, what it gonna take."

Ovechkin credited Jaroslav Halak several times, saying the Montreal goalie "played great." Tarik El-Bashir asked Ovechkin whether it's fair to lay the blame at his feet, since he's the star and the captain.

"It's fair," Ovechkin responded. "It was my fault when we didn't score goals. I had the chance to score goals, I didn't score goals. Sometimes you just have to take this moment in your hand. It's just pretty hard when you see how we fight and how we play. We have a chance but we didn't score enough. Maybe it was, I don't know how to say it, but if you have a chance to score goal and you didn't score you just feel Jesus, ok next time I'm gonna score, next time I have a chance [I'm] gonna score. What happen, that kind of pressure go to your mind. It's pretty hard."

Lisa Hillary pointed out that a sizable number of fans serenaded the team with boos as the season ended, and Ovechkin accepted that, too.

"What fans booed us, I think it's right decision," he said. "What fans who cheered us and said good job, it's right decision. I think the fans, it's the most important thing in our organization. They want to win, and you can see how they celebrate, how they was happy when we win game 2 in overtime. We can feel their energy, but it's pretty hard. We fight, we want to do our best, but they want to win. And if you're losing, of course everybody gonna say bad things about it. if you're winning, everybody gonna say how good you are and how special you are. It's always like that. If you win, you're always on top. If you're losing, you always go down."

Finally, Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski asked Ovechkin which hurt worse, the Olympic loss to Canada or Game 7 against the Canadiens.

"It hurt probably the same," he said. "Same thing. But after Olympics, you know you're gonna play, you're gonna have a chance to win Cup. You have a time to recover and be ready for playoffs. But still, it was pretty hard time to me, when we lost against Canada. It's always hard to lose, but when you lose and you know it's done and you can't go back and change something, it's always hard. And you just wait next opportunity to win."

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 30, 2010; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

measured, mature comments from Ovechkin.

this is still a young team, learning how to win and how to cope with losses.

some of the great teams in NHL history went throught he same thing.

patience is a virtue.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | April 30, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

It sucks right now, nobody wanted the season to end in April, and I really wish I was going to Verizon Center in 6 hours to watch Game 1...but in the end, this loss showed our organization what they need to do to solidify the Caps as a legitimate Cup contender.

Next year at this time, and for many years thereafter, the Caps could be a far stronger and prepared team. And we we'll be happy for it.

As a famous prophet once said, "And why do we get knocked down? So we can learn to get back up." Oh wait, that was Batman's father.

Posted by: Section104 | April 30, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Granted, I was traumatized at the time, but I don't recall hearing that many boos at the end of the game--although I did see a lot of towels thrown on the ice. And contrary to the Post's report yesterday, I didn't see very many fans leave after the second Habs goal--other than the guy in front of me, who received a "Don't come back next year" shout from the fan next to me when he left.

I sit way up high, though, so maybe it was different down low in the expensive seats.

Good comments from Ovie. The reaction to this loss by some, particularly nationally--that this means Ovechkin doesn't have what it takes to win a title--is ridiculous. The guy is 25. He's been the captain of the team for four months. He has many years of great hockey ahead of him.It took Mario Lemieux seven years. It took Michael Jordan six or seven, too, to first win a title. It was a horrible loss, but people do need to calm down.

Posted by: TheFingerman | April 30, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Ive said this before...

Trade Mike Green, Fleischman, Varly or Nevweurth for a true #1 goalie.

Sign a BIG STAY AT HOME D'MAN to replace MGreen.

...If we make these moves, we will then go deep into the playoffs.

Posted by: Nats1924 | April 30, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Keep your head up, OV.

You're still the best hockey player in the world, and you are going to have plenty more opportunities to win. Once you do, all this will just be an afterthought.

