For Tom Wilson, being Alex Ovechkin’s teammate has been a “pretty cool thing,” but his leadership is something that he finds difficult to explain. That’s because Ovechkin doesn’t fit the typical profile of a successful leader.
“He’s extremely unique. When you grow up and everyone’s like, ‘this is what a leader needs to look like, this is what a leader is, this is a what a normal leader looks like’, I don’t think like, that’s like a picture of “O” standing there,” said Wilson.
“He’s one of the most unique guys. If you haven’t spent time with him, there’s just no way to describe him. But I think he’s one of the best teammates. He has a ton of fun, he wants to win. For him there’s time to be enjoying the game and be at the rink and having fun, but when he gets on the ice he just wants to win, and that brings everybody in.’
Wilson believe’s a key to Ovechkin’s effective leadership is that he sets a comfortable tone on the team, and that helps players reach their potential.
“He has this way of making everybody around him feel extremely comfortable. There’s guys that come here and they change their careers. Their career is in a dive, they come here, they hang out with “O” and it’s like their career is reborn,” said Wilson.
Still, Wilson struggles to explain why Ovechkin is such an effective leader.
“It’s not easily explainable. I can speak to myself. Since day one, I came here. He just makes you feel so comfortable and welcome and part of the team, finds a way to get everybody to come together and that’s a really special thing. Not to mention he’s like one of the best goal scorers of all time, if not the best.”
Wilson said Ovechkin’s leadership style has been a key factor in setting a positive, winning culture in Washington.
“The first question your buddy’s ask you back home is ‘What’s Ovi like?” You can’t really explain it in words. You just gotta to spend every day with him and get to know him. It’s a pretty cool thing. He’s a really good leader in his own way and that’s what’s been so good about this culture here for a long time.”
Wilson and Ovechkin are back in action tonight when they host the Ottawa Senators at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for just after 7:00 PM.
By Jon Sorensen