At the conclusion of the Washington Capitals’ season and minutes after Dale Hunter confirmed he wasn’t coming back as coach, captain Alex Ovechkin was asked if he liked playing that defensive, shot-blocking style.
“It doesn’t matter if I like it or not, because he’s my coach and I have to listen,” he said. “How he said, you have to be a plumber so I was a plumber.”
But Ovechkin is undoubtedly best used in roles where he’s not a plumber, and judging from his reaction Tuesday to the Caps’ hire of Adam Oates as the new coach, next year should be better for the star left wing.
“It’s not blocking the shots and it’s not dump and chase,” Ovechkin told the Canadian Press and RDS from the NHL Players’ Association executive meetings in Chicago. “I’m pretty excited and I’m very happy to hear the Caps sign that kind of guy who likes offense. You play offense but you don’t forget about defense.”
Ovechkin said he called Oates after learning he was named the Caps’ coach.
“I just talk to him briefly. He seems to [be] great person. I’m looking forward to work with him. You’re always excited when something big happen with your team,” he said. “I think we’re gonna work well. We’re gonna play and we’re gonna win, I think.”
Oates, 49, is considered something of a players’ coach. The first impression with Ovechkin was apparently a very positive one.
“I think coaches and players have to have good relationship, especially in that kind of situation what we have right now,” Ovechkin said. “It’s nice.”