Posted by: CalleJoFan | April 30, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

fingerman,

Crosby accomplishments (22 yr old)
- 8 playoff series
- 1 Olympic gold
- 2 Cups (after this season)

Ovie line (24 yr old)
- 1 playoff series
- 0 medals
- 0 cups

I love Ovie, but we need to being making moves that will turn this team into a playoff team...

- 3/4 more vets
- Big DMan
- True #1 Goalie

Posted by: Nats1924 | April 30, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I like that people are being a bit more calm now than they were yesterday, and by no means do I think this team needs to change its style of play or fire Boudreau, GMGM, etc., but the fact of the matter remains that last year should've been the learning experience necessary to take this team a step further. The Caps took the Stanley Cup champions to 7 games in the Eastern Semi-finals last year and, though it's too early to tell, very well could've just lost to a flash-in-the-pan team that might be swept the next round.

I love Ovie to death and expect great things from him for years to come. Anyone that's ever been a Caps fan should thank their lucky stars that we've got such a dynamic personality and incredible player as a cornerstone of the franchise... BUT, there should be no more "we will win the Cup" talk until they do just that. Stop talking about it. Stop saying "we're good enough, we just ran into a hot goaltender" or "we know we're better than this." Just go out and dominate people. There's no doubt this team is confident, but there's a difference between being confident and actually backing up your words vs. being over-confident. The Caps would've been better off heading into the postseason as a 4 or 5 seed... maybe then they would've realized that winning isn't something that just happens, but you have to work at it.

I'm preaching to the choir here, I know, but it's going to take maturation more than anything to get these guys going. They've got enough "experience" now to be able to handle a series against a team like the Habs, ridiculous performances by Halak or not. People keep saying the Caps are still young, but there are teams across the board that are getting it done with rosters comparable to ours. If Chicago makes it to the Finals this year, the argument of age goes out the window, as far as I'm concerned.

No more excuses about what you should be winning or how good you think you are -- just go out and win some damn games.

Posted by: MartinLocraft | April 30, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I tell you who we need to trade-the Post sportwriters! THEY LOVE TO JUMP ON SOMEBODY WHEN THEY ARE DOWN. Do they remember the 73-0 skunk the Redskins endured in the '40 NFL Championship Game? This Cap team had a record season despite being upset in the playoffs AND they have little to improve on.......GO CAPS!

Posted by: yeldarb | April 30, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I didn't hear any boos. Section 433. The boos must have been down low...from the folks that dropped $500+ for a ticket. I can't blame them considering they surely had a few brews and were out some serious cash, but the Caps played well and didn't deserve to be booed. Games 1 and 5 killed the team, but they were beaten. They dominated games 6 and 7. Halak was just unbeatable in 5, 6, and 7. I think we win next year. I really do. What's sad, is I think both the team and the fans are going to lose some of the "fun". It's all business next year for the team. And for fans, it's going to be really hard to get excited about going to VC until next April.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | April 30, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a Caps fan but am pretty impressed by his professional and appropriate responses. Well done Alex. Its nice to see a pro athlete have such perspective.

Posted by: Fat_Tony | April 30, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Nats1924,

You're right, Crosby has certainly accomplished much more, teamwise, at this point than Ovechkin. Just trying to say that just because Crosby won a championship in his fourth year in the league, it doesn't mean that every great player won a title that quickly.. Do generally agree with your prescriptions for the team, especially a , big, veteran, stay-at-home defenseman. As for a true number one goalie, I think that's going to have to come from the Varlamov/Neuvirth/Holtby trio. Not sure a top goalie will be available in free agency, and there's probably not enough money under the cap to sign him if there was.

Posted by: TheFingerman | April 30, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I KNEW there was some supernatural work at play in this epic loss. God didn't want the Caps to win it!

Ovechkin: "if you have a chance to score goal and you didn't score you just feel Jesus."

He could FEEL Jesus willing him not to score! This is the real story, people. Ovechkin feels Jesus.

