TAMPA, Fla. | Guy Boucher expects his Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals to come out “like lions out of a cage” in Saturday night’s season opener following the NHL lockout.
Alex Ovechkin is calm and “ready.”
“For you guys it was long wait. For some of the guys it was long wait. But you know I play in Russia and I’m kind of in game mode,” Ovechkin said.” Two weeks when I spend in Washington was hard because you practice and you just don’t know what to do. I can’t wait when the season starts. I’m pretty happy right now.”
Ovechkin will play his first game under new coach Adam Oates as the first-line right wing. The Caps are dressing seven defensemen and 11 forwards, so the 27-year-old superstar figures to get double-shifted.
Considering that Ovechkin is likely to be on both power-play units and could see some time on the penalty kill, it wouldn’t be surprising if he leads the Caps in ice time.
And while none of Washington’s seven defensemen played during the lockout, Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and others did. So informal skates and training camp acted as a “little break.”
But this past week was also a chance for Ovechkin to get a crash course in playing right wing. With hours until puck drop on the 2013 season, Ovechkin is all right with his progress.
“I feel much better right now. The time what I have, it was not lots of time, but I just tell myself I have to play right wing and do exactly what I need to do success,” he said. “All my life I play on the left side. … Right now I have to create some opportunities for me on the right side.”