Brian MacLellan Makes it Clear Alex Ovechkin Must Evolve His Game: “The game is getting faster”


After hiding in silence in the weeks since his team lost to Pittsburgh in Game 7 of their second round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Capitals General Manager, Brian MacLellan, spoke to the media earlier today to discuss the loss, plans for free agency, and the future of team captain Alex Ovechkin.

After recording four straight 50-goal seasons, the 31-year old Ovechkin scored just 33 goals and went through uncharacteristic extended scoring droughts as well. After the Caps failed (again) to advance past the second round, the seemingly annual talks of the Capitals trading their franchise player began to circulate once again. Despite some fans’ wishes, MacLellan all but ruled that out, though his response in and of itself was quite interesting, which you can read below:

And while Ovechkin has been a big part of the Capitals during his career, MacLellan also made it clear that Ovechkin needed to be able to adapt his game to the ever-changing NHL game. “The game is getting faster. He’s going to have to train in a different way, more speed than power”, per CSN MidAtlantic’s Tarik El-Bashir. Throughout his career, Ovechkin has always been known for his ability to score goals and throw his weight around with physical play. But as the third-year GM stated, the NHL is becoming a faster, more highly-skilled league and while Ovechkin is getting older, he has not possessed the speed he once did earlier in his career.

Ever since he was handed the captain’s “C” in late 2009, Ovechkin’s leadership has always been questioned. While there’s no doubt that the future Hall of Famer has gained maturity as he’s aged, his ability to lead a team to the Stanley Cup has always been doubted due to the Capitals’ inability to win it all. And while it takes more than one player to win the ultimate prize, many have called for the Caps to strip Ovechkin of his captaincy. However, MacLellan confirmed that the team has no such plans, per El-Bashir.

While Ovechkin will remain an important part of the Capitals, it’s clear that he must change his game to stay in MacLellan’s good books. After constructing a team capable of going all the way, it’s clear that MacLellan’s patience is running thin.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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8 Responses to Brian MacLellan Makes it Clear Alex Ovechkin Must Evolve His Game: “The game is getting faster”

  1. Anonymous says:

    He needs to be the big powerful sniper when he first came into the league. Shoot from everywhere and often. Punish the opposing defense in the corners cleanly and good open ice checks. Pretty much be physical. And tenacious in the attacking zone.

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