Posted by: scrappledog | April 30, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

nats1924 i think what you have siad is true but to measeure the success of Ovie and Sid is premature right now. As much as Sid has done he was placed in a great environemtn in Pittsburgh where the won quickly and mixing malkin and him with veteran guys. Ovie has grown with mostly every player on Cap at young age so its expect Pens where going to win sooner rather then later. his gold medal is grear but lets be honest Canada was stacked and maybe could have won with out him even if he scored and showed up on the goal. I think the measurement of how much each guy has won at this point shouldnt point to how great one player is to anyother because Ovie on the Ice only 20 mins or more a Game and needs other teammates to produce and they havent. great Sid is winning good for theNHL and Pitt but peoples tunes can change over the course over a year esp if Caps win next year talk will change Pitt can have there moment , I rather see a fury of cups liek Detriot. Pitt learned how to lose with Crosby and Malkin before the Caps so they would obviously have te advantage

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | April 30, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I was dissapointed but I would not boo them. As pointed out they are young. The need some plow horses among the race horse crew. BB will learn as well. People that want to blow this up? What you got better?

Posted by: ridgely1 | April 30, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

as much as it hurts right not something with the greats in any sports MJ Kobe gretzky Elway and even Lebron there a drive and competition level where Ovie wont go Cup less It not a matter of if it will ever come its a matter of when

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | April 30, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Stop making light of this collapse...Isn't this the second year the Caps lost a Game 7 on their home ice?

These guys were up 3-1!!!!!

"We can win the cup"....

WHEN?

Posted by: rickyroge | April 30, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Question is would you rather have a quick spurt of Cup appearance like Penguins or a 4 to 6 year run in Ovie prime and a mirror imagine of Detirot. lol Ovie will get all of his awards and personal records out of the way at young age to achieve the ultiamte przr later one. young team that just won the Presidents trophy best team in the regular season great accomplishment no matter what. thats a start of big time trophies to come

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | April 30, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I love Ovie to death and expect great things from him for years to come. Anyone that's ever been a Caps fan should thank their lucky stars that we've got such a dynamic personality and incredible player as a cornerstone of the franchise...

I just can't agree with this comment. I respect your right to express this sentiment but I can't share it. To love Ovechkin is to not love hockey. He's a showman and what he's brought to the game is a circus-like atmosphere on ice - antics to entertain the ignorant masses.

Real, true hockey fans know that this great game does not need individuals only interested in their own glory - it's not exuburance it's hot-dogging and that's an individual sport - not a a team sport. And that's the problem. He just isn't a team player or team leader. His individual style of play just doesn't win Cups or gold medals.

Please stop with the young talk. He's a man. My father had already served 5 years in the second world war by the time he was 24. He is immature, spoiled and only interested in his own pocketbook. My goodness, he wasn't even a factor at the Olympics where he had to play real hockey.

Washington - the city full of people who try to seduce and fool people are now being seduced and fooled. Oh well, keep being seduced by the guy and you'll never see a Cup.

Posted by: KPaige1 | April 30, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"Question is would you rather have a quick spurt of Cup appearance like Penguins or a 4 to 6 year run in Ovie prime and a mirror imagine of Detirot."

---

False choice. You're assuming that the 4 to 6 year run happens, but nothing like that is guaranteed.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

@yeldarb:

I'm going to go out a limb here and say, um ... no, I doubt most people remember the 1940 NFL championship game. But props to you if you do.

Posted by: scrappledog | April 30, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin had less goals and more assists this year, arguably his most well-balanced season, all things considered. To say he is only interested in individual statistics is absurd. He may be telling people what they want to hear, but I'm sure he'd be the first to say that he'd give up his last two Harts to have a Stanley Cup. He gets as excited when his teammates score as he does when he puts it in the net. Yes, he's a hot-dog and brings a circus-like atmosphere to games, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

To question someone's "realness" as a hockey fan because they love Ovechkin is as bad as getting upset about people jumping on the bandwagon after complaining about the lack of interest for so long.

