- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NEW YORK | The Washington Capitals are on top of the NHL standings with captain Alex Ovechkin leading the way.

Stop if you’ve heard this one before.

Just last season, the Capitals ran through the Southeast Division and the rest of the league and skated off with the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in team history. Most of that was forgotten, though, after an unexpected seven-game playoff flameout in the first round against the Montreal Canadiens.

So while regular-season dominance is impressive on a team and personal level for Ovechkin and the Capitals, it won’t matter much if it doesn’t translate into postseason success. And that doesn’t mean advancing a round or two, it means winning the Stanley Cup.


“Our mindset is that we have a very good team, but we have to play better in the playoffs. Just be how we play in the season — the same way,” Ovechkin told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “Last year we listened to too much media and we listened too much to people. This year, we want to think about ourselves and don’t think about what people are saying about our game.”

That might be easier said than done.

All the Capitals have heard since the spring is about how they came up short. Ovechkin has been, and probably will forever be, compared to Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby, who has already led the Penguins to one Stanley Cup title and another runner-up finish in the six seasons since the pair joined the NHL together.

The Capitals have won only one playoff round since Ovechkin was chosen with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft.

Ovechkin got the best of Crosby in the rookie of the year chase in 2006, and both players have claimed one scoring title apiece. Ovechkin has won two NHL MVP awards, Crosby has one. Team success is the one thing that truly separates the two.

“Everybody knows what we have to do,” the 25-year-old Ovechkin said.

Ovechkin spoke as part of a promotional tour for a new DVD that was released Tuesday called, “Alex Ovechkin: The Great 8.”

Ever since Ovechkin started playing hockey at age 2, when he found a hockey stick in a toy store back home in Russia and refused to let it go, he has been on the path to stardom.

The video provides a glimpse into Ovechkin’s life on and off the ice. It tracks him in Washington, in Las Vegas for last season’s NHL awards show, and even to his country home in Russia.

“I think fans want to see it. The fans are going to love it,” Ovechkin said.

He isn’t sure exactly how players and fans will react in January, when the new NHL All-Star game format will replace the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference matchup. Ovechkin even admitted that he doesn’t know all the rules that were revealed last week by the league.

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