Alex Ovechkin is ‘really adaptable’, Peter Laviolette says, ‘shouting’ in locker room


Peter Laviolette Just over halfway through his third season in charge of the Washington Capitals he hasn’t signed past this year. The veteran bench coach has arrived in D.C. in 2020, coaching a veteran Cubs team led by a living legend in captaincy. Alex Ovechkin.


Under Laviolette, the Capitals had no post-season success, but saw plenty of personal milestones from Ovechkin. During the 2021-22 campaign, the Great Eight compiled their best single-season point total (90) since the 2009-10 season. Ovechkin added 104 goals to his impressive career total. Ovi went from ninth to second on the NHL goalscoring list. In December 2022, Ovechkin scored his 800th career goal via a triple-double against the Chicago Blackhawks and passed Gordie Howe’s two-goal against the Winnipeg Jets.

The partnership between Laviolette and Ovechkin was mutually beneficial. During Interview on 106.7 The Fan’s Sports enthusiasts WednesdayLa Follette talked about the specifics of that relationship and what it’s like training the game icon.

“What I found about Alex – he’s a top player, he’s a star, there’s a chance he could finish first overall, [is that] “There are things that need to be fixed within the game and I found Alex to be really adaptable,” said Laviolette. “To bring him up to talk about something, talk about his lineup, talk about his game, talk about what I see here, what can we do to fix this, or show him something where he’s been really good. I think he’s really relatable. He brings energy almost every night.” “.

One great recent example of this kind of energy came when the Caps bounced back from a 3-0 holeshot against the New York Islanders on Monday.

Ovechkin hit a big hit on Islanders forward JG Pageau and physically kicked the rest of the team and the Caps scored four unanswered goals to win in overtime. Laviolette and other cap players I credit the strike as the game’s turning point.

“Yeah, there was a lot of whack in the game,” said Laviolette. “It was a division game. You knew it was going to be physical but I don’t think we were physical until Ovi got this big hit and then we started hitting and competing a bit more, playing faster. [We] I turned the puck a lot in the first period and there is no doubt that often something can excite a team. A goal, a save, a big penalty, or in this case, an Ovi strike seemed to get us going.

“We were flat,” he continued. “In the locker room, you want more and you fire up and get fired up, he’s a guy who gets out there and responds. I think that’s one of his strengths, and he recognizes it as well. He realizes he can change the game with the way he plays.”

Ovechkin is the league’s second-leading all-time scorer with 810 career goals, just five points behind even Stan Mikita’s 15th-most point total in NHL history. Coaching a player with that kind of history under their belt in any sport can be a daunting task.

Junkies wondered aloud how Laviolette coached Ovechkin and whether he was yelling at a sure player, the first-ballot of the Hockey Hall of Famer.

“I scream sometimes,” said Laviolette. “I yell occasionally. If we don’t play well. He’s the captain too, right? He’s the proverbial guy and I think he does an incredible job with that. But, sometimes I get frustrated and I’ll scream. Sometimes he yells. He’s a yell.”

He continued, “He is a man who bears this responsibility because he is the captain of the team.” “I’m impressed. He’s chasing Wayne Gretzky which is incredible, but what’s even more amazing to me is that he was one of the most physically fit hockey players in the history of the game. Think about it. Not only could he be the greatest scorer of all time, but he is [also] Maybe it will be higher in the beats or there are in the top two or three. You can add this combination and this element of the way someone plays the game and its durability. It’s incredible. I think it’s incredible.”

The Capitals are currently three points above the Pittsburgh Penguins at the top Wild Card spot in the East. They are also only three points behind the New York Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Ovechkin is a great reason for this. The 37-year-old winger leads the team in both goals (30) and points (52). He is currently on pace to score 52 goals and score another 90 points on the season.

“It’s great,” finished Laviolette. “When your team isn’t showing up there are leaders in the room. You can always go to the leaders and say, ‘Let’s go here, we have to start.’ This is a veteran group. Leadership is good inside our room.”

Banner photo: Alan Dobbins / RMNB

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