Also, I didn't say age was an issue, I said maturity was. Equating a hockey player in 2010 to someone fighting in a war in the 1940s is ludicrous. I'd bet my house (see what I did there?) that a 24 year-old soldier in the 40s was more mature than a 24 year-old athlete nowadays... that's not even a question.

Posted by: MartinLocraft | April 30, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

That said, I agree with whomever above said his answers were very professional. This is definitely a step in the right direction for the growth of his Captaincy.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The NHL clearly screwed Ovie over with the nonsense suspensions. He wasn't the same after the second one. Maybe never will be.

Posted by: poguesmahone | April 30, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@KPaige1

That might be the dumbest post I have ever seen.

It is always amazing when people can make such overbroad conclusions based on such small things.

Ovie had 5G 5A and was a +5 during the series. He also had the game tying goal in the 3rd period of game 7 which is incorrectly ruled no-goal by the official.

Yes, at 24 he could go to war. What's your point. It took Yzerman 14 years after he was drafted to win a stanley cup. It took Peyton Manning 8 or 9. People were reaching the same idiotic conclusions about them before they won.

Hockey is a team sport. Ovie is on the ice for about 25 minutes of the 60. He cannot control what happens when he is not on the ice. The same goes for any other player.

I always find it amusing when a big play happens while a star is off the ice but somehow the credit or blame is given to the star.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those who say the style of play isn't the problem. Boz and others are dead wrong on this. All of our 90s era playoff tilts against the Pens were matchups where the high-flying Pens almost always edged out the grind-it-out defensive focused Caps. And I can remember many folks rightly saying that in the end, we didn't have enough offensive firepower to compete with Pittsburgh. The Pens of that era are very similar to the current Pens - big offensive weapons, exploitable defense, on again off again goaltending. That's what they were last year when they won the Cup, and that's what they are this year heading into another deep playoff run. That's what the Caps have largely become. It's a formula that can win the Cup. But I'm not sure what any squad is gonna accomplish against a goalie that sports a 98% save rate over 3 games in a best of seven series, especially when two of their big guys (Semin and Green) become the invisible men for 2nd straight year in the playoffs.

I just don't think it's that complicated. A lights-out goalie is gonna stymie almost any hockey team, no matter how much firepower they have.

Posted by: mbcnewspaper | April 30, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Ovie can move into Mario's basement and have Mario's wife do his laundry like Sidney.

That seems to be the secret...

Posted by: SA-Town | April 30, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

There were a fair number of boos coming from the cheap seats (well, not too expensive seats). My dad and I were among the boobirds. It's easy to get caught up in the emotions of it all. We've watched the Caps come up short for nearly 25 years since moving to the area, and it stings that much more when you have a team that you know is capable of so much more than what they showed. You have to be able to let that frustration out.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not supporting booing every time something goes wrong. It happened at times during the regularly season when one bad game would show up in the middle of a run of great ones, and that was uncalled for. Those are the times when a let down is bearable, and even understandable.

I'm glad Ovechkin accepts the booing for what it was. It shows he knows that you can't just make excuses, that you have to be accountable for this sort of letdown. That humility and responsibility bodes well for his and the team's future.

Posted by: swags | April 30, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Engblom ( sp ) was on the Junkies this morning talking about it and he quoted "The Great One" Wayne Gretzky saying that when they had lost in the playoffs back in his early days with the Oilers that they walked passed the winning team locker room and was expecting to see the winning team whooping it up and having a grand old time but instead the room was quiet and the team was spent and tired and holding ice bags on parts of their bodies and he realized that they had left it all out on the ice, it had taken every ounce in them to win and at that time he learned you have to lay it all out and give it up to win. The Caps need to learn to do that and then they will turn the corner.

Posted by: jotay131 | April 30, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Nats1924, Sindey did NOT accomplish all of that by himself. Furthermore, he was invisible until that GWG at the Olympics. Go hang around the Pens boards where you belong.

Posted by: OvechkinFan92801 | April 30, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

@KPaige1

You obviously typed your comments without thinking. First, you claim that AO is basically selfish and interested only in self-aggrandizement. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black, since you selfishly think you're the only one out of the "city of the fooled" who really understands true hockey. Superstars stand-out, whether they showboat or not, and his prowess on the ice makes him a true and great hockey player.

And this brings me to my next point: by your standards, AO must not be a "real" hockey player. I really can't take this comment seriously, since AO was born in a country known for producing the creme de la creme of hockey athletes. Do we need to name some other greats from Russia?

And you speak of maturity? Well, if you think about it, AO was born under a dictatorship (former Soviet Union) and grew up in a country not particularly known for its pleasantries. But to you, that must not be enough to build character and maturity. Perhaps the death of AO's older brother at the age of 10 would be enough though? According to wikipedia, AO's primary source of motivation on the ice is a way of coping with that loss.

Your father served 5 years in WWII? So what. That has nothing to do with this conversation. Take your inane banter elsewhere, you stupid jerk.

Posted by: SirPelleas | April 30, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

STH in section 404 here. Hardly heard any booers--most of those who would've booed had already stomped off in disgust. Of those who stayed to the bitter end--even the handshakes--mostly there was sad, somber applause.

Posted by: jhershb | April 30, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

We can win but we need 2-3 spark plugs to help get us over that hump

We can't stay with the same team

Posted by: Bious | April 30, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

OLE! OLE! OLE!

Vive Montreal! Vive Le Bleu Blanc Rouge!!!!

God bless the HOLY SWEATER!!!!!!

Posted by: ELIMTL | April 30, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

@KPaige1

We Caps fans who watch Ovi and the Caps play day-in and day-out know how very ignorant your comments are. And that you must hail from Canada or think that your limited vision of Canadian hockey is the only way to play this wonderful game.

You have just regurgitated a mish-mash of prejudicial, Canadian-biased, and worthless tittle-tattle about our Ovi.

You clearly didn't bother to listen to his interview nor have you watched him much over the course of the season. The exuberant, leaping into the glass, goal-celebrating Ovi that Don Cherry blasted from his Canadian perch for the "too hot" stick are all from last season. I might add that this season Cherry has defended Ovi, most recently by stating that he just stop worrying and play his physical game.

This season Ovi has taken on the mantle of captaincy in addition to his ongoing on-ice responsibility and has maintained a much more sober demeanor. He has always been a team-first player from the time he joined the team, but has this season been much more of a vocal leader.

Ovi no longer leaps into the glass after goal--now he does his glove kiss to his dead brother followed by the group hug and head taps.

Ovi is more intense even as he is much less demonstrative. He has faced struggles in what is surely his most disappointing professional season, and has accepted responsibility for his as well as his team's failures.

Ovi always talks team first and gives credit to his teammates first. even before he was chosen unanimously by his teammates to be the Captain. This locker room is tight, close, and supportive, a sense of camaraderie and friendship that starts with Ovi. He is the heart and soul of this team, and his teammates, many of whom are Canadian, trust and believe in him. And he believes in them.

This real, true hockey fan believes in the Caps and in Ovi as their Captain.

And this real, true resident loves this town and this area, filled with friends and family and wonderful memories. Perhaps you should return to your hometown and stop bashing mine.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 30, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Did Don Cherry make an appearance on here? Being a very out of state fan of the Capitals, I can appreciate all the posts of frustration with another loss in the playoffs. But, as someone who can only cheer from the west coast, I hope the team will reflect and learn from this. Only being able to watch on tv., I felt the Caps lost respect for the Habs after they went up 3-1. Like Ovi said, they figured the Habs would give up and it would be an easy win. Without respect for their opponent they lost some respect for the game in general and you can't win that way. I've no doubt they'll get it right next time.

Posted by: UTCapsFan | May 1, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

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